Education: Well-Known Author and Artist Suzanne Lacy to Speak at EMU
The 2012 John W. Porter Distinguished Lecture Series in Urban Education wraps up April 12 on the campus of Eastern Michigan University with a talk by internationally known author and artist Suzanne Lacy, chair of the Department of Graduate Public Practice at the Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles.
The subject of Lacy’s lecture is “The Oakland Projects,” in which she discusses her work with Oakland, California’s police force and the city’s youth gangs. It fits in perfectly with the theme of this year’s series, “Counternarratives: Hear the Voices of Activists Speaking,” according to Pamela K. Smith, an EMU Department of Teacher Education associate professor who chaired the Porter series selection committee.
“Suzanne is just incredible,” says Smith. “Her work is so prolific, so eclectic, but so engaging, and her writing on public art has been widely influential in the areas of performance art and political activism.”
Lacy’s extensive resume includes several academic positions at institutions such as California College for the Arts, where she was director of the Center for Fine Art and Public Life, and California State University at Monterey Bay, where she was a founding faculty member. Her work includes installations, video, and large-scale performances on social themes and urban issues. “The Crystal Quilt,” a performance that brought together 340 women and was broadcast on PBS, is one of her best-known projects.
Her publications include more than 60 articles on public art and Mapping the Terrain: New Genre Public Art, a volume she edited in 1995 that anticipated much contemporary writing on, and attitudes toward, politically relevant performance projects.
Despite Lacy’s many academic and creative credentials, Smith says the lecture is intended for a broad audience, whether students, activists, or members of the community at large.
“A lot of times when people think about schools and education, they only think about practical things such as testing or taxation or financial matters; they don’t take into account other factors in play like what we want for our communities, our kids and our world,” says Smith. “Our speakers are talking about a different way of doing things, challenging people to move past the how of education to also think about the what and the when.”
The lecture begins at 7:30 p.m. in EMU’s Pease Auditorium and ends at 9:30 following a Q&A session. A book raffle and signing will also be held. The lecture is free and open to the public, while undergraduate students can receive credit for attending.
For more information on the Porter Lecture Series, visit www.emich.edu/coe/porterchair or search for “Porter Lecture Series” on Facebook. Find Suzanne Lacy on the web at suzannelacy.com.