Wesley Fawcett Creigh lives and works in Tucson, Arizona. In 2008 she completed her Bachelor’s Degree at Prescott College in the self-designed major of Public Art with an Emphasis on Social Impact. Since this time she has engaged in numerous social practice projects, two of which were funded by the Tucson Pima Arts Council through their P.L.A.C.E. Initiative grant program.
Most recently, she has employed animation and multi-media installation for her artwork and received a grant in 2016 from the Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona for an animation and installation project that examines the complexity of violence on the US/Mexico border. This project, entitled “Of Rocks and Bullets: An Animated Discourse” has been included in exhibitions at Exploded View MicroCinema, Museo de Arte Nogales, and at MOCA Tucson. Her collaborative video work, “Prototype”, was screened at MOCA Tucson in November 2017. “Prototype” also received an official selection into the 2018 WomenCinemakers Biennale. She has been awarded grants and residencies from organizations such as the Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona, The Puffin Foundation, Arizona Commission on the Arts, Springboard for the Arts, and Santa Fe Art Institute.
I am most interested in presenting ideas in a way that will make viewers feel invested in the questions the work raises. Incorporating processes that allow people to become a part of the work itself enables the audience to relate to my work in a more personal way. Sometimes this process involves the audience generating a whole new work with their collective responses. I have explored this approach with digital and tactile methods of recording audience reaction. Other times, I will build a completed work utilizing responses I collect from community groups allowing their input to dictate certain parameters of my work’s content. I explore political and social topics in my work and strive to engage communities in dialogue or reflection surrounding timely issues.
I think opening up the process to audience or community participation highlights an intriguing intersection of investment and accountability. I build projects that can elicit a viewer’s sense of engagement and personal investment while also holding them accountable for their responses because those responses become part of a collective artwork. I maintain the importance of accountability in an age where anonymity is easily gained via digital media.
At my foundation is the belief in the intrinsic power of art to build and heal communities. Invoking personal narratives to provoke compassion for other human beings is at the core of my practice.
Bringing these narratives to the forefront of the public’s awareness fosters social and political movement that addresses societal inequalities and injustices. Contributions to the larger discourse are, in turn, contributions to progress.
The SFAI Equal Justice residency afforded me an incredible opportunity for time and space which I used preparing for my most recent exhibition of work (The Friendship Committee*), making new connections with other artists, and laying the groundwork for my next big project (Love in the Time of Migra*). I felt extremely supported by the program and all of the staff who keep it in motion as well as all the other artists I met during my 6 weeks at the institute. The fact that all of us were brought together via our own unique approaches to the theme, Equal Justice, made the experience that much richer. I was so inspired by all the distinct practices represented at the institute and yet each one was rooted in similar concepts and intentions. I left feeling hopeful, inspired, and motivated to continue my work.
* Visit these pages on my website, www.wesleyfawcettcreigh.com, to explore these two projects which were the focus of my residency time.