Pratt Institute Syllabus: AIUE_SyllabusFall2011_Final

Art in the Urban Environment ACM-645
Arts & Cultural Management Program
School of Art & Design
Instructors: Amy Sananman & Juliana Cope
Tel: Amy 646.610.1342 (cell) Juliana 347.598.4334 (cell)
Location: 144 West 14th Street, Rooms 402 and 409 Time: 9:30am- 12:30pm
Credits: Two Type of Course: Required
Office Hours:  By appointment

Instructor Bios
Juliana Cope is the Special Projects Coordinator for the International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP). ISCP is a residency program for emerging and established artists and curators from around the world.  Ms. Cope oversees ISCP’s Participatory Projects in the public realm, facilitating the relationships between artists, curators and a variety of stakeholders. She has served as Director of Multimedia Programs for Puppetry in Practice, Community School Director for the Educational Alliance and was instrumental in creating Portland, Oregon’s first legal art wall. Ms. Cope holds a masters degree in Performance and Interactive Media Arts from Brooklyn College and a B.A. in Visual Arts from Oberlin College. She teaches at Parsons and is on the advisory council for Arts@Renaissance, a project of St. Nicks Alliance in North Brooklyn.

Amy Sananman is Groundswell Community Mural Project’s founder and Executive Director. Motivated by her long-standing fascination with murals, Sananman conceived of Groundswell in 1996 with the mission to bring together professional artists, grassroots organizations and communities to create high quality murals in under-represented neighborhoods and inspire youth to take active ownership of their future by equipping them with the tools necessary for social change.  Over the past ten years Groundswell has worked with thousands of community members to complete more than 200 collaboratively designed and painted murals across New York City. From the Bronx to Brooklyn, Groundswell’s murals have visually transformed neighborhoods through celebrating cultural diversity and unity, telling stories of community empowerment and challenges overcome and giving youth a voice to speak to their immediate communities and the general public.  Sananman holds a masters degree in Public Policy from the University of California at Berkeley.  Her accolades include NYU/Wagner School’s Rudin Award for Community Service through the Arts and the prestigious 2006 Union Square Award for her leadership in developing Groundswell as a grassroots asset. She has presented and served on numerous panels speaking on arts as a tool for social change panels hosted by the Bronx Museum of Art, the New School for Social Research, Pratt Institute, Columbia University, Teachers College, CUNY’s Hunter School of Social Work and the Partnership for After School Education. She has lectured at Pratt Institute and the New School. Sananman lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children.

Description and Course Goals:
This course is designed to take place in and around the community of New York City in order to gain a greater understanding of the relationship that exists between the arts and the community and to utilize every opportunity to explore art and culture in all five Boroughs and beyond. Through presentations, readings, group discussions, site visits, and guest speakers students will explore the many ways in which the arts impact the community as well as how the community impacts the arts.  By the end of the course, students should have an understanding of the following topics:

I.  Survey Art in the Public Realm
Since the mid-1960s, the practice of making art for and in the public realm has grown in stature and importance. In the United States and most industrialized nations, public art programs are managed by a variety of not-for-profit and public sector agencies. This course examines the development of this field and looks at the management structures that have been institutionalized to respond to the desire for community inclusion in the decision-making process. It explores the relationship between artists, communities and society-at-large within the urban environment.

II.  Historic Context/Redevelopment and Public Space
Transforming a deteriorated district, creating a greenspace, redeveloping a former restricted-use site, or reinvigorating a waterfront area are all common practice nowadays, especially in New York.  Questions to be explored include: What is an effective use of space?  How is the public affected by large-scale land transformation?  In what ways has the community engaged in the process of redevelopment?  How has development led to gentrification? Which communities benefit most from development?  Which benefit least?

III. Art for Social Change/Radical Art
Social change can often be traced back to the single action of one person or one small idea.  Artists who seek to engage with the community in a radical way often do so by pushing boundaries and exposing societal taboos.  What is the impact of radical art?  How does it challenge us to think differently about our community?

IV.  Role of the Institution/Government/Museums and the Community
When thinking strategically about an institution’s programs and activities, one usually begins with a contemplation of the organization’s mission statement.  But, with rapidly changing communities, technologies, and interests, how does an organization draw people through its doors when its mission may not appear to interest the surrounding community anymore?  Does content suffer if audience development becomes the driving focus of an institution? Where are there opportunities for balance?

Student Performance Objectives:

  • Students will be able to define and describe public art and analyze its role within a community.
  • Students will demonstrate an understanding of best practices when it comes to introducing and engaging a community in redevelopment or a public art project.
  • By formulating their own informed opinions, students will be able to compare and write about arts institutions and site-specific projects, artists, and online endeavors that have been successful or unsuccessful in reaching their intended audience.
  • Students will be able to speak effectively about how an organization’s mission and audience influence decision-making at all levels of an institution.

In the last two decades communities in cities large and small have experienced rapid growth, demographic shifts, or even, rapid decline.  This course explores how art and art institutions engage with a changing environment.

Methods of Assessment:
Students are expected to attend all classes, arrive on time, participate in class discussions and projects, read all assigned readings, turn in all projects on time, and complete a final project. Since arts managers must be articulate and able to write well, special emphasis will be placed on class participation, oral presentations, and written assignments.

 Professional Expectations:

  • Notify instructor of absence in advance by email or, in the case of illness the day of class by phone prior to 9:30 am.
  • Class meetings begin promptly at 9:30. If we are taking trips, we will not be able to wait for you.
  • Arrival after 10:00 am will be marked as an absence.
  • Do all required readings. Some readings will be discussed explicitly; others will inform broader conversations and writing assignments.
  • Please use email to communicate any questions regarding course, assignments or office hours. Please cc all absences to Chris Shrum
  • If you miss class, you are required to write a second site visit paper.
  • Professional communications. This will be stressed in all interactions to best prepare students for a career in arts management. This ranges from speaking loudly and clearly in class, preparing questions prior to interactions with guest speakers, to professionally written emails.
  • We value your input. Come prepared to contribute.
  • Please limit cell phone/blackberry usage to breaks.


Weekly Readings
For each session you will be expected to complete the weekly readings for the course. Students are expected to complete all readings prior to Saturday’s class and have questions and comments prepared for each chapter, article and website.  The assigned readings are critical in order to have meaningful and thought provoking class discussions and site visits. Students are encouraged to bring to class articles and your own global experiences in order to provide a unique perspective to the learning experience.

Site Visit Paper
(Due November 19th at 9:30 AM.  Papers will be graded and returned the next day.)

Each student will be required to write a two-three page, double-spaced, case summary on at least one site visit or guest lecturer using one of the analytical tools covered in class. Students are encouraged to write using their own opinions with the assistance of outside resources and materials such as websites and articles.  This paper should NOT simply regurgitate facts found on a website or brochure.

Your site visit paper should address the following points:

  • Understanding of the mission and overall goals (in your own words)
  • The relationship with the community
  • Using your own informed opinion, how successful is the site in reaching its targeted community?

Final Project: Paper and Oral Presentation (Due December 10th)*

Final Paper
Each student will be expected to complete a final project at the end of the course that will allow you to further develop an understanding of the relationship between art and the community.  Utilizing one of the analytical tools we have utilized during the course, each student will be expected to provide a 12-page, double-spaced comparison between art that has been embraced and accepted by the community and art that has fueled controversy and rejection. The beginning of your paper should begin with the overall mission and goals of the entities discussed.

The second half of your paper should focus on ways in which the entity did or did not make a significant attempt to reach out to the community.  The conclusion of the final project will focus on whether or not you believe each entity has been beneficial to the community.  Site specific examples of the successes and failures of each entity and make recommendations that you believe would be beneficial to each entity.  Note: You should compare like entities (example:  a museum with a museum, a public art project with a public art project etc).  The chosen entities may not be those already covered in this course. Should you wish to alter the focus of your final paper, please discuss it with the course instructor before you begin. You are encouraged to include visuals (brochures, articles, headlines, video, etc.) Include a bibliography and footnotes.  See a resource such as Purdue Owl for formatting

Oral Presentation
On the final weekend of class, students will be expected to do a 15-minute presentation about their papers.  Visual aids are encouraged.  Students are encouraged strongly to use Power Point or Prezi. Please keep in mind that the presentation should be only 15-minutes in length.

Final Project Structure
I Introduction/Thesis Statement
II Summary of Project 1
III Summary of Project 2
IV Comparison Using Analytic Tools
V Conclusion

*Students who would like their papers returned must provide a self addressed envelope to their section leader.  These papers will be returned with comments by January 31, 2012.

Your final grade will be determined by:
Class Participation/Attendance: 20%
Site Visit Paper: 20%
Final Project:
Final Paper: 40%
Oral Presentation: 20%

Ultimately, you determine your grade. Class participation is key.  If you know that you will be absent, please make an arrangement with the professor to complete an alternative assignment so that your grade will not be penalized.  Also, if you need to stay home due to illness, you are required to email or call your professor the morning of your absence.  Should communication not be made on the day of the absence, the absence will be counted as unexcused.

Required Readings:

Students must purchase the following:

Finkelpearl, Tom. Dialogues in Public Art. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 2001

This book is found on or by going directly to the Queens Museum of Art (please call in advance to ensure that they have copies on hand).

Other required readings and additional resources are available for download on  All readings are listed on the attached document with textbook, article, and website readings listed for each weekend.  Students are expected to complete all readings prior to Saturday’s class and have questions and comments prepared for each chapter, article and website.  The assigned readings are critical in order to have meaningful and thought provoking class discussions and site visits. Students are encouraged to bring to class articles and your own global experiences in order to provide a unique perspective to the learning experience.

Course Outline

Weekend One: Introduction to Public Art & Modes of Analysis

October 29th (9:30 AM- 12:30 PM): *Meet at Pratt

I. Guest Speaker: Niegel Smith, artist and Co-Artistic Director PERMISO

II. Class Introduction

Niegel Smith is a performance artist and theater director who sculpts social spaces into unique communal environments where we make new rituals, excavate our pasts and imagine future narratives. He has been commissioned by Elastic City to create and lead walks.  His work has been produced by The Public Theater, Classical Theatre of Harlem, HERE Arts Center, and the Phoenix Theatre Ensemble. As PERMISO with Co-Artistic Director Todd Shalom, Niegel has co-conceived and staged various mass rituals in public settings in New York and Buenos Aires. Niegel is a graduate of Dartmouth College and has received grants and fellowships from Theater Communications Group, the Van Lier Fund and the Tucker Foundation.

Websites to Review:
Elastic City:
Groundswell Mural Project:
International Studio & Curatorial Program:

October 30th (9:30 AM-12:30 PM): * Meet at Groundswell Community Mural Project Office, 540 President St, Suite 1A, Brooklyn, NY
I Discussion
II Guest Speaker & Guggenheim/Stakeholder Roleplay Facilitator: Sally Block, Executive Director AAMC
III   SWOT Analysis
IV.     Logic Model

Sally Block has served as the Executive Director of the Association of Art Museum Curators (AAMC) and AAMC Foundation since 2004.  The organization, with a membership of over 1100 individuals, has a key objective to support the role of curators in shaping the mission of art museums throughout North America.  Since 2007, Ms. Block has also served as Senior Programmatic Consultant and Director of Administration for the Center for Curatorial Leadership.  Ms. Block was an adjunct professor in the Arts & Cultural Management program at the Pratt Institute, and currently serves as the Vice President of Governance on the Board of ArtTable.  She was chair of the Museum Committee at the College Art Association from 2006 to 2009.  Prior to her position at the AAMC, Ms. Block was Deputy Director of the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art (MoCADA) in Brooklyn.  Additionally, she has held positions with Learning through an Expanded Arts Program (LEAP), Teach for America and the Ceasefire Foundation of Washington. She holds degrees from the University of Missouri, Columbia and the Pratt Institute.

Websites to Review:
Association of Museum Curators:

Week I Readings:

Finkelpearl, Tom. Dialogues in Public Art. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 2001, pp. 54-77.

Ward, Vicky.  “A House Divided.” Vanity Fair August 2005: pp. 22-29.

Weekend Two: Public Art, Redevelopment & Public Space

November 5th (9:30 AM- 12:30 PM)  * Meet at Pratt
I. Discussion
II. Guest Speaker: Kendal Henry, Public Art Consultant, Curator and Artist

Kendal Henry is a public art consultant and artist living in New York City. He formerly served as a Manager of Arts Programs at the MTA Arts for Transit Program. During that time, he oversaw the fabrication and installation of twenty-five permanent art projects, served as a member of the MTA’s in-house design team, produced temporary exhibitions at Grand Central Terminal, and produced the MTA’s award winning post program. Previous to his experience at the MTA, he served as a project manager at the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs’ Percent for Art Program for four years. He is also an experienced curator, whose projects include the Barcardi Limited Biennial 2004 at the Bermuda National Gallery, Takashi Murakami: Wink which was presented at Grand Central Terminal in 2001, and Arts for Transit: A Museum Underground, which was presented at the New York Institute for Technology in 2004. He graduated from the School of Visual Arts with a B.F.A. in 1992.

Websites to Review:

MTA Arts for Transit:

NYC Percent for Art:

Wooster Collective:

Fred Wilson Proposal:

November 6th (9:30 AM-12:30 PM) * Meet at Pratt and travel to Newark together
I. Site Visit & Guest Speaker: Damon Rich, Designer and Artist; Founder, Center for Urban Pedagogy; Urban Designer and Waterfront Planner, City of Newark, New Jersey

Damon Rich is a designer and artist, and currently serves as the Urban Designer for the City of Newark, New Jersey. His work has been exhibited internationally at venues including the 2008 Venice Architecture Biennale, Storefront for Art and Architecture, the Canadian Centre for Architecture, and the Netherlands Architecture Institute.

In Newark, Rich leads design efforts with public and private actors to improve the city’s public spaces, including the launch of the This is Newark! Public Art Program in 2009. Rich is also overseeing the design and development of the city’s first riverfront park.

In 1997, Rich founded the Center for Urban Pedagogy, a New York City nonprofit organization that uses design to increase the impact of public participation in urban planning and community development, where he was the Creative Director for 10 years. His most recent solo exhibition Red Lines Housing Crisis Learning Center was on view at the Queens Museum of Art in 2009.

Websites to Review:

Week Two Readings:

Finkelpearl, Tom. Dialogues in Public Art. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 2001, pp. 3-45, 235-269.

Rich, Damon.  “Community Centering.” The Journal of Aesthetics and Protest, June 2004.

Weekend Three: Social Activism & Public Art
November 19th (9:30 AM- 12:30PM)  * Meet at Pratt
I Discussion : NOTE: Site Visit Paper due at 9:30am sharp
II Final Topic and Analytic Tool Due
III Guest Speaker: Todd Lester, Founder of freeDimensional and the Creative Resistance Fund
IV Reflection

Before launching freeDimensional Todd Lester served as Information & Advocacy Manager for the International Rescue Committee in Sudan. He holds a Masters of Public Administration from Rutgers University and is a graduate of the Refugee Studies Centre’s Summer School in Forced Migration at Oxford University. Todd is adjunct faculty at several New York City universities including Media Studies at the New School for Social Research from which he received a Film Production Diploma. Todd is engaged (thinking/writing/convening) at the intersection of art for social change; horizontal network as institutional form; culture funding; cultural exchange & diplomacy; artist mobility & residency programs; and the role of the artist in policymaking. As such, Todd is an active advisor to several residencies, artist-led projects and networks – Res Artis, Gardarev, Sangam House, Pirogue Collective of Gorée Institute, Guapamacátaro Interdisciplinary Residency in Art and Ecology, HomeBase Project, Esthétique & Handicap, the Flux Factory’s diversity committee, and a planning committee for the Rockwood Leadership Institute’s Arts & Culture Fellowship – a regular contributor to The Art & Democracy Project, nominator to the Prince Claus Fund for Culture & Development, and serves as a Senior Fellow at the World Policy Institute. In 2006, Todd received the Peace Corps Fund Award for his work starting freeDimensional; was named ‘Architect of the Future’ by the Waldzell Institute in 2008; and selected as a delegate to The Opportunity Agenda’s 2011 Creative Change summit.

Websites to Review:
Free Dimensional:
Creative Resistance Fund:

November 20th (9:30 AM-12:30 PM): * Meet at Groundswell Office
I Mural Tour
II Guest Speaker: Conor McGrady, Public Muralist/Art Activist
III Discussion

Conor McGrady is an artist from Northern Ireland who currently lives and works in New York. His often large-scale paintings and drawings explore how power is manifested in individuals and nation-states and how it translates into the control of personal, urban and rural terrain. He has recently exhibited in solo exhibitions in New York, Atlanta, Zagreb/Croatia and Newcastle Upon Tyne/UK. Group exhibitions include the 2002 Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and “Archiving Place and Time: Contemporary Art Practice in Northern Ireland since the Belfast Agreement”, which travelled to multiple venues in the UK and Ireland. In the public realm he has completed collaborative murals in Belfast/Ireland, Chicago, New Bedford and with Groundswell Community Mural Project in New York. He is editor of Curated Spaces, a regular feature in the journal Radical History Review and has published numerous articles in The Brooklyn Rail.

Websites to Review:

Conor McGrady:


Week Three Readings:

Bishop, Claire. “The Social Turn,” Art Forum, February 2006, pp. 179-185.

Doss, Erica. “Public Art Controversy.” Monograph, Americans for the Arts, October 2006: pp. 1-12.

Finkelpearl, Tom. Dialogues in Public Art. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 2001, pp. 81-109.

Tomkins, Calvin.  The Art World, “Big Art, Big Money.” The New Yorker, March 29, 2010: pp. 62-68.

Weekend Four

December 3rd (9:30 AM-12:30PM): * Meet at Pratt
I Discussion
II Review Final Project including topics, analytic tools and questions
III Guest Speaker: Emily Colasacco, Manager of the Urban Art Program

Emily Colasacco has been the Manager of the Urban Art Program at the New York City Department of Transportation for the past 4 years. While at DOT, she has developed the agency’s first formal public art program and has managed approximately 80 temporary art projects to-date. She also represents the Urban Design & Art Unit on Percent for Art projects working closely with the Department of Cultural Affairs and the Department of Design and Construction.  Prior to joining DOT, Emily worked at the U.S. General Services Administration as a Public Affairs Specialist supporting the Regional Fine Arts Officer on all aspects of the Art-in-Architecture Program and the Fine Arts Collection, as well as organizing the Centennial celebration of the Alexander Hamilton Custom House, which included producing a guest lecture series, permanent exhibition, temporary performances and writers-in-residency program. Before that, she worked at the Hudson River Museum as a Youth Program Specialist within the Education Department. Emily obtained a Masters degree in Visual Arts Administration from New York University and a Bachelors degree in both Art History and Studio Art from Binghamton University.

Websites to Review:
DOT Urban Art Program:

December 4th (9:30 AM-12:30PM)  Meet at Pratt
I. Guest Speaker: Marisa Jahn

Of Ecuadorian and Chinese descent, Marisa Jahn is an artist, writer, and community organizer who believes that bridging culture and grassroots politics brings about innovative forms of social change. Marisa’s work has been presented in public spaces and venues such as the MIT Museum, The New Museum, ICA Philadelphia, ISEA/Zero One, Eyebeam (NYC), the National Fine Art Museum of Taiwan, National Museum of Art in Bishkek Kyrgyzstan, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the San Francisco Asian Art Museum, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. In 2009, Marisa was an artist-in-residence at MIT’s Media Lab, an artist teacher with Center for Urban Pedagogy, and designer-in-residence at the advocacy group Street Vendor Project. As an art educator working with underrepresented youth since 1998,Marisa was recognized by UNESCO in 2006 as a leading art educator. A graduate of UC Berkeley and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Marisa’s work has been featured in Art in America, Los Angeles Times, Frieze, Punk Planet, Clamor Magazine, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Make Magazine, the Discovery Channel, The Wall Street Journal, and more. Marisa is the Executive and Creative of People’s Production House, a media arts and journalism production institute that teaches with low-wage workers, teens. and youth to produce ground-breaking media. Marisa is also the Creative Director of new model for civic media, public art and documentary reportage.
Websites to Review:
Byproduct: On the Excess of Embedded Art Practices, edited by MarisaJahn:

Week Four Readings:
Finkelpearl, Tom. Dialogues in Public Art. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 2001, pp. 294-322.

Jackson, Maria Rosario. Building Community: Making Space for Art.  The Urban Institute, 2011.

Kwon, Miwon. One Place After Another: Site-Specific Art and Locational Identity. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 2004, pp. 56 – 99.

Weekend Five

December 10th (9:30 AM- 12:30PM) * Meet at Pratt
NOTE: Final Papers Due at 9:30am sharp
I. Final Presentations in Class

December 11th (9:30 AM- 12:30PM) * Meet at Pratt
I. Final Presentations in Class
II. Wrap Up and Summary of Course

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