Public Art in the Americas: Visualizing Local Knowledge
We gain knowledge of our surroundings, establish local identity and recognize others' identities through visual experiences. Not only through the media but also in our day to day experiences, the visual determines much of the politics of public space, neighborhood branding, gangs and their territories, and our sense of belonging. This seminar will explore alternative visual culture, outside of museums and conventional arts institutions, in cities in Latin America and the US. The seminar activities will expose students to dynamic arts initiatives such as Philadelphia's 3000 public murals painted by community groups, creative writing distributed on public transportation, and alternative publishers who bind their books in hand-painted recycled cardboard. Many of these projects support environmental sustainability and rely on the public to join in their design and implementation. We will take advantage of our own local urban surroundings to experience public arts initiatives. The course's highlight will be a field trip around New Brunswick to tour some of the city's murals and graffiti art.