Whether the setting is schools or colleges or workplaces, we can use installation art initiatives as a way to enabling people to process what is occurring in our complex COVID world, now made more complex with racial tensions, economic uncertainty, elections and absence of stability across the globe.
Installation art involves many folks — masked and socially distanced to be sure as the art is created. And, many projects can involve people in their design, their location, their preparation and then their completion. And, the process can even be documented and preserved in a publication (online or in print).
Here is a link to a masks and mirrors project that can be adapted to a myriad of environments. While designed and described as an activity for children, it can be used by colleges and workplaces with minor adjustments.
The goal of these projects is to engage a wide range of individuals. They can help create community — in person and even online. And, they enable folks to express themselves but they can also see their expression in the context of other people’s efforts.
We need to find outlets to express ourselves. Art has filled that need across time and place and culture. Why not use art now to help students, faculty and employees process the deep uncertainties of our world? Art is a way of accessing feelings, using different parts of the human brain and messaging — powerfully and collectively.
Karen is an educator and an author. Prior to becoming a college president, she was a tenured law professor for two plus decades. Her academic areas of expertise include trauma, toxic stress, consumer finance, overindebtedness and asset building in low income communities. She currently serves as Senior Counsel at Finn Partners Company. From 2011 to 2013, She served (part and full time) as Senior Policy Advisor to the US Department of Education in Washington, DC. She was the Department's representative on the interagency task force charged with redesigning the transition assistance program for returning service members and their families. From 2006 to 2014, she was President of Southern Vermont College, a small, private, affordable, four-year college located in Bennington, VT. In Spring 2016, she was a visiting faculty member at Bennington College in VT. She also teaches part-time st Molly Stark Elementary School, also in Vt. She is also an Affiliate of the Penn Center for MSIs. She is the author of adult and children’s books, the most recent of which are titled Breakaway Learners (adult) and Lucy’s Dragon Quest. Karen holds a bachelor degree in English and Spanish from Smith College and Juris Doctor degree (JD) in Law from Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law.