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Graduate Public Practice

Engage the world.

The program, under the leadership of Suzanne Lacy, the renowned artist, educator, theorist of socially engaged public art and author, prepares students to re-invent traditional media-specific ways of thinking about art making. Los Angeles--global center of public practices by artists and collaborative groups--is its dynamic setting, with studios in the historic 18th Street Art Center. From the beginning, students are encouraged to find themselves as emerging professionals within this vast human and spatial geography.

Interview with Suzanne Lacy about the Crystal Quilt project at Tate Tanks, fall 2012

The only educational program in the Southern California region dedicated exclusively to providing artists with advanced skills for working in the public sphere, the Program focuses on both collaborative and individual art production. Entering students design a unique educational plan to fit their interests, with the latitude to experience both community and studio contexts. Public practice – also called participatory art, community art, public art, situational art or social sculpture – consists of media including video, performance, drawing, photography, sculpture and web-based projects. Students start with a collaborative project - one that results in an exhibition or public presentation - led by artists such as Andrea Bowers, Suzanne Lacy and Rick Lowe.Tthey meet and interact with recognized professionals such as Mel Chin and Sam Durant, and network with artists, critics and curators from around the world. Students travel individually or as a group as part of their curriculum, exploring cultures as diverse as a small farming town in the San Joaquin Valley or hurricane-ravaged New Orleans.

Each student’s learning plan includes a menu of skills classes in different art media, theories of public practice, and internships with artists such as Kim Abeles. Their self-defined curriculum provides opportunities for one-on-one studies with artists such as Rachel Rosenthal, and L.A. Urban Rangers. Students can take classes in other graduate programs - writing, fine arts, and graphic design, and in other departments across the College. The full range of Otis shops, faculty, courses, and library is available for students' production.

Visiting artists and faculty provide rigorous and supportive one-on-one and group critiques. Recent visitors have included Mel Chin, Nav Haq, Sally Tallant, Martha Rosler, Future Farmers, Nao Bustamante, Dolores Huerta, Gronk, Fritz Haeg, Karen Moss, Carol Stakenas, Olga Koumoundoros, L.A. Urban Rangers, Edgar Arceneaux, and S.A. Bachman. more information on visitors

Students worked in Laton, California, supported by a planning grant from the Ford Foundation, watch the video. Recent L.A. exhibitions include "Love in a Cemetery" at the 18th St Arts Center, and "Actions and Conversations" at the Municipal Art Gallery, Barnsdall Park.

Contact program coordinator Consuelo Velasco Montoya: cvelasco@otis.edu or 310 846-2610.
For admissions inquiries, contact admissions@otis.edu or 310 665-6800.
Online application