Artists as Citizens

Wednesday Oct 5th, 2016


Blog > Artists as Citizens



The YoungArts Salon Series brings together creative alumni voices and offers audiences an opportunity to engage with internationally renowned and emerging artists. On October 19, YoungArts will present an intimate discussion about art as activism, social practice and artists as citizens with acclaimed artists Teresita Fernandez, Mel Chin and Chat Travieso (2003 YoungArts winner in Visual Arts and U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts).

Art has always been a vehicle of change and in direct response to society by examining, interpreting and influencing social and political currents as well as historical and cultural contexts. Hosted by President and CEO of the National YoungArts Foundation, Carolina García Jayaram, the Salon will examine how artists create works relevant to a contemporary audience that go beyond the personal and enter a public realm, therefore contributing to a global conversation and potentially initiating change.

Artists around the world use their work for social and political activism, use art as a platform to address current affairs and invite their audiences to engage, and collaborate with communities to create works that resonate with the public. Works by the aforementioned panelists as well as artists such as Ai Weiwei, Doris Salcedo, Yto Barrdada, Thomas Hirschhorn, Theaster Gates, and Suzanne Lacy, challenge worldviews, promote activism and take art into the political sphere. Artists voices are powerful and via their respective mediums, whether painting, video installation, sculpture or public interventions, artists can connect to their audiences across social boundaries and language barriers. The subjects they address cover a wide range yet they resonate around the world as they deal with social injustice, racial discrimination, migration, gender identity, urban renewal and human encounters at large.

Please join us on October 19 at Ted’s at YoungArts in Miami for “Artists as Citizens.”


Introducing the participants:

Carolina García Jayaram was appointed President and CEO of the National YoungArts Foundation in June 2016, and has been an active member of the Miami, Chicago and New York arts communities for more than 15 years. Prior to joining YoungArts, she served as President and Chief Executive Officer of United States Artists (USA) and as Executive Director of the Chicago Artists Coalition (CAC), where she revitalized the 40-year-old organization into a vibrant resource with a mission to build a sustainable marketplace for entrepreneurial artists and creatives. Before moving to Chicago in 2009, she was the co-founder and Executive Director of Cannonball (formerly LegalArt) in Miami, which is dedicated to supporting artists, innovative forms of cultural production, and education to advance critical discourse and understanding of contemporary art practice. She also served as the Director of Literary Programs at PEN American Center in New York City.

Teresita Fernández is an artist best known for her prominent public sculptures and unconventional use of materials. Her work is characterized by an interest in perception and the psychology of looking. Fernández’s experiential, large-scale works are often inspired by a rethinking of the meaning of landscape and place, as well as by diverse historical and cultural references. Her sculptures present spectacular illusions that evoke natural phenomena and engage audiences in immersive art experiences and conceptual way-finding.

Mel Chin, born in Houston, Texas in 1951,is known for the broad range of approaches in his art, including works that require multi-disciplinary, collaborative teamwork and works that conjoin cross-cultural aesthetics with complex ideas. Chin’s art, which is both analytical and poetic, evades easy classification. He also insinuates art into unlikely places, including destroyed homes, toxic landfills, and even popular television, investigating how art can provoke greater social awareness and responsibility.

Chat Travieso is an artist, designer and educator who creates community-based public art projects that reinforce social bonds in our public spaces. Travieso creates playful and functional urban interventions and public art projects that build or reinforce social bonds in public spaces. Working closely with local residents, businesses, and community groups in various stages of a project, his work considers ways cities can be more open to communities that are often excluded from dominant systems of urban development by offering uplifting and visually striking responses to people’s everyday needs.