Open Forums

Open forums are orchestrated discussions led by Linda Weintraub that examine the role of art within the broader cultural context. The following forum topics can be revised to assure that they are timely. Forum participants can be students, guest artists and other professionals, or members of the faculties of art and/or environmental studies, cultural studies, etc. They can be presented as formal panels, with each member presenting a position which is then discussed. Alternatively, they can be organized like informal town meetings.

Studio Art – What’s Next:
The Greening of Art Pedagogy

The industrial/military complex often serves as the model for current educational approaches. Like these complexes, academe is organized as a multi-tiered hierarchy of power that passes from the president to students. It segregates disciplines, standardizes evaluations and promotions, and impedes responsiveness to changing conditions. In all these ways it contradicts the fluidity and interdependency of ecosystems. Furthermore, it measures success in terms of endowments and the income-earning capacity of their graduates, not in terms of sustainability and ecosystem vitality.

This forum invites participants to envision a new academic model. It seeks ways that curricula can emulate ecosystem dynamics.

Art as Catalyst for Environmental Transformation

This forum explores how artists who direct their creativity toward environmental concerns can optimize their influence. How can artistic ingenuity divert the power that corrupts eco systems into efforts that create healthy eco systems? What strategies attract attention, generate discussion, and make audiences receptive to innovation? How can art become a catalyst for eco-centric reform? This forum will examine the methods of communication, presentation, and dissemination of artists who are attempting to advance environmental consciousness, detoxify contaminated sites, augment diversity, and halt environmentally damaging practices. The participants in the forum will identify these logistical, philosophical, and ethical components of eco-art.
Curators as Cure-ators

The word “cure” provides the linguistic root of curatorial practice. In conventional practice, curators “cured” art by treating works of art like valuable perishables. This definition of the word “cure” is activated when curators utilize their authority as connoisseurs, scholars, and educators. They present works for observation and contemplation, but not for direct interaction. Curatorial practice has been shifting toward an alternative meaning of “cure”: to heal, restore, and revitalize. This forum orchestrates a discussion to curatorial strategies that fulfill these dynamic goals. It will explore exhibitions conceived as interactive workshops, experimental laboratories, centers for the exchange of ideas, and forums for the evolution of new information.

Going, Staying, Coming, Finding Home

The prefix ‘eco’ means home. Thus the study of ecology is the study of the Earth as a home in which life is nurtured and maintained. As a result, the significance of the word ‘home’ is expanding beyond associations with a person’s ethnic, geographic, and cultural identity to include habitat, watershed, and ecosystem. This forum will present artistic explorations of the Earth as humanity’s home in the universe. It will explore the causes of home sickness (ailing ecosystems) to homesickness (longing for home), and examine contemporary conditions of suburbia, cities, and globalism that induce emotional homelessness and account for environmental blight.