CommuniTea

Submitted by Robert Longyear

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Client: Ferguson / Florissant School District; Saint Louis, Missouri

Location: Saint Louis, MO, United States

Completion date: 2015

Artwork budget: $20,000

Project Team

Architect

Robert Longyear

Craft Alliance Center of Art + Design

Artist

Norleen Nosri

Craft Alliance Center of Art + Design

Industry Resource

Pat Sly

Emerson

Client

Jane Crawford

McClure High School

Artist

Cathy Williams

McClure Suth Berkeley High School

Industry Resource

Mike Pagano

KETC Channel 9 Saint Louis

Interior Designer

Steve Souder

Full Circle Design Works

Client

Dr. Dan Gutchewsky

Clayton High School

Public Art Agent

Boo McLoughlin

Craft Alliance Center of Art + Design

Industry Resource

Katy Peace

Craft Alliance Center of Art + Design

Overview

Craft Alliance Center of Art Design is co-producing a student-centric tea-set and performative ceremony to accommodate 5,000 participants. The experience is hatched in order to raise finer questions and guide youth (high school age children) perspectives into an aesthetically and socially thoughtful, durational (four-month, February-May 2015) program that talks about the current social paradigm in Saint Louis as defined by “Ferguson.”

Goals

Beginning this spring semester, Craft Alliance Center of Art Design has led a co-production and artist residency in two Ferguson/Florissant School District High Schools. Artist in Residence, Norleen Nosri is working work with the entire population of students, faculty, and administrators at McClure and McClure South Berkley High Schools (3,000). This residency, supported by the philanthropic efforts of Emerson is an evolutionary outgrowth of CA’s community engagement programs and Nosri’s experiential body of work titled, “CommuniTea.” We are living through a singular cultural moment in which the conventional relationship between art and the social world, and between artist and viewer, is being questioned and renegotiated. If social practice offers us anything, it openly asks not what kind of artist one wants to be, but what kind of person one wants to be and how one wants their work to operate in the world. Students will learn to work between two pedagogical poles - on one side, the singularity of artistic vision expressed as a commitment to a particular material or medium. On the other, a challenge to work collaboratively through social and participatory formats, often in a public context.

Process

The resulting collaborative work(s), centered in technical craft production will will be connected to our collective societal dynamics, and arguably function as research and development for cultural inquiry more broadly. The aim of the program is to allow students to see themselves as mediums, facilitators, conversationalists, and researchers. The aggregate power of their work, their questions, and their methodologies are to become bold and experimental forays into the territory of cultural co-production. These are ways of organizing, of working with others that reflect the most cutting edge think tanks and horizontal organizational structures. These methods have the potential to slice across disciplines, they hold lessons for the relevancy of cultural community development, and they push boundaries and question assumptions. It is at the intersections of these disciplines that students will realize a deeper understanding of the cultural transformations unfolding around us.

Additional Information

It is the aim of Craft Alliance Center of Art Design to contribute to the wide-ranging, international analysis and engagement with models of sociability and performativity in contemporary art. 1. Participatory and collaborative forms of artistic practice that explore and test art’s place outside of the gallery and the relationship between art and the public sphere. 2. Interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary work across academic/scholastic departments that looks at the artist (student) as facilitator of new routes and pathways into arts utility. 3. Cultural theory and the politics of representation, which covers the writing of cultural history, philosophy, art theory, and media/communications theory.