Statement

When people and communities are armed with information, imagination, and the ability to engage with one another, we can change public will, our actions, and impacts. – Eric Friedenwald-Fishman

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Photo by Jerry Atnip for Nashville Arts Magazine

I am a socially engaged artist whose work addresses issues of individual and communal health, especially in such areas as neuroethics and bioethics. Taking inspiration from consumer driven changes in food and drug policies, it is my goal to create experiences in which we can imagine solutions and start a sea change. To this end I use a wide range of artistic approaches — from more formal, interactive sculpture and installation works such as How to Mistake Your __ for a __, Mend and For My Neighbor to more casual gatherings and games such as Wave and MeetUps.

As I research a particular issue and learn its best practices, I often involve stakeholders, creative workers and the community at large. Together, we construct creative strategies that leverage and work around existing social systems. For example, for The Enhancer Project I convened experts to publicly debate pharmacological neuroenhancement. For FLEX IT! I lobbied government agencies and museum trustees in the south to support social practice art. At Seed Space we widened the network of artists, curators and critics, worked with developers to secure free exhibition space, united area universities in support of a centralized location for student centered workshops, formed a community supported art program, ran moderated art talks and started a social practice residency program. Two hundred people joined me to make Vessels in churches, synagogues, medical centers, schools and community centers. Three hundred people made Shelter together in my studio, while also raising funds for social service agencies. The Sugar Series has informed a wide audience about the peril of excess and the capacity of the individual through making and giving away art. Regardless of the method and medium, the goal is to care, connect and change.

 

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