students in conversation

INTERDISCIPLINARY ART & SOCIAL PRACTICE MINOR

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.”


VISITING SOCIALLY ENGAGED ARTISTS

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


CURRICULUM

18 Credit Hours Needed to Complete the Minor

TAKE 3 OF THE FOLLOWING COURSES – REQUIRED (9 CH)

    • ARE 260 Art, Education and SocialPractice
    • VPA 324 The Arts For Social Change
    • AAD/ENT 202 Arts Administration & Entrepreneurship
    • VPA 528 Research Methods in SocialPractice (Capstone)

SELECT ANY 2 COURSES FROM ACROSS THE UNIVERSITY – (6 CH)

    • Yes, take any 2 courses from across the University. A rationale for each course (reason why you want to take the course and how it is in line with your research interests) must be provided and shared with Lee Walton, Director of Social Practice. Permission must be granted in advance of registering for the course.
    • PARTICIPATE IN 1 EXTERNSHIP (3 CH)
    • VPA 496 Independent Study / Directed Research

 


RESEARCH PROJECTS

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.”

Frontbird

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.


STUDENT WORK

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.


GREENSBORO PROJECT SPACE



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

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.

VICTORIA AND RON MILSTEIN FUND FOR SOCIAL PRACTICE


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.

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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.

Walton is a Professor of Art at the UNC at Greensboro and Director of Interdisciplinary Art and Social Practice and Director of Graduate 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.

In the Fall of 2019, Walton co-organized (with Pedro Lasch) Emergent Future: State of the Field, an iteration of Open Engagement, Annual Conference on Art and Social Practice which included three days of exchange hosted by Duke University, UNC Chapel Hill, and UNC Greensboro.