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Social Saturday - Damon Rich

Social Saturday | August 8, 2015

Landscape, Art and Urbanism. Or, Newark.
Victor Davson, Rodney Gilbert, Damon Rich and Jae Shin
Presentation at 6:30 p.m.

After two weeks engaging the pastoral landscape of Mildred’s Lane and the Romantic landscape of the Catskills, this final event of Experience Economies: Landscape Experience will turn to urban landscapes. Victor Davson, Rodney Gilbert, Damon Rich, and Jae shin -- a diverse group of practitioners whose work encompasses art, design, and planning -- will discuss how artistic practice and, moreover, artistic communities navigate the cityscape and address the political economy of the built environment. A focus will be on their ongoing work in Newark, NJ, where Davson is founding director of Aljira, a Center for Contemporary Art, where Gilbert oversees the Newark Murals Program, where Shin recently developed the exhibition project Plan It Newark! and where Rich, formerly the former Planning Director and Chief Urban Designer for the city, has just completed his largest installation of public work to date in Newark Riverfront Park. 

This program is hosted as part of the session "Landscape Experience," organized by Experience Economies, the curatorial/event-based research duo of Gavin Kroeber and Rebecca Uchill. The session brings together artists, urbanists, writers, curators, historians, and other invited guests to address the entanglements of “landscape”: a knot of often-contradictory concepts, histories, and traditions, the word landscape implies both nature and culture, representation and direct experience, physical landmarks and the immaterial practices and ideologies that give shape and meaning to them. Town Friday and Social Saturday events during this session will open these ongoing discussions to a broader public. All are welcome.
 

Please Request Your Invitation HERE!

Tour – 4:00 p.m.
Cocktails with the Fellows BYOB – 6:00 p.m.
Lecture Presentation – 6:30 p.m.
Dinner BYOB – 8:00 p.m.
 

Victor Davson is a practicing artist and founding director since 1983 of Aljira, a Center for Contemporary Art in Newark, New Jersey.

He was born in Georgetown, Guyana and since immigrating to the United States in 1973 he has received a BFA degree from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York; co-founded Aljira, a Center for Contemporary Art; and established himself in his practice as an artist. His work is heavily influenced by the anti-colonial politics of the Caribbean, and by the intellectual powerhouses of that period. These include extraordinary writers and activists like Martin Carter, Frantz Fanon and Walter Rodney. Since 1996, his series of paintings and drawings, which include the Limbo/Anansi drawings, Bad Cow Comin’paintings, and his most recent paintings on long playing vinyl record album covers, are his attempt as an artist to negotiate the roots of identity in a terrain of loss and desire. All of these series are a response to his strong memories from his childhood in Guyana of a folk performance in which the participants masqueraded from house to house on Christmas Day. He sees these carnivalesque characters as metaphors for people of the African Diaspora who have survived because of their resiliency. 

As executive director of Aljira, a Center for Contemporary Art, Davson leads a vital hub for creative excellence in Newark New Jersey’s downtown arts district. Notable highlights in the organization’s history include: the founding of Emerge, a professional development program for visual artists; the founding of Aljira Design, a graphic design studio that for eighteen years earned revenue to support the organization’s exhibitions and public programs; an invitation to organize the United States representation at the IV Biennale International de Pintura in Ecuador; a major award from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts—becoming one of only a handful of institutions nationwide selected to participate in the foundation’s stabilization initiative for small to midsize organizations; and designation since 2003 a Major Arts Institution by The New Jersey State Council on the Arts. 

Davson received a leadership award from Prudential Foundation for his contribution to the Newark community. He was one of fifteen non-profit leaders in the arts, nationwide, selected to participate in Leadership 2000, a program of arts and economic development training for outstanding community leaders, sponsored by the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund and Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild, and run by faculty from the Harvard Business School. He has served on panels for the National Endowment for the Arts and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. 

He is a graduate of The Getty Museum Management Institute and has studied museum management at New York University Gallatin.

Rodney Gilbert is the founder and CEO of Yendor Productions, a Newark-based firm that consults, develops, and produces arts education programming and events. Yendor Productions was founded in 2003 to meet the challenges for the under served artists and communities. 

Mr. Gilbert has worked in professional theatre for over thirty years. He is a graduate of the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where he earned a BFA.  He has been serving the arts community through acting instruction for various institutions and organization as one of the leading teaching artist in the tri-state area. . He presently oversees the theatre program for Newark Public Schools, Extended Day and serves as the lead teacher and liaison to its Drew University Theatre partnership for which he co-created the curriculum. 

 At Drew University he is an Adjunct Professor for the Theatre Department teaching acting, directing, and introduction of speech with a focus on extemporaneous speaking.  He is an Arts Educator for the Kennedy Centers’ Wolftrap program  in NJ, as well as the Director of the Writers program for Playwrights Theater of NJ. He developed for Yendor Productions the afterschool arts education program “ZOOM” for the City of Newark. 

He is the Senior Program Director for the Newark Murals Program, which Yendor is the Lead Arts organization which manages this program. He has developed numerous workshops on arts education including symposiums for Steve Adabato’s Stand and Deliver program, developing their current curriculum. He has conducted workshops as far as Johannesburg, South Africa.

Mr. Gilbert is also a member of the Actors Equity Association, a Leadership Newark Fellow, and an Audelco Award Nominee. He was recently presented with an Award in Civic Engagement by Drew University and is presently in Victoria Foundation’s Emerging Leaders Program.

Damon Rich (Creve Coeur, Missouri, 1975) is an artist who uses video, sculpture, graphics, and photography to investigate the political economy of the built environment. In public spaces, exhibitions, graphic works, and events, sometimes produced in collaboration with young people and community-based organizations, Damon creates fantastical spaces for imagining the physical and social transformation of the world. His work has been exhibited at venues including the Storefront for Art and Architecture and SculptureCenter (New York City), the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Berlin), Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst (Liepzig), the Netherlands Architecture Institute (Rotterdam), and the 2008 Venice Biennale. In 1997, he founded the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP), a nonprofit organization that uses design and art to increase civic engagement, which he directed for 10 years. At CUP, Damon developed innovative models of community education, drawing on traditions of architecture and art to help people and organizations understand and improve the places where they live. His solo exhibition Red Lines Housing Crisis Learning Center, a large-scale installation examining the intersection of architecture and finance, was shown at the MIT Museum and Queens Museum in 2008–9, and he has just completed his largest installation of pubic work to date in Newark Riverfront Park.

Jae Shin is an artist and architect living and working in Newark, New Jersey. Her projects combine architecture, exhibition, publication, and community design. Recent work includes several urban design studies on street frontage strategies and Plan It Newark!, an exhibition project developed with the Newark Planning Office and New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) including a large-scale city model, community design workshops, and video. She is a principal at Hector Design Service and has taught architecture and urban design at NJIT and the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Experience Economies: Landscape Experience
 
Session Leaders
Gavin Kroeber and Rebecca Uchill

 
Experience Economies 2015 Fellows 
Cari Freno | Independent/Virginia
Claire Haik | School of Visual Arts
Danielle A. Allinice | Independent/Washington
Eric M. Diehl | Virginia Commonwealth University
Jennifer Brook | Independent/New York
Katherine Bickmore | Independent/Hamilton College/New York
Michelle Kelly Rogers | Independent/Florida
Rachel L. Cohn | Virginia Commonwealth University
Rebecca Conroy | Independent/Australia
Ruth Patir | Columbia University
Vered Engelhard | Independent/Peru
Misha Wyllie | Virginia Commonwealth University


2015 Mildred Fellows 
Mariana Gutierrez | Ministry of Comfort

Isobel Rose Lister | Officer Of Complex(ity)
Cameron Klavsen | Resident Artist in Complex(ity)
Jaquel Theis | Land Steward 1
Juliet Dunn | Land Steward 2

This program is hosted as part of the session "Landscape Experience," organized by Experience Economies, the curatorial/event-based research duo of Gavin Kroeber and Rebecca Uchill. The session brings together artists, urbanists, writers, curators, historians, and other invited guests to address the entanglements of “landscape”: a knot of often-contradictory concepts, histories, and traditions, the word landscape implies both nature and culture, representation and direct experience, physical landmarks and the immaterial practices and ideologies that give shape and meaning to them. Town Friday and Social Saturday events during this session will open these ongoing discussions to a broader public. All are welcome.