Critical Programs, Critical Ideas

Roya Amirsoleymani
Michael Farley
Darryl Ratcliff
Maria Sykes

How are organizations shaping their missions around focused and urgent issues? A sentiment often expressed in the field asks if we are engaging in too much criticality, or not enough? This panel and related break-out sessions aim to share organizations and artists work as case-studies by investigating their programs and hybrid organizational forms.

In a wide-range of locations - from rural to urban - the culture of art can be more about producing things or formal boundaries rather than addressing critical questions, risk-taking and experimentation through the manifestation of new forms. .

Then again, an overemphasis on critique can render work and projects inaccessible to the very audiences we might want to influence and change. In some contexts we can become so critical that we actually prevent the momentum of the creative act. How does criticality across camps consciously and unconsciously impact our field? What are new possibilities for traversing these systems? What are their explicit and implicit dynamics, and how are they overcome from the small scales in which we tend to operate?

What does creating space and opportunities for artists foster action that confronts issues facing our communities look like? How are small arts organizations strengthening the role of artists as leaders and partners in environmental activism and land use experimentation, science, technology, movement building, POC organizing, research, and social change?