students in conversation


A minor in Interdisciplinary Art and Social Practice provides students with a unique set of seminar and project-based experiences that explore creative practices that engage the public sphere.

Social Practice focuses on diverse creative strategies for social engagement, inviting collaboration with a broad spectrum of individuals, communities, and institutions.

Only a few universities across the nation have begun to offer undergraduate degree programs focused on Social Practice. This is great chance to craft a unique education for yourself that combines creativity with your major field of study and interests.

Students are required to take a set of three core Social Practice courses (see below) in combination with related courses of each student’s choosing from across the University. Students also earn course credits through externships and directed research.

This minor’s strength is supported by the CVPA’s internationally recognized faculty, public partnerships, and our vibrant city.

This minor is an integral catalyst for UNCG’s mission to “redefine the public research university for the 21st century as an inclusive, collaborative, and responsive institution making a difference in the lives of students and the community it serves.”


Meet visiting socially engaged artists who have worked with our students:



IASP Black Mountain College Group Thumbnail

IASP Research Trip: Black Mountain College, Asheville NC

In the spring of 2023, students and faculty from the Interdisciplinary Art and Social Practice program at UNCG embarked on a research trip to Asheville, North Carolina, to explore and learn about the history and influence of Black Mountain College (1930-50s). This trip was generously funded by the Victoria and Ron Milstein Fund for Interdisciplinary Art and Social Practice.

Open Engagement: Emergent Futures

A series of programs and events highlighting the work of socially engaged artists, activists, students, scholars, community members, as well as organizations working within the area. Presented by Open Engagement, UNCG’s Interdisciplinary Art and Social Practice Minor, Duke University, and UNC Chapel Hill.

Lunch Break: The Collective

After researching contemporary and historically significant Art Collectives, the five students became a collective themselves. First, they needed to find a shared aim and something highly valued by all of them. In their case, self-care, community and connection became key values. They identified these as three important values not being supported by the scheduling of School.

The students created Lunch Break, a collective that provides free lunch for students and faculty once a week during class time. Emphasizing the importance of taking a lunch break as a form or resistance, restoration, and self-care. Importantly, the Lunch Breaks happened during class time to emphasize the act of “taking a lunch break within institutional frameworks that do not allow it.”


Students organize and run Frontbird, a nomadic pop-up storefront that explores the social context. Frontbird creates experiences through a mash-up of art, public intervention, marketing, radical pedagogy and cultural exchange.

States of Incarceration

The class Experiments in Art and Social Practice, collaborated with the department of Public History and Greensboro’s International Civil Rights Museum to develop socially engaged projects and a multimedia print installation for the series “States of Incarceration.” As artists, we brought students and community together and created dialogue about social justice and the future state of mass incarceration.

Greensboro Contemporary Jewish Museum

The Greensboro Contemporary Jewish Museum, the only Jewish museum of its kind in North Carolina, is a Jewish museum created in collaboration with faculty and students in the Jewish Studies program and the Interdisciplinary Art and Social Practice Minor at the University of North Carolina Greensboro and the greater Greensboro Jewish public. Focusing on object as agent of faith or identity, the inaugural exhibition of the GCJM shines a light on everyday objects that facilitate contemporary Jewish identity in its varied forms. Contributors, Jewish residents of Greensboro, North Carolina, were prompted: “Please share a personal object imbued with significance to you as a Jew.” These household objects, their stories and the stories of their keepers are the content for a living archive that makes up our inaugural exhibition at UNCG’s Greensboro Project Space: 36+2.


Missing Parts by Sydney Lee and Rachael Hayes

Missing Parts is inspired by concepts pioneered by Fluxus, an experimental art community from the 1960’s, and is an allusion to the book Grapefruit, written by member Yoko Ono in 1964. Playing on the experience-based performances of Fluxus, we challenge members of our community to act on ideas of self-imposed emotional restrictions. Missing Parts is rooted in the concept of authority, presented in the form of commands.

Our commands demand action from participants, whether personal or private, to foster vulnerability and connection. They are an attempt to provide our participants with an opportunity to give themselves permission to feel and embrace elements of the human condition shared by many, but rarely openly addressed. Missing Parts is an attempt to build a community through shared experience, understanding, and vulnerability.

A Tail of Two Queens by Maya Kolesar

A Tail of Two Queens: Canine Extravaganza was a drag show adoption event focused on promoting Guilford County animal shelter as well as to celebrate and bring awareness to the LGBTQIA+ community. Through the event we raised funds for the Guilford animal shelter, encouraged pride, and helped animals find their forever homes through a festive day full of glamour and fun.

The event includes a fashion show with the dogs and performers, showcasing our wonderful participants personalities. Each dog had a personalized accessory to match their performing partner. The show was followed by Drag performances by a broad variety of artists.

An Additive Sculpture Project by Rylee Hartsell

We invited people from the community of Greensboro to participate in an interactive sculpture. Anyone in Greensboro was able to add something to the piece that they thought represened the community of Greensboro. This included something that symbolized the participant, an important person to them, or Greensboro in general. The finished sculptureemodied the diversity of the many different kinds of personalities that live in Greensboro since everyone left their own special mark that worked in cohesion with other people’s contributions.


Created by the School of Art at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro Project Space (GPS) is an off-campus contemporary art center in Downtown Greensboro that acts as a bridge between students and faculty in the School of Art, and the Greensboro community. Half of our programs are by School of Art students and faculty, and half are split between a diverse range of communities and artists off-campus, and on-campus.

At GPS, we think of social practice not as a separate genre, but as a framework to view and experience a variety of artistic and non-artistic encounters. We create access into our content through a heavy dose of curatorial and educational programs, aligning our curatorial methodology with a lense of social practice. This is done in collaboration with the artists and the efforts of our student led staff. We find it important that in creating new ways for the public to interact with our content, we add to the discourse and canon of socially engaged art.


UNCG Art Truck is an experimental mobile exhibition space, an art gallery, and an interactive & educational art space. It was initiated in 2014 by Lawrence Jenkens, Associate Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts at UNCG. Within a year, the Art Truck Think Tank, formed by School of Art, The Department of Interior Architecture, and Lloyd International Honors College, collaborated on the design of the Art Truck and oversaw its renovation from a 17-feet U-Haul box truck to a unique, breathtaking mobile art space.

Debuted in 2015, The Art Truck has developed versatile programs, which include art exhibitions, performances, installations, socially engaged projects, poetry workshops, pop-up libraries, open theatre, a photo booth, pop-up meditations, and more. Our motto is “Reach out. Bring in.” Community building, education, and engagement are our souls.


The Victoria and Ron Milstein Fund for Social Practice brings an eminent artist to UNC Greensboro each year who is a prominent and emerging leader within Social Practice. These artists are on campus for multi-day residencies to provide public lectures, interactive workshops in the classroom, and an exhibition on campus or at the Greensboro Project Space created in collaboration with students in the Interdisciplinary and Social Practice Minor. The fund also includes scholarships for students who demonstrate excellence within the field of socially engaged art.


Marielis Garcia headshot. Photo credit: Whitney Browne

Faculty Artist Profile: Marielis Garcia

Assistant Professor of Dance Marielis Garcia has been a teaching artist since she was barely a teenager—a gutsy teenager who ...
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Jamaas Britton '24 MFA Theatre

Student Led Event Creates Unity in Diversity

According to Merriam-Webster, unity is “the state of being one; oneness,” while diversity refers to “variety, assortment or mixture.” Jamaas Britton ...
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Meet the Meshroom: A Mash-Up of Art, Dance, and Music

“Drop In. Drop Out. Bring a Friend.” That is the tag line for a new event coming to UNC Greensboro ...
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Four chairs on a stage for the opera dwb (Driving While Black)

dwb (Driving While Black) Opera Tells Powerful Story

“Every time you leave I'll try to let go a little more. But every time, I’ll be waiting to hear ...
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The UNCG | Susan W. Stinson Book Award for Dance Education AWARD ANNOUNCEMENT

The UNC Greensboro School of Dance is delighted to announce recipients of the 2022 UNCG | Susan W. Stinson Book ...
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Visiting Artist in Social Practice

Pablo Helguera, a pioneer of socially engaged artistic practice, is working with CVPA students this semester on a project that ...
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Pollinator Garden Takes Root

A project promoting sustainability in the arts is sprouting on campus—literally and figuratively—thanks to the passion and initiative of two ...
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camper used by artist Grace Clark

Grace Clark ’21 MFA Studio Art, Creator of Overland Artworks

Grace Clark started out on a fairly standard path for an art student. Raised in western Minnesota, the daughter of ...
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Associate Professor Jennifer Meanley Helps with ‘Bridging the Gap’

A new mural called "Bridging the Gap" decorates the Morehead Park trailhead along the Downtown Greenway. Leading the effort is ...
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IOB-UNCG Project Banner


The College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) and the Industries of the Blind (IOB) have partnered on an innovative ...
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Lee Walton

Director of Social Practice

Lee Walton is an artist with an expanded practice that includes drawing, performance, and social practice. Walton’s experiential art works employ systems of rule, chance, and open collaboration. Lee works with museums, institutions, universities, and cities from around the world to develop participatory public events, workshops, exhibits, and educational programs.

Lee is a Professor of Art and Director of the Interdisciplinary Art and Social Practice Program in Art. In 2016, he worked directly with Adam Carlin and Lawrence Jenkens to develop Greensboro Project Space (GPS), a place that celebrates public life through art, culture, and education.

If you want to learn more about his work, you can visit his website:

If you want to learn more about this program, enroll, or contribute in some way, contact Lee Walton at [email protected].

Caitlyn Schrader

Caitlyn Schrader

Director, Greensboro Project Space and Community Engagement, CVPA

Caitlyn Schrader is an artist attracted to experiential engagement and challenging modes of traditional classifications, whether it is through the learning environments she facilitates, the events she curates, or the performative spaces she designs and presents upon. “What is performance?” (Her constant question and reflection) drives the construction of her hybrid dance presentations, which previously have blended movement, conceptual and performance art, and design; immersive methods have included film, installation, and social practice on both the traditional stage and in alternative spaces. She believes that art and life are one in the same and should be a shared human experience.

If you want to learn more about her work, you can visit her website:

Interest in this program or have questions? Reach out and connect with Caitlyn here at [email protected].

Leah Sobsey tintype portrait

Leah Sobsey

Associate Professor of Art – Photography

Leah Sobsey’s multidisciplinary photographic practice reaches into the fields of science, design, installation and textile. Sobsey is also Associate Professor of Photography, curator, and Director of the Gatewood Gallery at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro.

Her photo-based work explores the natural world through archives and taxonomies with an experimental and materials-based approach to the medium of photography. Often partnering with scientists, she uses historical, scientific, and artistic lens, to understand the connection to plant and animal loss as one indication of the larger climatological perils we face as a species. She is interested in creating a dialog between art and science. She has spent the last decade-plus photographing specimens from National Park and University museum collections across the country to understand climate change and species loss. Sobsey works in 19th-century photographic processes combined with digital technology, specializing in plant-based printing techniques.

Sobsey shows nationally and internationally in galleries, public spaces, and museums; her current exhibition documenting species loss through Henry David Thoreau’s herbarium, In Search Of Thoreau’s Flowers, is open through November 2023 at The Harvard Museum of Natural History.
Her work is held in private and public collections across the country.

She has been an artist in residence at Virginia Center for the Arts, Dumbarton Oaks, Plant Humanities residency, Ayatana Research residency, Penland, Mother’s Milk, The National Park system, Vermont Studio Center, Hewnoaks artist colony, and Hambidge to name a few.

Her images have appeared in New, the Paris Review Daily,,, The Telegraph, and many more.

If you want to learn more about her work, you can visit her website:

Janet Allard portrait

Janet Allard

Professor of Playwriting, School of Theater

Janet Allard is an accomplished storyteller with a wide range of experience as a playwright, musical bookwriter/lyricist and video game writer. Much of her published work is in plays and musicals, published by Samuel French, Playscripts, Inc, Stage Partners, and Smith and Kraus. Her work has received over 400 productions worldwide. Awards include Two Jerome Fellowships at The Playwrights’ Center, three Macdowell Colony Fellowships, A North Carolina Arts Council Individual Artist Grant, and a Writer’s Residency Grant from NAMT. She has freelanced as a writer at Deck Nine Games. She is a Fulbright Fellow and has an M.F.A. in Playwriting from David Geffen School of Drama at Yale University and studied at NYU’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program.

If you want to learn more about her work, you can visit her website:

Nicole F. Scalissi

Nicole F. Scalissi

Assistant Professor of Art History

Nicole F. Scalissi, PhD (she/her) is an historian of contemporary art. Her research focuses on performance, intervention, and installation art that deals with issues of violence, Latinx/Afro-Latinx identity, and equity in the United States and at the border shared with Mexico/Aztlán. Her courses include histories of social practice and performance art, art & social justice, global contemporary art, contemporary art of the Americas, and US Latinx art history.

Dr. Scalissi is also a community-engaged scholar, and her classes often create public-facing projects with and for local communities, including designing accessible public art exhibitions using audio description, museum Instagram take-overs, and co-curating exhibitions at the Weatherspoon Art Museum.

If you want to learn more about her work, you can visit her website:

Interest in this program or have questions? Reach out and connect with Dr. Scalissi here at [email protected].