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Say passé to the sculpture in the square; the leading edge of public art is changing. Art is passing from isolation, to intervention, to participation, to engagement, to integration.

SOC(i)AL: Art + People is a free, public series of roundtable discussions and weekend events

that explores socially engaged art in Southern California from East to West.  Join the dialogue with SoCal artists, scholars, activists, and administrators as we think about socially engaged art in relation to zoning, technology, ethics, food, ritual, performance, gentrification, museums, democracy, nature and art support structures in the here-and-now.   Where is our collective dialogic imagination now?

The series of individually produced events takes place at venues across L.A.,


PAST but posted:


 USC Price School: Is LA the Creative or Anti-Creative City?

What are lines that our regulations and laws draw around the arts, exploring the edges between art and the city? Do artists represent only gentrification for our communities? How does art, and how do artists add value to urban life? How should planners consider art and artists? How do planning regulations aid the creation of a creatively vibrant city that adds not only economic value but also cultural excitement to the lives of urban residents?


MAK Center, ARTISTS + INSTITUTIONS: What Is The Common Ground For Artists and Institutions?

Salon-style discussions about collectives and artists-run initiatives, graduate programs in social and public practice, and museums dedicated to novel fulfillment of educational programming.  Dialog prompts, generated by well-known artists and institutions, will be presented to the public for an evening of critical discussion and lively debate, comfortably hosted within the historic rooms and gardens of the Schindler house.


Creative Time Summit- a global annual conference exploring the intersection of art-making and social justice, streaming from NYC


Occidental College:  Can the Sidewalk be a Stage?

EVENT: Public Matters Event: Market Makeover Smackdown

Fun, hands-on activities to help green the food desert and support sustainable change in the East L.A. food environment.

Otis MFA Public Practice Studio at 18th Street Art Center:

What Can We Learn from dOCUMENTA (13)?

Through presentations from artists and curators who participated in or visited one of this year’s most important exhibitions in contemporary art, the evening will look at projects and reflect on the relation to social practice right now.  What can we learn from the art projects, curatorial practice, expanded notions of location, pedagogy, and their intersections?

  • Wednesday, October 24, 7 pm
  • 1657 18th Street, Santa Monica, CA 90404
  • moderated by Pilar Tompkins Rivas, Director of Residency Programs at 18th Street Arts Center
  • Ciara Ennis, Director/Curator, Pitzer Art Galleries, Pitzer College
  • Leslie Labowitz-Starus, artist
  • Tamarind Rossetti,  intern with Mariam Ghani at dOCUMENTA(13) and Graduate Public Practice artist
  • John Tain, art historian and curator for Modern and Contemporary Collections at the Getty Research Institute
  • AUDIO:


ACLA Park, La Culebera: Can Artists Heal Nature in LA?

Artists address the question in the format of a PechaKucha and roundtable discussion outdoors

  • October 25, 7 pm
  • 240 S. Ave. 57, Highland Park, CA 90042
  • coordinated by Janet Owen Driggs and Tricia Ward
  • artists:  Hadley Arnold, Allison Behrstock, Olivia Chumacero, Sarah Dougherty, Janet Owen Driggs, Ron Finley, Anne Hars with Erik Knudsen, Mark Lakeman, Andy Lipkis, Jenny Price, Jane Tsong, and Tricia Ward.
  • Potluck at 6 pm. Bring food to share, or just your utensils to help make this a zero waste event.
  • AUDIO:


Freewaves and UCLA IMLab at LACE:

Can Artists Use Technology to Enable Communities? 

Artists  working  on  various civic projects  with diverse goals will share one project each.  A roundtable discussion will follow  with questions  about  collective process and individual creation,  technology’s  assets and limitations,  corporate and community involvement,  documentary and artistic aspirations,  and other complications.

Roundtable discussion, Everyone Welcome

  • Saturday November 3, 1 pm
  • at LACE  6522 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood 90028  (NEW LOCATION!!!)
  • Fabian Wagmister (UCLA IMLab), Pedro Joel Espinosa (IDEPSCA’s Mobile Voices), Vicki Callahan (USC IML), Micha Cardenas (Local Autonomy Networks,, Shagha Ariannia  (Long Story Short), Anne Bray (
  • AUDIO:


18th Street Art Center:  Museum Programming and their constituencies: The case of the Queens Museum of Art and Corona Plaza

  • Saturday, November 3, 5 pm
  • 1639 18th Street, Santa Monica, CA 90404
  • Hosted and moderated by Bill Kelley Jr., 18th Street Art Center Curator in Residence
  • Prerana Reddy has been the Director of Public Events for Queens Museum of Art in New York City since 2005. Reddy also spearheads the Museum’s community engagement initiatives combining arts and culture with social development goals in nearby neighborhoods predominately comprised of new immigrants, including programs that address language access, healthcare, public space advocacy, and the mortgage crisis.


EVENT: Tongva Talk, a Cultural Campfire,

is a time to gather around the fire and exchange knowledge and stories of indigenous history, culture and traditions, organized monthly by Olivia Chumacero. This event highlights storytelling by Tongvans.

  • Friday, November 9, 7:30 pm
  • Anabolic Monument, Native Plant Garden ceremonial space, at north end of the Los Angeles State Historic Park, 1245 N. Spring Los Angeles, CA 90012. Parking available on Baker Street. Bring a blanket or chair to sit on the sand.  Join in potluck dinner by bringing your own utensils.


LACE: How Does Socially Engaged Art Happen in Los Angeles?

Roundtable Workshop to explore the possibilities and limits of current organizational models and curatorial strategies that support Social Engagement Art practices. From trust building and community process to  funding and timing, this session invites participants to grapple with fundamental questions —  How to sustain a project?   How to represent in the community?  How long will the work really take?


Getty Museum: Do We Need Artists in Art Museums?

Does the role of an artist at museums stop once his or her art enters the collection and is displayed in the galleries? A growing number of museums are bringing artists into the fold – whether or not their art is displayed – and asking them to call on their own practices to devise creative opportunities for engaging diverse audiences and communities.  This panel of artists who have engaged museum audiences, and museum staff who have engaged artists, explores how museums reach communities through artists, and asks whether this is true engagement or mere flirtation.


Self Help Graphics + The School of Echoes:

How Can Artists and the Eastside Generate Change Together? 

Is the community or the artists the protagonists? What is the role of the artist as community and vice versa? How can Artists/community drive the visioning and planning of an arts district before it happens?  How do we move beyond participants, observers, beautifiers and “decorators” and into a more integrated part of development planning?


USC Roski School of Fine Art:

Occupy the Mind: Pedagogy, ‘Capitalocentrism’* and the Arts Fantasy

Faculty and students from the Roski School of Fine Art’s M.F.A. Program and M.A. program in Art and Curatorial Practice in the Public Sphere, as well as from the American Studies Program join together to discuss the implications of Occupy, the movement’s relationship and effect on academia and on the multiple artworlds, and the Capitalocentric nature of our economy.  The panel will be followed by a discussion with the audience.

  • November 30, Friday 5:30-7:30 pm
  • Fisher Courtyard in front of Fisher Gallery at 823 Exposition Blvd on USC CAMPUS
  • or rain location is 118 Watt Hall (beside Fisher Gallery)
  • Noura Wedell, The Political Uses of Fantasy
    Santi Vernetti and Kelly Akashi, Arrested Vegetation: The Blessed Unrest
    Connie Butler, Trying to Forget Fear: Occupy and the Berlin Biennial 2012
    A L Steiner, What Kind of Workers Are We?
    Jack Halberstam, No Church in The Wild: Anarchy Now
    Discussion with the audience

We invite you to read the following texts in preparation of our discussion:

Anonymous, After the Fall: Communiques from Occupied California (February 2010)
Working Artists and the Greater Economy (W.A.G.E): FAQs
Occupy LA Comprehensive Analysis from the Los Angeles City Hall
Artur Zmijewski, “Foreword,” Galit Eilat in Conversation with Artur Zmijewski, “A Good Drug Dealer,” Renzo Martens in Conversation with Artur Zmijewski, “Artists Come to Create Beauty and Kindness,” Forget Fear, Artur Zmijewski and Joanna Warsza, 7th Berlin Biennial for Contemporary Art (Berlin: KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Verlag der Buchhandlung, Walther König, 2012)


Public Tranportation:

Go Metro and receive a FREEWAVES DVD. For more details, click here. Metro provides Bus and Rail transportation all over Los Angeles County. For your best route or more info on service till 2AM on Fridays and Saturdays, visit the Metro Trip Planner or call (323) Go Metro or (323.466.3876).