Announcing a new MFA in Social and Environmental Arts Practice led by Patrisse Cullors. Social and Environmental Arts Practice focuses on the intersection of art and activism. Specifically, it explores art in social change and the application of art as a change agent.
Patrisse Cullors is an artist, organizer and freedom fighter from Los Angeles, CA. The co-founder of Black Lives Matter, founder of Dignity and Power Now and founder/chair of Reform L.A. Jails, Cullors grew up in the San Fernando Valley witnessing firsthand the brutality of incarceration and overpolicing in her community. While several of her loved ones were taken by the state, Cullors began to push for law enforcement accountability and build spaces for healing and resilience through her artistic practice. For the last 20 years, Cullors has been on the frontlines of criminal justice reform and led Reform LA Jails’ “Yes on R” campaign, a ballot initiative that passed by a 71% landslide victory in March 2020.
Cullors completed her MFA at USC’s Roski School of Art and Design in May 2019. Her thesis performance, Respite, Reprieve, and Healing: An Evening of Cleansing explored themes such as exhaustion, restoration, and queer world building through ritual Black hair washing and procession movements as reviewed in a Los Angeles Times feature story. Click here to read Patrisse's full bio.
Take Classes with Leading Faculty
NOÉ E. OLIVAS (b. San Diego, California, USA) Noé Olivas is a Southern California-based artist. Through printmaking, sculpture, and performance, he investigates the poetics of labor. He considers the relationship between labor as it fits into the conceptions of femininity and masculinity in order to play with and reshape cultural references, narratives, myths, traditions, and objects, ultimately employing a new meaning. olivas received his MFA at University of Southern California in 2019 and BA in Visual Arts from the University of San Diego in 2013. He lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.
“I strongly believe in the words of Bell Hooks from her book Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope: “Education as the practice of freedom affirms healthy self-esteem in students as it promotes their capacity to be aware and live consciously. It teaches them to reflect and act in ways that further self-actualization, rather than conformity to the status quo.” As an artist and educator/healer, I look forward to putting hooks words into our daily practice collectively at Prescott MFA program,” said Noé Olivas.
STAR MONTANA Star Montana (1987.) is a photo-based artist who lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. She was born and raised in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of East Los Angeles, which is predominantly Mexican American and serves as the backdrop to much of her work. Her work has recently been exhibited at Charlie James Gallery (2019, 2016); Residency Art Gallery (2018); LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes (2018); Occidental College (2017); The Mexican Center for Culture and Cinematic Arts at the Mexican Consulate General of Mexico (2017); The Main Museum (2017); Ballroom Marfa (2017); and Vincent Price Art Museum (2016). Montana will be an artist-in-residence at the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation in 2020. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Art from the University of Southern California, a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from the School of Visual Arts, and an Associate of Arts in Photography from East Los Angeles College.
JAKE FREILICH Jake Freilich is an artist and educator who lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. With a practice primarily rooted in painting, his work questions paint’s capacity for performativity. Currently Program Director and Instructor for RAD in The Neighborhood at University of Southern California, Freilich has worked in studios including Lawrence Weiner Studio and Charles Ray Studio. He received his MFA at University of Southern California in 2019 and holds a BFA from Bard College.
ALEXANDRE DORRIZ Alexandre Dorriz is a research-based artist informed by interdisciplinary photographic approaches towards textile archiving and fieldwork practices, investigating auto-Orientalism, memory, optics, and fiber. Dorriz has previously exhibited at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, Visitor Welcome Center, Human Resources, ltd los angeles, and the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles. Dorriz’s writing has appeared in Temporary Art Review, and his work has been featured in the Los Angeles Review of Books Quarterly and reviewed in Artforum. Dorriz received his MFA at the University of Southern California and his BA at the University of California, Berkeley.
ANITA FERNÁNDEZ Dr. Fernández’s areas of teaching and research include social justice education, Ethnic Studies and teacher education. As a former high school English teacher in Tucson, she is devoted to preparing activist teachers who are both compassionate and critical and put their students’ lives at the center of their curriculum. Dr. Fernández is locally and nationally involved in community and professional organizations that focus on Latinx rights, social justice activism, critical pedagogy and transformative teacher education. Her publications include works in Equity & Excellence in Education, Multicultural Education, Journal of Praxis in Multicultural Education, Journal of Association of Mexican American Educators and Rethinking Schools among others.
Dr. Fernández is the Assistant Dean of Prescott College, Tucson, and the Director of the online graduate program in Social Justice and Community Organizing. She is the co-founder and Director of the Xicanx Institute for Teaching &Organizing (www.xicanoinstitute.org), an urban education consulting collective, and the co-founder of La Tierra Community School (www.latierracommunityschool.org), a K-8 Expeditionary Learning school in Prescott. Dr. Fernández is based in Tucson, AZ.
ZOE HAMMER Dr. Zoe Hammer's teaching and research centers on the political economy of globalization and the cultures of neoliberalism, contemporary theories of social inequality and social change, and Critical Cultural Studies, which emphasizes the role of culture in both challenging and reproducing social systems. Zoe views instruction as a collaboration between faculty and students and her primary teaching goal is to equip students with the capacity to participate in shaping their society critically, reflexively, ethically, and responsibly. Through her graduate course work and subsequent teaching and research, Zoe has developed an interdisciplinary, experiential approach to analyzing the societal role and every-day practices of political activism and community organizing in relation to the reproduction of social inequality. She is particularly interested in understanding the ways that power is organized through practice across national, economic, ethnic, racial, and gendered boundaries.
Evaluate nature, culture, society, and the environment through the arts
Featured Class - 3 Credits
This course introduces students to the fundamental theories and concepts of art as social and environmental practice. The course embarks students on developing a practice leading to a program capstone work to be presented at the end of the programs
Featured Class - 3 Credits
Taught by Patrisse Cullors, students will study performance as a competing practice in the traditional art market. Students take a close look at queer, trans, women, and artists of color who have used -and currently use performance art to challenge the art canon.
Featured Class - 12 Credits
Studio Practice work can be fulfilled through mentorships and/or online courses as approved in the degree plan. Students in the creative writing track can take all 12 practica credits in offered online courses or as mentorships in that field.