Open Engagement (OE) is an annual, three-day, artist-led conference dedicated to expanding the dialogue around and creating a site of care for the field of socially engaged art. The conference highlights the work of transdisciplinary artists, activists, students, scholars, community members, and organizations working within the complex social issues and struggles of our time.
This 2018 offering was in New York with the theme of Sustainability
Open Engagement 2018 began with a half day preconference Field Notes on Justice and Practice, at the Metropolitan Museum exploring the ways artists, cultural institutions, and communities forge ethical collaborations that result in lasting and transformative exchanges.
We began with, among others, the energetic, affable, expansive and wise Sandra Jackson-Dumont.
She underlined the importance of 'giving space and time' to think and how art gives us a way to talk to each other. This was followed by a dizzying array of 21 short presentations from inspiring, informed and intelligent projects covering a wide range of angles and geographic locations. Included in these were:-
Sita Frederick and Kirya Traber from Urban Word/Lincoln Center Education affirmed that 'young people have something to say' I couldn't agree more.
The Beautiful Project was introduced by co directer Pamela Thompson: working with photography to empower women to confront and investigate what it means to be beautiful inside and out.
Field Notes on Justice and Practice: The Artist's Voice
Recorded May 25th, 2018
This half-day preconference to Open Engagement explored the ways artists, cultural institutions, and communities forge ethical collaborations that result in lasting and transformative exchanges.
Framing the Work: Philanthropic Partnerships
A conversation on the role of philanthropy in justice and equity work and shifting donor-grantee relationships.
Dorian Burton, Assistant Executive Director, The William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust
Dana Zucker, Executive Director, Gray Foundation
Sandra Jackson-Dumont, Frederick P. and Sandra P. Rose Chairman of Education, The Met
Varied Approaches to Making Connections
Selected member organizations of the Kenan Project—a three-year initiative to develop a collective-impact model with twenty-one cultural institutions through the lens of arts education and community engagement—present "lightning" talks about the successes and challenges of collective work and how they build and maintain community relationships.
In this conversation, three socially engaged artists discuss their varying practices, the role of the public in their work, and their relationship with institutions and communities.
Chloë Bass, Rashida Bumbray, and Miguel Luciano, artists
Moderated by Maricelle Robles, Educator in Charge, Public Programs and Engagement, The Met
and the key note
Hank Willis Thomas, artist