Panhandling won’t look the same next week as students from the University of Utah’s Art, Action and the Environment course celebrate Earth Day and take to the streets with recycled cardboard signs and original photos of Utah landscapes “begging” for more action on climate change.

(Courtesy photo)

(Courtesy photo)

Led by Assistant Professor Wendy Wischer, these students all hail from different disciplines on campus (from business to the arts, and from mechanical engineering to the social and behavioral sciences) and have come together this semester to present a socially engaged art event entitled “Rethink, Reconnect, Rejuvenate.”  

“What we want,” said participating student Sabrina Stein “is for people to reflect on their daily lives and their relationships with nature.”

On Monday, April 20 from 1-3 p.m., these students along with a handful of volunteers will take their places in strategic locations across the University of Utah’s campus to communicate the need for us all to rethink, reconnect, and rejuvenate our relationships with nature – particularly our water, air, and our natural landscapes.  

And, on Earth Day, Wednesday, April 23 from 1-3 p.m., these same students will move off campus and into the Salt Lake City valley to share their message more broadly.

“With this project, the students have entered the difficult-to-define practice of socially engaged art,” said Assistant Professor Wischer. “Their goal is to create a meaningful art experience that promotes social change with locally-specific environmental issues and active engagement with the local community.  The intention is to use the limitless nature of art to promote creative ways of learning and new ways of discovering solutions.”

Dates and Locations:

  • April 20, 1pm-3pm @ University of Utah | Marriott Library Plaza, the Hyper Highway below the Student Life Center, the plaza between the Union and the Student Services Building, at the top of Presidents Circle, the area between the UMFA and the Business School, the area between Orson Spencer Hall and the Spencer Fox Eccles Business Building, at the underpass to stadium parking lot
  • April 22 (Earth Day), 1pm-3pm @ Salt Lake City |   North Temple at State, 400 S at Main St., 400 S at 200 E, 400 S and 600 E, Trolley Square, the Trax stop at Rice Eccles Stadium

About the Artists:

The honors class, Art, Action, and the Environment came together to design a final project reminding the citizens of Salt Lake of the trifecta of environmental issues in the valley: air quality, water sources, and nature preservation.

Art, Action, and the Environment is offered through the Honors College at the University of Utah. As part of the class students interact with the environment and express their concerns through artistic means. The students range from all different backgrounds across campus, including the College of Health, the College of Fine Arts, the College of Social and Behavioral Science, David Eccles School of Business, and the College of Engineering.

  • Wendy Wischer: Assistant Professor Sculpture Intermedia
  • Justin Watson: MFA Student in Sculpture Intermedia
  • Janey Heyman: Janey is studying Parks, Recreation, and Tourism and Environmental and Sustainability Studies
  • Jacob Hopkins: Jacob is studying Mechanical Engineering
  • Kelly O’Neill: Kelly is studying Photography
  • Sloan Russell: Sloan is studying Business Marketing and Portuguese
  • Sabrina Stein: Sabrina is studying Parks, Recreation, and Tourism

For more information on the project or for resources and information on protecting our environment, visit ecoart.art.utah.edu.

Posted
AuthorThe Finer Points

For Department of Modern Dance Visiting Assistant Professor A’Keitha Carey, dance is more than a vehicle for entertainment; it’s a way to tell stories and stay connected to your roots. It’s also an agent for making societal change, which is an idea she explores in her doctoral research. As part of her exploration, she is launching her series Fusion: Art & Social Justice on April 21 and 22 at the University of Utah.

Dr. Ananya Chatterjea / Photo courtesy Dr. Chatterjea

Carey describes her research process as “rooted in ideas concerning ‘identity’ and ‘citizenship,’ questioning how marginalized bodies in colonized spaces maintain their sense of identity, whether that is expressed through language, movement, food, dress, adornment, etc. For me, the abject body, the citizen from below and beneath, one who challenges the racial, sexual, gender, and/or ethnic norm are whom I am interested in. Those voices that are silenced due to them being deemed as ‘other’ or being silenced due to their subjugated knowledge or their interest in wanting to express this identity moniker, these are the voices that my work speaks to and for.”

Assistant Professor A’Keitha Carey

Assistant Professor A’Keitha Carey

Because of this, it is no surprise that while she was a student, Carey became interested in renowned arts activist Dr. Ananya Chatterjea. Dr. Chatterjea is a Professor of Theatre Arts & Dance at the University of Minnesota, and Artistic Director of Ananya Dance Theatre.

“As a student, I read her work and become even more familiar with her in my doctoral program; she is truly a wonderful model, illustrating how theory and practice coalesce producing educational, transformative, and transgressive works that express her theme of A Call to Action,” Carey said. “Dr. Chatterjea is an agent of change, one who’s work is premised on similar principles as mine. We are both interested in this idea of dialogue and how these conversations do in fact provide opportunities for people to ‘stand together in difference.’”

To launch Fusion: Art & Social Justice, Carey has arranged for Dr. Chatterjea to visit the University of Utah for two separate events, a performance and a lecture. Both events are free and open to the public.

Live Performance
Tuesday, April 21
9:40 – 11:35 am
Hayes Christensen Theatre
Marriott Center for Dance

Lecture: Thoughts on Contemporary Dance
Wednesday, April 22
2 – 3:20 pm
Hoopes Seminar Room
Marriott Library 2130N

“Through her artistry that proffers social justice and activism as recurring themes, Dr. Chatterjea reinscribes her mission of People, Power, Dances of Transformation. I am beyond privileged to have this national and international luminary at the University to share, facilitate, and inspire us all,” said Carey. 

Posted
AuthorThe Finer Points

They say it takes a village to raise a child. To put on a theatre production, it takes at least that. Megan Jensen, a senior in the Performing Arts Design Program with a Costume Design Emphasis and an Art History minor, knows all about that. Jensen served as Costume Designer for the Department of Theatre’s current production, “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.” For several years, she also worked as the wardrobe supervisor at the Babcock Theatre and as a dresser in the wardrobe department at Pioneer Theatre Company.

Photo Courtesy of Department of Theatre

Photo Courtesy of Department of Theatre

Taking responsibility to help tell the story, Jensen explained that designing the appearances of performers on stage visually conveys information about characters’ personalities, circumstances, time period, socio-economic status, etc. to an audience.

“I had never heard of costume design, so I started researching it and just fell in love with it because it involves research, psychology, history, clothing, and art—all things that I have always enjoyed,” Jensen said.

A sampling of costume design by Megan Jensen for "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum."

A sampling of costume design by Megan Jensen for "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum."

Most university theatre departments have graduate students design their shows, but the Department of Theatre uses undergraduates to design shows instead. “I feel lucky to be getting hands-on practical experience so early in my career. We’re also lucky because of the Department’s working relationship with Pioneer Theatre Company, a professional regional company-in-residence on our campus. I have been able to work backstage there. It is so valuable and educational to see firsthand how a professional production runs and to interact with and learn from professionals,” Jensen said.

Additional costume design by Megan Jensen. 

Additional costume design by Megan Jensen. 

Having designed last semester’s “The Threepenny Opera,” as well as other design credits from her time in the Department, Jensen’s current work graces the stage of the Babcock Theatre now through April 19. 

Join us for a special 1-hour behind-the-scenes animation presentation moderated by Department of Film & Media Arts Chair, Kevin Hanson, with director, Pete Docter, and producer, Jonas Rivera

Thursday, April 23
2 PM-3 PM
Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA)
Dumke Auditorium
410 Campus Center Drive, SLC, 84112
Doors open at 1:30 PM
Seating is limited, please arrive early

"Inside Out" (Courtesy of Pixar)

"Inside Out" (Courtesy of Pixar)

Pete Docter (director) is the Oscar®-winning director of “Monsters, Inc.” and “Up,” and vice president, creative, at Pixar Animation Studios. Docter served as supervising animator for “Toy Story,” Pixar’s first full-length animated feature film. He has been nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Animated Feature Winner “Up” and nominee “Monster’s, Inc.,” and Best Original Screenplay for “Up” and “Wall•E.” Docter is the director of the upcoming “Inside Out,” in theaters June 19, which he co-wrote with Josh Cooley.

Jonas Rivera (producer) joined Pixar Animation Studios in 1994 to work on “Tory Story” as the Studio first and only intern at the time. He advanced roles in production on almost every subsequent Pixar feature film until becoming producer of the studio’s Oscar-winning film “Up.” Most recently, Rivera has reteamed with “Up” director, Pete Docter, for Pixar’s next original feature film, “Inside Out,” set to release June 19.