2016 GIA Conference
Saint Paul, MN   October 16–19
A Confluence of People, Cultures, and Ideas

Towards Beauty or Towards Justice

Must We Choose?

Monday, October 17, 10:00am – 11:30am

Governors I

Organized by Elizabeth Méndez Berry, Program Officer, Surdna Foundation; and Risë Wilson, Director of Philanthropy, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation.

Moderated by Elizabeth Méndez Berry, Program Officer, Surdna Foundation. Presented by Paul Rucker, Artist; Alex Rivera, Artist; and Deanna Van Buren, Artist, Designing Justice+Designing Spaces.

As Jeff Chang writes, “Cultural change precedes political change.” In this politically fractious time, with surging social movements like Black Lives Matter, Occupy, and United We Dream, the voices of artists are increasingly important: they have the capacity to craft alternative narratives, to stir empathy, and to imagine other futures. This session will explore how artists with a high level of artistic practice can have an equally sharp engagement with the most pressing problems of this moment. Spotlighting three artists focusing on mass incarceration with markedly different approaches, participants will be invited to wrestle with questions central to artists’ relationships to social movements, such as: What does success look like? And is there an inherent tension between aesthetics and activism?