School of Art, Media, and Technology

TEACH-IN: Issues facing young artists in a gentrifying NYC this Friday

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Friday, October 21, 2016 at 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

The Bark Room (Orientation Room), Sheila C. Johnson Design Center

2 West 13th Street, Room M101, New York, NY 10011

For artists wishing to make a life and career in New York City, high rents for living and working spaces are an enormous obstacle. The city’s neighborhoods are changing at a rapid pace. As commercial and residential rents rise, long-time communities—middle and low-income residents, people of color, and mom & pop stores—are increasingly displaced. Meanwhile, in manufacturing zones, rising rents are threatening the existence of both job-producing manufacturers and working spaces for artists.

 Action by gilf! and BAMN (By Any Means Necessary), image by Andy Kim for the Daily News.

Action by gilf! and BAMN (By Any Means Necessary), image by Andy Kim for the Daily News.

For this important conversation, Parsons Fine Arts faculty Peter Postovsky invites guest panelists to lead discussion amongst students and faculty in order to address:

• The complex relationship between artists and gentrification. The art critic Ben Davis, who is working on a book on gentrification, will lead this discussion.

• Challenges of living in this city: a discussion of the changing real estate landscape in NYC, and a rundown of some current, pressing issues such as the ongoing rezoning of neighborhoods; legislation in the city council affecting commercial leases; the zoning of manufacturing areas (including the proposed BQX trolley); creative/tech’s incursion into industrial spaces; and the upcoming mayoral Cultural Plan. Artists Jenny Dubnau and Scott Braun of ASAP will discuss these matters.

• How can artists start to break free from the dynamics of gentrification? What are some of the issues that arise when artists—many of whom are white—move into communities of color? How can artists address the connection between real estate and the arts? How can white artists make connections with artists of color who already live and work in neighborhoods? Bronx-based artist Alicia Grullon and Bronx activist Wanda Salamon of Mothers on the Move will engage with these issues.

• Activist resources for staying in this city and changing these patterns. What efforts are happening now in NYC to preserve affordable workspace? Recent and ongoing efforts like REIC and land trusts; the fight to pass the SBJSA (commercial lease legislation for manufacturing and art studios); critiquing big real estate’s connections with the art world, and other things artists can actually do.

About the speakers:

Ben Davis is an art critic living and working in New York City. He is the author of 9.5 Theses on Art and Class (Haymarket, 2013). He is currently National Art Critic for Artnet News, and was formerly executive editor of and an editor of The Elements of Architecture, the catalogue of the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale. His writings have appeared in AdbustersThe Brooklyn Rail, e-Flux Journal, FriezeNew YorkThe New York Times,, The Village Voice, and many other venues.

Alicia Grullón moves between performance, video, and photography, channeling her interdisciplinary approach towards critiques on the politics of presence, an argument for the inclusion of disenfranchised communities in political and social spheres. She received a BFA from New York University and an MFA from the State University of New York at New Paltz. Grullón’s works have been shown in numerous group exhibitions at venues including Franklin Furnace, the Bronx Museum of the Arts, BRIC House for Arts and Media, School of Visual Arts, El Museo del Barrio, Jamaica Flux 10, Performa 11, Old Stone House and Art in Odd Places. Grullon’s legislative social practice project PERCENT FOR GREEN, a functioning green bill created as art with Bronx residents contributed to her acting as one of the co-lead organizers in the Bronx for the People’s Climate March. Grullon is a fellow for Columbia University’s Wallach Art Gallery and Artist Catalyst for The Laundromat Project in the South Bronx. She is currently serving as a mentor for NYFA’s Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program in Social Practice Art.

Wanda Salaman is an Afro-Latina who moved from Puerto Rico to the arson-prone South Bronx as a child. Wanda Salaman responded to the conditions in her community by getting involved in organizing at age 14. She has worked in the Bronx ever since, for the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition and then Mothers on the Move (MOM), where in her first six months she organized 18 tenant associations and was promoted to Co-Director. Wanda has been Executive Director of MOM since 2005, developing low-income leadership and working on the interrelated issues of education, environment, housing and employment. She recently launched a pilot green jobs training program for public housing residents, which grew out of a residents’ year-long Community Visioning Process.

Scott Braun is a visual artist and socio-political activist from New York, NY, whose (often interactive) sculptures and installations engage the participant in an exploration of self in the context of society. He has been artist-in-residence at Anderson Ranch in Colorado and Haystack in Maine, and his work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions at the Queens Museum, Sideshow Gallery, The Rosenthal Library, the Benton/Nyce Gallery, the Pei-Ling Chen Sculpture Garden at Savannah College of Art and Design, Rye Arts Center gallery, and the American University Museum. Braun’s teaching experience includes a term as Lecturer in Sculpture at Yale School of Art (2009-2012), Faculty/Critic at New York School of Interior Design (2012-present), and visiting artist/critic at Parsons School of Design, University of the Arts, Lehigh University, and Pratt Institute. He holds a BA in Music from the Berklee College of Music in Boston, and an MFA in Studio Art and Social Practice from Queens College, CUNY in NY.

Jenny Dubnau is a Queens-based figurative painter. She grew up in New York City, and received her MFA from Yale in 1996. She has shown at PPOW and Black & White gallery in NYC, Bucheon gallery in San Francisco, Bernice Steinbaum gallery in Miami, and the Aldrich Museum in Connecticut. She is the recipient of various grants, including two Pollock-Krasner grants, a Guggenheim grant, and a NYFA grant. She is also a co-founder of the Artist Studio Affordability Project (ASAP), and is deeply concerned about the future of NYC and artists’ place in it.

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