Civic Engagement Series: 2020-2021

The Civic Engagement Series invites contemporary artists, grassroots organizers, and local electoral candidates into dialogue around pressing sociocultural issues to investigate how our collective imagination can foster progressive change. Through a series of experimental events shaped by the invited artists and the Pratt Fine Arts’ Fellow in Civic Engagement Amy Khoshbin, the CES focuses on the power of taking action at the local level, both at the polls and in the streets. From topics from abolition to mutual aid to ritual healing, the CES uses creative and performative strategies to instigate action within the Pratt community and beyond.

Political Intimacy

Exhibition: Pratt Manhattan Gallery (Windows)
April 29 – June 22, 2021
144 West 14th Street
New York, NY 10011 

ONLINE Program Launch: April 29th, 7pm

Curated by Amy Khoshbin , Fine Arts Civic Engagement Fellow, with Brooklyn Engaged: Alexis Laneuville, Erin Benard, Malena Ramsey, Taylor Dean, Zichen “Oliver” Yuan

A collaboration with Recess: Assembly artists and peer leaders Saint Forza, Tyra Gibbs, Princess Kelly, Geremia Romain and Darrell Santana.

Political Intimacy demystifies and humanizes the process of running for local office through a series of video interviews between local political candidates and representatives, Recess: Assembly participants, and Pratt Institute students. Recess: Assembly is an artist-led alternative to incarceration program offering long-term, paid training, and pathways to creative employment for court-involved youth. 

An aligned exhibition at Pratt Manhattan Gallery showcases the final interview video, a seed paper printmaking project, and a series of contemporary artists all addressing issues at the citywide level that were determined to be the most pressing by participants of the project. The handmade seed paper print project was co-created by Recess: Assembly participants and Pratt students, aiming to engage the public while empowering and inspiring youth to push for radical change in our electoral system from the ground up. These prints will be planted at the end of the exhibition, giving back to our community in the form of flowers, fruits, and vegetables.

The opening digital launch event on April 29, 2021 featured a dialogue, screening, and exhibition walkthrough with Pratt Fine Arts Civic Engagement Fellow Amy Khoshbin with Pratt’s Social Practice student group Brooklyn Engaged, Recess: Assembly artists and peer leaders with Recess Co-Director Shaun Leonardo, and Senator Jabari Brisport. 

Interviews with Candidates + Representatives: Crystal Hudson, Erik Bottcher, Jabari Brisport, Jumaane Williams, Kristin Richardson Jordan, Michael Hollingsworth,  Paperboy Prince,  Phara Souffrant Forrest

Artists on View at Pratt Manhattan Gallery: Elektra KB, Ellen Coleman Izzo, Matisse Robinson, Olek, Paperboy Prince, Sarah Kanu, Steve Powers, The Brothers Sick (Ezra and Noah Benus)

For more information please visit here

Past Events:

BLM Pratt Conference: Wide Awakes: Radical Joy + Spectacle, In partnership with with the Civic Engagement Series on Friday, February 19, Online, 3:30pm, event link and info here

Thursday, October 1, Online, 7:00PM
In partnership with Pratt Presents 

Register at Vote Forward to receive addresses to mail your postcards to! 
Here is the recording of the event.

The time is now! Join candidates, concerned citizens, artists, and organizations in a virtual event focused on voter registration, campaigns, and change strategies in an unprecedented Presidential Election year. 

Co-hosted by Amy Khoshbin, Pratt Fine Arts’ Civic Engagement Fellow, artist Karen Finley, NYU Arts Professor in Art and Public Policy, and with political strategist Maya Contreras, City Council Candidates; Chi Ossé, Kristin Richardson Jordan; and GOTV Organizations; Artists 4 Democracy, Plan Your Vote, Walk the Walk, & ADVICE 

Karen Finley and Amy Khoshbin uncover and share creative voter mobilization strategies. Join us for an interactive postcard-making session with Karen; hear from political strategist Maya Contreras and GOTV organizers, and meet two of the youngest City Council Candidates in NY.

Facing an unprecedented Presidential Election shrouded by concerns of voter suppression, how do we make sure everyone who can vote does vote? How do we continue to take our power to the ballot box beyond the Presidential election? You can begin by registering to vote by Oct 9 here!

Together we’ll get creative, take the pledge to VOTE, VOTE AGAIN and learn how to keep up the momentum into November and then forward onto local races, such as the NY City Council primary in June 2021!

Let’s make ART ACT and help each other create the change we want to see.

Image Credits: Karen Finley, ‘Vote 1,’ 2020. Painting 9 x 11.”  In rotating order: Amy Khoshbin;  Karen Finley;  Maya Contreras;  Kristin Richardson Jordan; Chi Ossé;  Anoka Faruqee from Walk the Walk + ADVICE;  Sarana Mehra and Kysa Johnson from Artists 4 Democrac

Watch the recording from the event here on Talks.Pratt to get informed about getting out the vote!

Thursday, October 22, Online, 7:00PM

Against Doom TV: Abolitionism + Electoral Politics
In collaboration with Old Stone House and Washington Park

Against Doom TV is an interactive show bringing together artists, organizers, and candidates to make dismantling harmful systems and imagining the future we want to live in more fun and radical together. Artists Amy Khoshbin and Macon Reed tap into the history of artists using the absurd and play to fight oppressive forces. We envision the future together and make it our reality.

In this episode, we tackle abolitionism and electoral politics as harm reduction. What does abolitionism mean? How can we use art, direct action, and policymaking to create a world without prisons, punishment, and other forms of control? And how do we use abolitionist artmaking and direct action to bring people to the polls and help us imagine a world beyond the current electoral systems we live in?

Speaking with City Council candidate Whitney Hu and Abolitionist organizers Derecka Purnell, Sophia Gurulé, Mon Mohapatra, and Ngozi Alston, Macon and Amy uncover answers in collaboration with a live online audience through segments including a polyamorous dating show!

Watch the recording from the event here on Talks.Pratt!

Thursday, November 12, Online, 7:00PM

Liberatory Healing, Mutual Aid, Moving Forward:

The 2020 Presidential Election will be over. We’ll be tired. And no matter who wins at the top, we’ll move through this moment together. Artist and healer Guadalupe Maravilla, Organizer and Pastor Juan Carlos Ruiz,  City Council Candidate Sandy Nurse, and Pratt Fine Arts’ Civic Engagement Fellow Amy Khoshbin will help reorient our energy towards the local– in our bodies, our communities, and our electoral races. Through healing rituals and dialogue, together we’ll consider what mutual aid can be in all senses. How do we create sustainable support systems for each other from cooperatives, to food distribution networks, to local electoral power, to keeping each other sane? Together we’ll build a future together at the local level no matter who wins the election at the national.