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Traditionally cultural institutions have often excluded ongoing dialogue about social issues outside of the art world.  Artist, Allan Kaprow wrote, “life in a museum is like making love in a cemetery,” * metaphorically equating a museum with a cemetery— a dead and sterile space.  Kaprow’s quote motivated multiple collaborative community based projects currently being executed by the first year Public Practice MFA graduate students at OTIS College of Art and Design.  In 2010 the graduate students in collaboration with LACMA Lab’s founding director, Bob Sain; artist, Andrea Bowers; art administrator, Pauline Kamiyama and the 18th Street Art Center will develop an exhibition as a laboratory.  The social/political obligations of cultural organizations to their respective communities will be investigated through partnerships with several community based organizations.  The project’s ethic of action and engagement will lead to an artistic manifestation, and the participating Public Practice artists hope the communities involved will realize positive outcomes that will outlast the exhibition. 

This exhibition will be presented at the 18th Street Art Center Gallery from January 23rd  -- March 26th 2010. 


* “Allan Kaprow – Art as Life” published by the Getty Foundation


While approaching the exhibition the students will be updating their group blogs on a weekly basis, your feedback is greatly appreciated.


For more information please visit:



Project blogs







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DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.
DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.
User-uploaded Content
DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.


Sponsored by Otis MFA Public Practice Program and 18th Street Arts Center

(All events at 18th Street Art Center/Main Gallery unless otherwise noted.)



Sat. Jan. 30th, 9 – 11am

Fitness Health Walk

Silverlake Reservoir, Silver Lake Recreation Center at 1850 West Silver Lake Drive, Los Angeles, CA


9am to begin stretching, walk will start at 9:30am. Medical staff and a fitness expert will be on-hand to assist in tips about proper exercise and hydration.  Walk is approximately 2 miles. Participants will need to bring water, sunscreen and wear comfortable walking shoes and clothes.  In event of rain, this event will be canceled and rescheduled.

Hosted by artist:  Jamie Crooke


Thurs. Feb. 4th, 7pm

Screening/Discussion:  “Fruits of War


Join us for the screening of “Fruits of War which tells the story of four young men’s struggle to survive when they are deported to El Salvador after spending most of their lives as members of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS 13) and 18th Street gangs. The men share their journeys of self-discovery and examine their transformations from members of violent groups, to deportees, to their current and most important role - as peacemakers.

Hosted by artists:  Felicia Montes and Rodrigo Marti



Thurs. Feb. 11th, 7pm

Panel: Museum Educators & Curators

Hosted by curator:  Robert Sain



Sat.  Feb 13th,1 – 4pm

Workshop:  Recycled Jewelry

Hosted by artist:  Rodrigo Marti


Sat. Feb. 13th, 7pm

Panel:  Youth Empowerment and Trust Building

Hosted by artists: Rachael Filsinger and Ella Tetrault



Thurs. Feb. 18th , 7pm

Conversation with Rick Lowe

Otis MFA Publicc Practice Studio – 1657 18th Street – Santa Monica, CA 90404


Lowe will explore the opportunity and obligations for arts organizations to be socially responsible, and the role public practice plays as a catalyst/vehicle for community engagement and cultural innovation.


Wed. Feb. 24th, 7pm

Panel: “Peace Platica”

National Center for the Preservation of Democracy/Japanese American National Museum

369 East First Street - Los Angeles, CA 90012


This roundtable focuses on organizations and programs working with gang intervention programs, at-risk youth and issues related to the issue of education vs. incarceration.  The current case of Alex Sanchez and the two related legislative bills key to youth and gang intervention workers for the state of California will also be discussed.


Invited to attend is Tom Hayden with intergenerational gang intervention workers Fidel Rodriguez, Mike de la Rocha, former and current gang members, and invited, author Luis Rodriguez, and Father Greg Boyle of Homeboy Industries.  This conversation will expand upon the work of Homies Unidos and We Are Alex campaign.

Hosted by artists:  Felicia Montes and Rodrigo Marti



Thurs. Feb. 25th, 7pm

Conversation with Martha Rosler


Rosler will explore the opportunity and obligations for arts organizations to be socially responsible, and the role public practice plays as a catalyst/vehicle for community engagement and cultural innovation.



Sat.  Feb. 27th, 1 - 2:30pm

Screening and Discussion: "Saving Ourselves"


In Sick Around the World, the FRONTLINE teams up with veteran Washington Post foreign correspondent T.R. Reid to find out how five other capitalist democracies -- the United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, Taiwan and Switzerland -- deliver health care, and what the United States might learn from their successes and their failures.  This screening will be followed by “Health Insurance 101” with Michael Grodsky who will provide facts and information on how to navigate through the tangled web of our health insurance options.

Hosted by artist:  Jamie Crooke


Thurs. March 11th, 7pm

Conversation with Sally Tallant


Tallant will explore the opportunity and obligations for arts organizations to be socially responsible, and the role public practice plays as a catalyst/vehicle for community engagement and cultural innovation.









Inspired by Allan Kaprow to bring life to our cultural organizations…

This project is about questions and possibilities. The four questions placed around the gallery are the springboard for examining the opportunity and obligation for cultural organizations to be socially responsive and responsible in an age of diminished resources and uncertainty.   These questions were sent in survey form to individuals in LA’s arts community including artists, curators, and educators. The responses are in notebooks on the gallery’s communal table along with surveys for visitors to complete. Responses will continue to be collected and displayed over the course of the exhibition. 

Otis College of Art & Design Public Practice graduate students, under the direction of artist Andrea Bowers, responded to the questions by demonstrating how art, artists, and arts and educational institutions can take an active approach to civic life. Unlike a conventional exhibition, where what you see is what you get, this project is the tip of the iceberg, for each installation at 18th Street has counter-part activity in the community. A lively program of conversations here and around town will add depth to the questions and their implications.

Robert Sain, Curator

Known for commissioning artists to work in a collaborative process, organizing experimental exhibitions, and expanding notions of education, Sain has a particular interest in engaging people in concerns of our time through art.  Upon a series of conversations with Bowers about integrating community issues with cultural organizations, it was only natural for Sain to invite Bowers to be the artist in residence for the project.

Andrea Bowers, Artist Fellow

Bower’s work focuses primarily on direct action and non-violent civil disobedience. She explores the intersections between art and archival processes and between aesthetics and political protest. The artist believes cultural production can be an integral part of political action and can be a voice in counter-hegemonic practices. Most recently, she has been expanding her practice beyond object-based work by investigating process, dialogue, and collaboration.

For her artist residency, Bowers decided to leverage her role as faculty for first year graduate students at the Otis Public Practice Program. She planned the course to function as both laboratory and practicum where experimentations with interventions and collaborations between cultural and community organizations could take place. Through work with the Otis class, Bowers generated a series of activities that manifest her positions on the issues put forth in the survey while the students create something of value or use for the community after the exhibition ends. Bowers hopes this project becomes an example that encourages cultural organizations to address their obligations to social issues.

Also installed in the gallery is her new sign piece, “Educate, Agitate, Organize” based on the famous slogan_____acts  as the moniker for the eshibition. With this work Bowers argues that radical education is teaching people to think for themselves combined with hands on. Also, Bower’s sign is a reminder that art works have historically functioned as agents for social change, and that social movements have always relied on graphic and aesthetic imagery to agitate, educate, and organize.

Pauline Kananko Kamiyama, Arts Administrator

With over 17 years experience as a non-profit and cultural arts administrator working nationally and locally in Los Angeles, Kamiyama has worked on projects that addressed issues of access and equity through advocacy, opportunities, and linkages. Co-instructing with Andrea Bowers, Kamiyama worked with the first year graduate students to indentify their community gatekeepers and strategies to strengthen community capacity and advocacy through collaboration.

Olga Koumoundourous , guest artist, created the entry piece that functions both as sculpture and showcase for selling objects to benefit the project’s community partners. Olga is an artist thinking about ideas relating to the structures, longings and myths of class and mobility in American culture: history, news, literature, auto-biography, and revolutionary ideology are all fair game.

Paul Wehby, Senior Graphic Designer, Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Finding projects that expand the dialogue between art discourse and design practice is the driving force behind Paul’s work. Love in a Cemetery…takes time to consider where museum’s can impart ideas and activities in the communities that surround them.

Otis MFA Public Practice Program, Suzanne Lacy writer, artist, program founder and Consuelo Velasco, artist and program manager, are proud to support this ambitious  project.

You, the public, will give true life to the project by responding to the questions, participating in the public events, and checking out the projects in the community.

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.