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Addressing the Pressing Social Issues of Our Time: Foreman ’17 at Santa Fe Arts Institute in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Pictured is Jane Foreman, ’17, working at the Santa Fe Art Institute (SFAI). She is pictured here with Antioch College Trustee Joyce Idema ’57, who is also president of the board at SFAI.

This spring I’m living and working at the Santa Fe Art Institute, a non-profit arts organization in Santa Fe, NM whose mission statement asks a critical question: “How can SFAI cultivate creative practices (from fine art to design to urban planning and beyond), engage with diverse communities and address the most pressing social issues of our time?” The two primary organs of SFAI that do this are the residency program, through year-long thematic residency cycles that “address pertinent questions facing diverse local and global communities,” and the education program, which consists of a large range of educational efforts from extended workshops within incarceration facilities to traveling exhibitions. My place within SFAI falls somewhere between these two departments.

As the Special Projects Associate, I work on projects that don’t fit firmly in either the residency program or the education program or lie completely outside of them. Right now, my primary work is developing an art lending program. This program, called SFAI Works: Art Loan, aims to increase meaningful and educational access to contemporary art in Northern New Mexico though a collection of mobile art crates packed with anywhere from four to twelve pieces of original art created by past artists in residence at SFAI. What’s been exciting for me so far is the wide range of work required to get the art loan program running. Since I arrived in April, I’ve done everything from photographing and cataloging art to writing loan agreements and contracts to contacting organizations about the possibility of hosting one of our art crates.

What’s great about working at SFAI is the opportunity to assist artists and organizations who are doing the same type of work that I read about in my classes. SFAI as an institution is relentlessly bent on social practice, and by working here I not only get to interact with amazing people working to creatively solve critical social problems, I get to help them do it. It’s one thing to be in political economy class researching and analyzing the ways urban design is impacted by economics, but it’s something totally different to be concretely supporting the work done by design activists and teachers, like those involved in SFAI’s Design Workshop this summer, to use design itself to shift social realities.

The picture of me in this post is with Joyce Idema, ’57. Joyce is president of the board at SFAI and an Antioch College Trustee. We are pictured in the SFAI gallery. The work that we’re standing in front of is part of a traveling project by Smudge Studio called Look Only At The Movement, which examines the present and asks questions about the future of humanity’s relationship with nuclear waste.

I’ve learned a lot about the dismal state of nuclear waste disposal through this exhibition, which draws attention to the very pressing design issues involved in the increasingly relevant search for safe disposal methods for leftover radioactive material, as we currently have no solution. In all, I’m very glad to be able to take part in the innovative work that SFAI is doing to support and promote the work of people like Jamie Kruse and Elizabeth Ellsworth of smudge studio, as it provides a great opportunity to see the ways that my frequently-abstract studies are physically and concretely explored and manifested.

Written by

<p>Jane Foreman is a member of Antioch College's class of 2017, pursuing a self-designed major in Art Theory, Culture, and Politics. She currently serves as Layout Editor for The Antioch Record, Antioch College's student-run community newspaper. In her time at Antioch she has been involved in various community governance and development projects, from helping to restart The Antioch Record after the College's reopening, to serving as an elected student representative on Community Council and working with Diversity Committee to develop a publication welcoming incoming community members to campus conversations around social justice. </p>

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