Brett Cook

Artist Power Center: Featured Artist

Brett Cook

The Artist Power Center is proud to feature our Senior Fellow, Brett Cook and “smARTpower/Sharing Culture”

Brett Cook is an artist and educator who uses his creative practice to transform outer and inner worlds of being. For over two decades, Cook has produced installations, exhibitions, curricula, and events widely across the United States, and internationally. His museum work features drawing, painting, photography, and elaborate installations that make intimately personal experiences universally accessible. His public projects typically involve community workshops and collaborative art, along with music, performance, and food to create a more fluid boundary between art making, daily life, and healing.

Teaching and public speaking are extensions of his social practice that involve communities in dialogue to generate experiences of reflection and insight. He has taught at all academic levels in a variety of subjects, and published in academic journals at the Maryland Institute College of Art, Columbia, and Harvard Universities. In 2009, he published Who Am I In This Picture: Amherst College Portraits with Wendy Ewald and Amherst College Press.

He has received numerous awards, including the Lehman Brady Visiting Professorship at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Richard C. Diebenkorn Fellowship at the San Francisco Art Institute. Recognized for a history of socially relevant, community engaged projects, Brett was selected as a cultural ambassador to Nigeria as part of the U.S. Department of State’s 2012 smARTpower Initiative and an inaugural A Blade of Grass Fellow for Socially Engaged Art in 2014. His work is in private and public collections including the Smithsonian/National Portrait Gallery, the Walker Art Center, and Harvard University.

“smARTpower/Sharing Culture”

smARTpower/Sharing Culture Collaborative Project was a series of multi-faceted workshops that included the collaborative creation of artifacts, celebrations, public art installations, and digital documentation to foster new connections and build community. Participants modeled inherently transformative ideas about what the practice of art could be, its societal benefits, and how it could be a force for personal discovery and mutual understanding. Through the exploration of progressive educational philosophies, innovative democratic theory, and diverse contemplative exercises, participants reflected upon personal identity within their diverse and overlapping communities and created public artworks and community celebrations that expressed a variety of cultural and aesthetic positions.