CONTESTED SPACE will explore the complex contemporary landscape–social, political, physical, and cultural–and the arts, ideas and artists that play a major role in shaping public understanding of the powerful dynamics of those spaces.
Historically, land was the great frontier and artists had a major role in shaping public understanding of those spaces. Now the frontiers of the past have become the “contested spaces” of the present. These new frontiers are no longer just physical space, but constantly assume new morphologies–local, national, transnational, geopolitical, social, cultural, physical, virtual. At this point in time the planet has been entirely mapped and Googled and has become a globalized space that conveys the fears and hopes of humankind. Cosmic space is being unraveled and mapped and we are closing all the distances that seemed, at one point, unimaginably vast. When distance has been abolished and time and space have shrunk, can art still explore new territory? Yes, it is the territory of “contested space” in which transformation and re-imagining begins and the arts play a central role.
Artists are powerful commentators and describers of these spaces, presenting diverse perspectives and creative ways of engagement. From the vast openness of the internet to the closed, restrictive space of a jail cell, from urban center to wildlife preserve, artists make art that offers new perspectives, challenges assumptions, presents new ideas, opens discourse and invites the audience to engage around important issues.
By presenting artists and their works through lectures, workshops, exhibitions, residencies, and arts education to the youth of our city and region, we use the arts to foster individual thinking, creative engagement, and community by focusing on the arts to offer new ways to participate in and navigate contemporary life. We invite artists who bring Native, Hispanic, Asian, and Anglo perspectives supporting the diversity and history of our region.
This programming reflects our mission to support and promote the arts as a positive social force by presenting artists whose work addresses important issues of social justice, cultural freedom and environmental responsibility. These programs support creation of and public access to art, nurture artists at all phases of their careers, and foster learning via the arts for people of all ages.