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Art & Activism: We Will Not Be Silent

SVACE faculty, students come together to launch inaugural newsletter

SVA Continuing Education launched its inaugural newsletter, SVA ContinuEd, with “Art & Activism,” a live event at SVA Theatre. The event featured panelists at the top of their fields, a lively audience of students and faculty members, sushi and beverages, and a swag bag that any artist would seek out.

Two men stand outside a theatre. A boy stands off to the side.
"Art & Activism" at SVA Theatre, September 6, 2017 [Photos: Joseph Sinnott]
This is a table with information for a student art gallery. There is a stack of newspapers titles "Student Gallery" and a box of button pins that say "go gallery" and other text relating to art and activism.
A group picture of three people at a party.
Two girls are taking photo in the phone
drinks with friends
A  black rec-triangle table with a number of bags on it, and a cardboard box.
Young people attending an modern art opening.

The event began with introductory remarks from Valerie Smaldone, SVACE faculty member, and Joseph Cipri, Executive Director of SVACE. Panelists Steve Brodner, Ed Woodham, and Nancy Giles addressed the questions that many of us ask when engaged in politically-minded creativity. They spoke out on the importance of initiating projects, the value of public space, the virtue of reflection in an age of opinions, and the obligation against remaining silent.

A man in a grey suit standing at a SVA NYC podium.
"Art & Activism" panelists Steve Brodner, Ed Woodham, Nancy Giles, moderated by Valerie Smaldone. [Photos: Joseph Sinnott]
A man in a black suit speaking.
A powerful statement
Three older adults sitting in a row on wooden/cloth chairs. The women in the middle is holding a microphone.
A woman holding a microphone and sitting.

Steve Brodner discussed his early history of working with Steven Heller and courageously taking on figures all across the political spectrum. He also demonstrated how he has succeeded in making space for self-assigned cartoons and artwork, rather than waiting for commissions. This strategy has kept him at the front line of political cartoonists taking on the current administration and beyond. He also shared a useful acronym for maintaining a creative career: “OREO,” standing for “Observation, Relationships, Experience + Energy, Order.”

A man giving a lecture and was asked a rude question.
At "Art & Activism," Steve Brodner presented his artwork, history, and ideas. [Photos: Joseph Sinnott]
A man is giving a speech. There is an audience of people listening to him.
giving presentation
A man a white board smiles. An audience looks on.

Ed Woodham focused on the resource of public space, demonstrated by brief history of his own projects, performances completed through his Art in Odd Places, and public engagement fostered through SVA’s own Summer Residency Programs. He noted that most of these projects were produced and performed without permits, and wove themselves so tightly into the fabric of New York City that they eluded discernment about “where the art ends and where the City begins.”

At "Art & Activism," Ed Woodham presented his career in producing and teaching performance in public spaces. [Photos: Joseph Sinnott]
There is a crowd of people reviewing a screen with an image of a girl on it.
People attending a conference in a theater.

Nancy Giles reflected on the early days of her performing arts career, when she studied news articles as material for her improv performances. Confronting these stories - and the identity stereotypes imposed on her - helped Nancy develop an astute political outlook that she has shared on television. And while her opinions and commentary have attracted a national audience, she also speculated about the decline of reflection in this age of opinion saturation.

woman is giving a speech
At "Art & Activism," Nancy Giles spoke out about working across the performing arts and developing opinions. [Photos: Joseph Sinnott]

The panel closed with a call to arms from Steve Brodner: artists can not remain silent in the face of oppression, whether it be on the national stage or in a personal conversation.

Man is giving a speech on stage event
At "Art & Activism," a warm welcome from Joseph Cipri and Valerie Smaldone of SVACE. [Photos: Joseph Sinnott]
Woman giving a speech. She is wearing a dress.
sitting tow men or one women argument
Two men and a women sitting down with microphones.
Four people sitting in director's chairs on a stage.
people  talking
A woman singing in front of an audience
An event program, Four peoples are sitting in stage
People speaking on stage.

After the presentations and panel, guests continued the discussion in the SVA Theatre lobby, enjoying sushi, bites, and drinks catered by Henry Yang of Amami, Brooklyn. Numerous faculty members chatted with students, including Thorsten Roth, Elise Engler, Jess Mackta, and Felipe Galindo, and more, along with Gail Anderson, Director, Visual Arts Press.

Two men and a woman pose in front of an SVA NYC board. Woman wears gray and white scarf and green shirt. Men wearing glasses.
"Art & Activism" guests, including Gail Anderson, William V. Madison, Henry Yang, Thorsten Roth, and more. [Photos: Joseph Sinnott]
Smiling Couple
"Art & Activism" guests, ineluding W
A man and a woman taking a photograph
2 womans and a male
Friends having a drink together
smiling group photo
Men is holding the woman and taking photo
Four people pose at an event.
Friends in an art gallery

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