Edinboro hosts world renowned speaker, regional art collective virtual events


Edinboro hosts world renowned speaker, regional art collective virtual events

Edinboro University is hosting nationally renowned arts and culture writer Aruna D’Souza on Sept. 9 at 5:30 p.m.

D’Souza will present a public conversation, “Against Empathy: The Value of Mistranslation in Art and Life,” which will be followed by a discussion with Edinboro professor Dr. Charlotte H. Wellman with Erie educator Cheryl Rush Dix.

Edinboro faculty members Dr. Leslie C. Sotomayor (art education) and Dr. Rhonda Matthews (political science) will also lend their expertise during this free event, which will be available for livestream on Edinboro’s YouTube channel.

Additionally, Edinboro is joining nine other institutions for the all-virtual SculptureX (SX) 2020 Symposium: Art & Agency, scheduled for Sept. 16-19. Free and open to the public, registration is limited to 500 attendees through the SculptureX website.

“As we conclude our University's celebratory ART100 year, it is fitting that Edinboro, long known throughout the Commonwealth for its arts excellence, is serving as the virtual center of SX 2020: Art & Agency,” said Lisa Austin, a professor at Edinboro and director of the Bruce Gallery.

This summer, D’Souza’s book inspired Edinboro faculty to create an art and agency resources and curriculum document. Through a series of case studies and related assignments, this new curriculum by Sotomayor and Wellman argues for the political, transformative power of art as an agent for social change.

Their resulting curriculum, formatted and designed by Edinboro faculty member Shelle Barron, is on display in the University’s Bruce Gallery as a part of the 2020 Faculty Show and will soon be available to download at art.edinboro.edu.

D’Souza’s essays have appeared regularly in the art criticism website 4Columns, where she is an editorial advisory board member. She has also been published in the Wall Street Journal, CNN, Art News and Art in America.

Through her writing, D’Souza expressed her interest in how art is one of many vehicles that shapes thinking, conscious or not.

“Writing is and has always been a powerful tool for political transformation in the West,” she said. “The best compliment I receive about the book is that someone sat down and read it the whole way through in a day – that means I’ve made it readable and interesting enough to hold someone’s attention.”

SX 2020: Art & Agency will explore the ways that artists are establishing contemporary sculpture practices that connect and interact broadly, often bypassing disciplinary, even national boundaries in their attempts to reshape the world.

The symposium will feature four days of presentations, panel discussions and workshops with more than two dozen artists, educators and arts professionals, including D’Souza; Soheila Azadi, performance artist; Madeline Schwartzman, writer, filmmaker and architect; Kilolo Luckett, independent curator; Marvin Toure’, artist; Kyle Dancewicz, director of SculptureCenter in New York; Kenneth Tam, artist; Baseera Khan, artist; Sean Derry and Sharon Massey, artist-educators; Angie Seykora, Creighton University art professor; J. Morgan Puett, founder of Mildred’s Lane in Beach Lake; and Paula Burleigh, Brooklyn Rail art critic and Allegheny College Gallery director.

Additionally, faculty and arts professionals are offering a limited number of virtual one-on-one mentoring sessions and group critiques to undergraduate and graduate students.

Founded in 2010 by CIVITAS, the Cleveland Institute of Art, Edinboro University, the Erie Art Museum, and Cleveland’s The Sculpture Center, SX, or “sculpture exchange,” is a teaching and networking platform designed to catalyze collaborations among educational and art institutions in Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, Indiana, West Virginia, western New York, western Pennsylvania and Ontario.

Over the past decade, juried student and professional SX exhibitions have been held in more than a dozen university and commercial settings. However, due to the pandemic, gallery shows have been postponed until 2021. Beyond the symposia and exhibitions, SX fosters an “exchange” of expertise in design, art education, art history, criticism and curatorial practice between regional institutions through visiting speakers, workshops, exhibitions and other events.

SX 2020: Art and Agency will be streamed to registered participants from Sept. 16-19 as free Zoom Webinars, courtesy of Edinboro University. Register at the SX 2020 website.

Follow all the events this year from the Bruce Gallery on Instagram @BruceGallery.EU.