Updates on the Fall 2020 Semester
News and information about SVA’s plans for online instruction, and more.
Presented by CE Art & Activism

Art & Activism: Nourishing Conscious Communities

Sep 25, 2020; 12:00 pm - 7:00 pm
A graphic that reads "Art & Activism SVA NYC". The type is white and black and the background is red

SVA’s Division of Continuing Education is pleased to present its fourth annual Art & Activism event, which will be presented as an online symposium during Climate Week NYC. This symposium is dedicated to exploring the relationship between environmental and social injustices and how our talents and voices can organize to nourish conscious communities.


RSVP here and and use the same link to join us throughout the day! Zoom details will be emailed 24 hours prior to the start of the symposium.


12:00pm ET | Welcome and Introduction


12:05 – 1:05pm ET | Twisted, Woven, Tied

Artist Dianne Smith will lead an interactive workshop in knotting and weaving with upcycled materials. Drawing from historical, traditional and contemporary global practices, the event will highlight the potential for fiber arts to activate community bonding and connection across time and geography, using found materials as a medium. Participants are encouraged to source materials from within their homes, such as old textiles, clothing and linens, to be transformed into works of art. The workshop will include opportunities for discussion and sharing, and participants will learn strategies for introducing knotting and weaving as a collective practice in their own communities. Conversation on the resources available to artists, educators and community organizers will be facilitated by Materials for the Arts, New York City’s largest creative reuse center.


Suggested Supply List

  1. Upcycled materials: clothing, linen, towels, rope, string, textile, pantyhose, tights, paper, newspapers, brown butcher paper, grocery bags, ribbons, plastic grocery bags, etc.
  2. Scissors
  3. Bag, bin, etc. to keep fabric strips in


1:15 – 2:15pm ET | Art, Community & Sustainability

Art is and has always been one of the most powerful tools used to create change. Earl Thomason Jr., Co-Chair and Executive Director of Foundation of Freedom, will lead an interactive workshop exploring how and why artistic mediums should be utilized to organize, educate and empower communities in order to find and implement effective ways of addressing climate change and sustainability.


2:30 – 3:30pm ET | Design Thinking for Public Spaces

Climate designer Michele Washington (MFA 2011 Design Criticism) applies design thinking and user-centered interaction design solutions to address complex issues. In this workshop, she will deliver creative suggestions and propose meaningful outcomes to environmental and climate issues.


3:45 – 4:45pm ET | Food Philosophies with Pierre Thiam

Pierre Thiam is a chef, author and social activist best known for bringing West African cuisine to the global fine dining world. Thiam will present his experience and mission to share information about the hearty crop called fonio. Fonio, often compared to quinoa, is an ancient "miracle grain" native to Senegal that's nutritious, versatile and gluten-free. In this session, chef Pierre Thiam will share his passion for this grain and why he believes that cultivating fonio on an industrial scale could serve as an opportunity to transform societies on a global scale.


5:00 – 5:45pm ET | From Song to Animation: Organizations Creating Change Through Art

A big reveal from Solar One! This not-for-profit organization's mission is to design and deliver innovative education, training and technical assistance that fosters sustainability and resiliency in diverse urban environments. Join to learn about the exciting creative collaboration between Solar One and SVA's Division of Continuing Education.


6:00 – 7:00pm ET | Climate Justice & Designing the Future

In this panel discussion, the symposium's closing event, the featured speakers of Art & Activism 2020—Smith, Thiam, Thomason and Washington—will discuss how their visions address climate justice, provide an opportunity to galvanize community and forge a dedicated path into the future. Moderated by media personality and Continuing Education faculty member Valerie Smaldone.


Free and open to the public