The Artist-Citizen: Socially Engaged Art in the 21st Century

Taking as our context the fractured state of our country, this course investigates artists whose work brings us closer together. From Frank Lloyd Wright’s practice of organic architecture to Nicolas Bourriaud’s theories of Relational Aesthetics, we will engage with diverse artists from a range of disciplines who, through their work, assert the absolute necessity of creative exchange and personal encounter to maintain a humane world. Students will explore, assess, and craft socially engaged art and performance that address the deep divides of our communities and create avenues towards the difficult conversations our country wants to have.

Sample reading list:
James Baldwin, “The Creative Process”
Nicolas Bourriaud, Relational Aesthetics
Maya Lin, Boundaries
Paul Lederach, The Moral Imagination
Nick Kaye, Site Specific Art
Richard Schechner, Performance Theory

Reading/Writing assignments:
Reading: approximately 25 pages weekly, with required responses posted before class. Assignments: keeping an ongoing “Litany of Care” that will be used to generate 3 small projects to be shared in class; writing a personal manifesto; preparing several short artist presentations via prezi or power point; presentation of written proposal for final group project; final group project to be performed or activated publicly.

Other Requirements:
Multimedia Student Project Required. Not Open to Freshmen.

Prerequisites and Restrictions:
Enrollment limited to 15 with preference given to members of the American Studies Program.




Wednesdays, 1:30 - 4:20 pm


Katie Pearl