A series of discussions about Socially Engaged Art in L.A.

SOC(i)AL: Art + People is a free, public series of roundtable discussions and weekend events that explores socially engaged art in Southern California from East to West.  Join the dialogue with SoCal artists, scholars, activists, and administrators and think about socially engaged art in relation to zoning, technology, ethics, food, ritual, performance, gentrification, museums, democracy, nature, and art support structures in the here-and-now.   Where is our collective dialogic imagination now?

More information can be found at


“Is LA the Creative or Anti-Creative City?”
USC Lewis Hall 101 (Downtown)
Tuesday, September 18 | 12-1:30pm
What are lines that our regulations and laws draw around the arts, specifically exploring the edges between art and the city? Do artists represent only gentrification for our communities? How does art, and how do artists add value to urban life? How should planners consider art and artists? How do planning regulations aid the creation of a creatively vibrant city that adds not only economic value but also cultural excitement to the lives of urban residents? An Urban Growth Seminar featuring Elizabeth Currid (USC Price) and Sarah Schrank (History, CSULB); the talk is moderated by David Sloane (USC Price).

“ARTISTS + INSTITUTIONS: What Is The Common Ground For Artists and Institutions?”
MAK Center at the Schindler House (West Hollywood)
Thursday, October 4 | 7-9pm
Salon-style discussions about collectives and artists-run initiatives, graduate programs in social and public practice, and museums dedicated to novel fulfillment of educational programming.  Dialog prompts, generated by well-known artists and institutions, will be presented to the public for an evening of critical discussion and lively debate, comfortably hosted within the historic rooms and gardens of the Schindler house. Organized by Kimberli Meyer (Mak Center), David Burns (Fallen Fruit), and Sara Daleiden (Los Angeles Urban Rangers), this discussion features artists Sarah Beadle, Notch, and Christina Sanchez. Support comes from Whole Foods Market.

Creative Time Summit Streaming from NYC
Metabolic Studio (Chinatown)
Friday, October 12 | 7am-3:30pm and Saturday, October 13 | 8am-3:30pm
Creative Time’s Summit will be livestreamed at Metabolic Stuidos with coffee, bagels, and seating.

“Can the Sidewalk be a Stage?”
Occidental College (Eagle Rock)
Thursday, October 18 | 7 pm
Speakers include Body City dance troupe, Tucker Neel, Stephen VanDyck, coordinated by artist Mary Beth Heffernan with Center with Community Based Learning and Department of Art History and Visual Arts. 

Public Matters Event: Market Makeover Smackdown
Ramirez Meat Market and Yash La Casa Market (East L.A.)
Saturday, October 20 | 10am-1pm
Fun, hands-on activities to help green the food desert and support sustainable change in the East L.A. food environment. Participants include Mike Blockstein and Reanne Estrada, Public Matters; students from School of Communications, New Media and Technology (CNMT) at Roosevelt High School, with UCLA-USC Center for Population Health and Health Disparities (CPHHD).

“What Can We Learn from Documenta 13?”
Otis Graduate Public Practice at 18th Street Art Center (Santa Monica)
Wednesday, October 24 | 7 pm
Speakers will present images and explore selected Documenta projects from the summer of 2012 throughout Kassel Germany. Speakers include Micol Hebron, Leslie Labowitz, and John Tain. The discussion will be moderated by Pilar Tompkins Rivas.

“Can Artists Heal Nature in LA?”
ACLA Park, La Culebera (Highland Park)
October 25 | 7 pm
15 artists address the question if artists can heal nature in L.A. in the format of a PechaKucha and roundtable discussion. Invited artists include Hadley Arnold, Allison Behrstock, Olivia Chumacero, Ron Finley, Anne Hars, Janet Owen Driggs, Jenny Price, Jane Tsong, Tricia Ward, and others. The discussion will be moderated by moderated by Stephanie Pincetl, Director of the California Center for Sustainable Communities.

Tongva Talk: a Cultural Campfire
Anabolic Monument, Native Plant Garden
Friday, November 2 | 7:30 pm
Tongva Talk: a Cultural Campfire is a time to gather around the fire and exchange knowledge and stories of indigenous history, culture and traditions. Organized monthly by Olivia Chumacero, this event highlights storytelling by Tongvans. Parking is available on Baker Street. Bring a blanket or chair to sit on the sand.  Join in potluck dinner by bringing your own utensils.

“Can artists use technology to enable communities?”
1637 N Spring St (Chinatown)
Saturday, November 3 | 4 pm
A roundtable discussion presented by Freewaves and UCLA IMLab at Chiparaki featuring Fabian Wagmister (UCLA IMLab), Pedro Joel Espinosa (IDEPSCA’s Mobile Voices), Vicki Callahan (USC IML), Micha Cardenas, Shagha Ariannia  (Long Story Short), Anne Bray (Freewaves), and others.

“Can LA Make Socially Engaged Art Happen?”
LACE (Hollywood)
Saturday, November 10 | 1-4pm
Roundtable Workshop to explore the possibilities and limits of current organizational models and curatorial strategies that support Social Engagement Art practices featuring Carol Stakenas (LACE), John Spiak (curator/director, Grand Central Art Center) and Kim Abeles (artist). From trust building and community process to  funding and timing, this session invites participants to grapple with fundamental questions —  How to sustain a project?   How to represent in the community?  How long will the work really take? Presented with the exhibition (Re-) Cycles of Paradise.

“How Can Artists and the Eastside Generate Change Together?
Self Help Graphics + School of the Echoes (Downtown)
Saturday, November 17 | 4 pm
Is the community or the artists the protagonists? What is the role of the artist as community and vice versa? How can Artists/community drive the visioning and planning of an arts district before it happens?  How do we move beyond participants, observers, beautifiers and “decorators” and into a more integrated part of development planning? A discussion with Leonardo Vilchis (Union de Vecinos), and Evonne Gallardo (Self Help Graphics), Dont Rhine (Ultra-Red  and  School of Echoes), Sandra de la Loza (artist), Alfred Fraijo Jr. (LURN: Leadership for Urban Renewal Now), Woodcraft Rangers, and Walt Senterfitt (Dept. of Public Health).

What does Art Have to Do with Occupy LA? Occupy-style:  everyone participates. Occupy training and discussions; History of LA Artists’ protest methods.
USC Roski School of Fine Art (Downtown)
Friday, November 30 | 3-5 pm
This discussion is coordinated by Rhea Anastas and A.L. Steiner, Connie Butler, and Noura Wedell.