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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

The Artist as Citizen: 3 Days of Art and Activism

The art workshops will be held from Jan. 28 through 30 in various places on campus and downtown. Photo Contributed

How can improv have a global impact? What does entrepreneurship have to do with activism? Learn the answers to these questions and more at an upcoming series of workshops titled “The Artist as Citizen: 3 Days with Artists Striving to End Poverty (ASTEP),” starting on Jan. 28. 

“The overall goal is to think about using arts in the process of activism and poverty alleviation — art as a mediating device to work with a community,” said Professor Monty Roper, Director of the Wilson Center for Innovation & Leadership. “We want to let students understand that entrepreneurship is not just about developing a new gadget but coming up with innovative ways to solve problems … that involves a whole range of skills that Grinnell students are learning … both in and out of the classroom.”

Among the three days of workshops are “Lead with your Art,” focusing on the skills practicing artists can utilize as educators, “Exiting the Comfort Zone,” examining cross-cultural exchange, and “Artistry, Activism, & Entrepreneurship,” centering around finding your personal mission. The workshops are the result of collaboration between outside organization ASTEP, the Grinnell College Office of Community Enhancement and Engagement, Grinnell’s Music Department, Artists@Grinnell, the Center for the Humanities and the Grinnell Area Arts Council. Applied Music Associate Guinevere McIntyre discovered ASTEP while performing with Kristen Chenoweth, whose musical director founded the organization.

“To me it is so clearly a fit for Grinnell College students who I see as so very involved in the world around them and active in making a positive impact on their community and beyond,” McIntyre wrote in an email to The S&B.

Forging connections between communities is central to ASTEP’s institutional mission to empower underserved youth through art and artistic mentorship. The organization aims to create safe spaces where individuals can rediscover their voices and their power. Their programs partner with schools and community organizations to reach young people affected by issues such as gun-violence and refugee status. ASTEP’s programming connects young individuals with volunteer artists such as Aaron Rossini, the teaching artist coming to Grinnell. Rossini is an actor, director, producer and teacher in New York and founder of the Fault Line Theatre company.

The three days of programming will run from Jan. 28 to Jan. 30 and are located throughout both the College and town of Grinnell. The workshops will culminate in a final Sharing and Reflection on Jan. 30 that includes a talkback between the creators and the audience. The workshops are free and open to all. McIntyre stressed that the workshops are accessible to a wide range of individuals.

“I [hope] to see participants who don’t necessarily consider [themselves] artists, but care about reaching out to those who are in need,” McIntyre said. “These participants could discover talents and creativity in themselves that they didn’t know they had.”

The art workshops will be held from Jan. 28 through 30 in various places on campus and downtown.
Photo Contributed
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