The Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill will present the regional premiere screening of “Fieldworks,” a documentary series of seven short films exploring the beauty, rigor, and impact of socially engaged art, on Friday, January 22, at 6 p.m.
Created by the non-profit arts organization, A Blade of Grass, “Fieldworks” will be introduced by that organizations programs and communications manager Joelle Te Paske.
“These short documentary vignettes offer a glimpse into the work of artists who are directly shaping and advancing communities through socially-engaged art,” said Andrea Grover, the Century Arts Foundation Curator of Special Projects at the Parrish. “Among them is pioneer Mel Chin, whose environmental remediation advocacy work in cities like New Orleans and Detroit demonstrates how creativity can lead the way to complex problem solving. Operation Paydirt was initiated by Mr. Chin in 2006 to engage communities across the country in a creative grassroots action to inspire solutions to the national lead contamination crisis. Growing from a viral initiative involving a few thousand children to over 400,000 participants, Operation Paydirt draws on creative methods such as community art workshops and theatrical performances to raise awareness and educate lawmakers on solutions to the issue of childhood lead poisoning.
In” Reflections of Healing,” artist and educator Brett Cook champions health and wellness in participatory public art installations and wellness clinics at the Oakland Museum of California, and at “Life Is Living,” an annual event in DeFremery Park, Oakland. Reflections of Healing served as a catalyst for diverse and under-resourced communities to form new partnerships, to celebrate community through local anecdotes of healing, and to engage in direct healthcare services.
Pablo Helguera opened Librería Donceles, a pop-up bookstore in Red Hook, Brooklyn, that houses more than 20,000 used Spanish-language books—all donations from his trip to Mexico City. According to Mr. Helguera, a pioneer of socially engaged artistic practice, “As an artist you want to make things that don’t exist to be there in the world… a bookstore like this probably could not exist if it was not an artwork.”
Media artist, essayist and novelist Fran Ilich created Diego de la Vega Coffee Co-op to connect rural agricultural workers in Mexico’s Zapatista communities and service industry laborers in New York City by serving Zapatista-grown coffee on the streets throughout the city. In the film, standing at a folding table and handing out cups of coffee to passersby, Ms. Ilich says, “Once you drink it you will be filled with rebellious ideas.”
Jan Mun is an artist who explores the generative principles of how complex systems such as botany and fungi, economies, and social networks function; as well as the effects of interactions between entities. In “Greenpoint Bioremediation Project,” Ms. Mun fights one of the largest underground oil spills in the world with bioremediation at Newtown Creek, Brooklyn, by creating The Fairy Rings, an art installation inspired by the natural phenomenon that occurs as mushrooms grow out into rings in the search for nutrients.
“SexEd” (Norene Leddy and Liz Slagus) builds an arts-based sexual health curriculum with a mission to reform sex education across the country. Wearing Consent is a three-prong art and sex ed campaign that reached six New York City high schools via a classroom curriculum, a robust after-school program, and the SexEd Salon—an installation/showcase that explored consent via wearable art engagements, including temporary tattoos, manicures, live audio remixes, and a runway.
Jody Wood brings her mobile beauty salon to nine homeless shelters over three months in New York City in the project, “Beauty in Transition.” By providing beauty services, including a hair wash, cut, color, and style to willing participants, the project aimed to challenge the reductive label of homeless and instilling dignity to these clients during a challenging transitional period of their lives.
“Fieldworks” will screen at The Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill on Friday, January 22 at 6 p.m. Tickets are $10; free for members. For more information, visit parrishart.org.