Convenings & Conferences

Where We Are: Defining Youth Engagement and Social Practice

Presented by YBCA   |  

July 27, 2019

Inspired by conversations and ideas brought to light while co-developing Suzanne Lacy: We Are Here with SFMOMA, YR Media, Youth Speaks, MediaJustice, Martin Luther King, Jr. Academic Middle School, Caleb Duarte and the eponymous artist, YBCA presents an afternoon convening that explores youth organizing, civic engagement, and social practice.

The event opens with a keynote address by exhibition co-curator Lucía Sanromán, current director of Laboratorio Arte Alameda in Mexico City, which is followed by two moderated panel discussions—“Civic Engagement and Working with Youth” and “Civic Engagement and Social Practice”—each followed by an opportunity for the audience to engage with the panelists.

“Civic Engagement and Working with Youth” features artist, cultural strategist, and past participant and collaborator in The Oakland Projects Unique Holland in conversation with youth artist and advocate Glory Rubio and Loco Bloco teaching artist Anttwan Stanberry. Moderated by poet and teaching artist Leticia Hernández-Linares—who worked with the students of Martin Luther King, Jr. Academic Middle School on their contribution to the exhibition—they address questions such as What is the problem you’re trying to solve? How do you engage youth? and What does success look like?

“Civic Engagement and Social Practice” features Suzanne Lacy, Caleb Duarte, and fellow social practice artist Gregory Sale (currently exhibiting in Future IDs at Alcatraz Island) discussing the role of social practice in communities and in art institutions. Moderated by curator Liz Thomas, they explore the origins of their own artistic practice, the issues facing social practice today, the motivations and challenges of exhibiting social practice art, and how artists can create social change and for what audiences.

The panels conclude with a hosted happy hour in the Grand Lobby, where speakers and attendees can continue the conversation.

This is the first of a pair of closing events to mark the end of the exhibition Suzanne Lacy: We Are Here. Please join us at SFMOMA on August 3 for How We Work.


1:00 PM Curator-led tour by Lucía Sanromán
1:55 PM Doors open
2:00 PM Welcome by YBCA CEO Deborah Cullinan
2:05 PM Keynote address by curator Lucía Sanromán
2:30 PM Panel 1: “Civic Engagement and Working with Youth”
3:30 PM Intermission
3:45 PM Panel 2: “Civic Engagement and Social Practice”
5:00 PM Cocktail Hour in the YBCA Grand Lobby

About Caleb Duarte

Caleb Duarte is best known for creating temporary installations using construction type frameworks such as beds of dirt, cement and objects suggesting basic shelter. His installations within institutional settings become sights for performance as interpretations of his community collaborations. Duarte has created public works and community performances at the World Social Forum in Mumbai, India; Santiago de Cuba, Cuba; El Pital, Honduras; and throughout Mexico and the United States. He has collaborated with autonomous indigenous Zapatista collectives, communities in movement, and working children and refugees. Duarte is co-founder, along with artist Mia Eve Rollow, of EDELO, a Spanish acronym for Where the United Nations Used to Be. EDELO was a house of art in movement and an inter-communal artist residency of diverse practices in Chiapas, Mexico. Through EDELO, he is lead organizer of Zapantera Negra, which united Zapatistas (EZLN) with Black Panther Party aesthetics to investigate the use of the body and visual culture in both political and artistic movements. He also created Embassy of the Refugee, a series of works in collaboration with students in Oakland’s Fremont High School’s Newcomer Educational Support and Transition Program (NEST), who arrived to the United States from Guatemala as unaccompanied youth seeking asylum. These nomadic studio projects takes the form of sculptural performances at active sites of social and cultural resistance. Duarte is professor of sculpture at Fresno City College.

About Suzanne Lacy

Based in Los Angeles, Suzanne Lacy has created artworks ranging from intimate body explorations to large-scale public performances, often involving hundreds of performers. Born in 1945 in Wasco, California, Lacy became a key participant in the feminist movement and performance art scene in Southern California in the 1970s. She has exhibited in The Tanks at Tate Modern, London; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the New Museum, New York; MoMA PS1, New York; and the Biennale of Sydney, among many other venues. She has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Henry Moore Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. She lectures widely and has published more than seventy texts of critical commentary, several of which are featured in her book Leaving Art: Writings on Performance, Politics, and Publics, 1974–2007 (2010). Her influential book Mapping the Terrain: New Genre Public Art (1995) is now in its third printing. She was dean of Fine Arts at California College of the Arts from 1987 to 1997. Lacy was founding chair of the MFA program in public practice at the Otis College of Art and Design. She holds an MFA from California Institute of the Arts and a PhD from Gray’s School of Art at Robert Gordon University in Scotland, and currently teaches at the University of Southern California Roski School of Art and Design.

About Glory Rubio

Glory Rubio was born and raised in San Francisco, where she first cultivated artistic skill as a youth member of Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco’s Columbia Park Clubhouse. She graduated from San Francisco Ruth Asawa School of the Arts from the department of Visual Arts. She recently graduated from City College of San Francisco with an Associate in Arts, and will pursue the areas of Spanish and Linguistics as a third year student. She has a keen interest in histories of colonized regions, sociolinguistics, language acquisition, advocating for marginalized communities of color, and dance. Glory took a break for the art world that occupied most of her life and is continuing to volunteer as an ESL Teacher’s Assistant at City College and as a Civic Engagement Intern at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

About Elizabeth Thomas

Elizabeth Thomas is a curator and writer with primary interest in the production of site-responsive artworks across a range of media. As Director of Public Engagement for the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco she organized the recent retrospective Body Radical with Anna Halprin and Ana Prvacki’sDetour. Other recent projects include a performance and radio program with Michael Rakowitz, produced with Philadelphia Mural Arts, where she also organized projects with Katharina Grosse, Josh MacPhee and Temporary Services. As Phyllis Wattis MATRIX Curator at the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum, she curated new projects with Futurefarmers, Trevor Paglen, Emily Roysdon, Allison Smith, Tomas Saraceno, Jill Magid, and Ahmet Ogut, among others. She is a Senior Adjunct Professor in Curatorial Practice at California College of the Arts, and writes frequently for a range of publications, most recently Paper Monument’s As Radical, As Mother, As Salad, As Shelter: What Should Art Institutions Do Now?

About Unique Holland

Unique Holland is a cultural strategist, facilitator and strategic communications specialist focusing on racial equity and social justice projects. She is co-founder of Studio Pathways, a consulting firm that provides an inquiry-based approach to culturally responsive teaching and learning. Born and raised in Oakland, Unique has also worked over two decades developing community-engaged art projects centered on explorations of community, youth leadership, and public policy, including The Oakland Projects (1991-2001). Her work as a collaborating artist and director has been performed and exhibited in the U.S. and internationally. This work is part of a long-term artistic and social engagement in conversations on equity, both in the arts and beyond. Unique has served as the Director of Communications & Public Affairs at the Alameda County Office of Education, as Executive Director of the East Bay Leadership Foundation, and in other nonprofit leadership roles to develop and lead a host of educational and community-based programs for youth.

About Leticia Hernández-Linares

Leticia Hernández-Linares is an educator, interdisciplinary artist, and author of the poetry collection Mucha Muchacha, Too Much Girl (Tía Chucha Press, 2015).  She is also the co-editor of The Wandering Song: Central American Writing in the United States.  Widely published, her work appears in collections and journals such as Latinas: Struggles & Protests in 21st Century USA, Street Art San Francisco, Huizache, and Pilgrimage.  A 2017 San Francisco Library Laureate, she is the recipient of four San Francisco Arts Commission Individual Artist grants, and has received support from the Creative Work Fund and the Zellerbach Family Foundation.  A long time community worker and Mission resident, she teaches in the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University.

About Gregory Sale

Gregory Sale brings together a multitude of individuals implicated in and working with the criminal justice system. His projects organize frameworks of engagement for individuals directly affected by the system, connecting them with communities and initiating discourse around charged social problems. His projects include It’s not just black and white (2011) at ASU Art Museum in Arizona, Rap Sheet to Resume (2015-16) for the Urban Justice Center in New York , and Future IDs at Alcatraz (2018-19) for the iconic prison turned National Park in San Francisco Bay. Presented in partnership with the National Park Service and Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, Future IDs at Alcatraz translates criminal justice reform efforts into a visual language and a social physical space. Together, Sale and a team of collaborators–including Dr. Luis Garcia, Kirn Kim, Sabrina Reid, Jessica Tully, and many others–are exploring ways to shift thinking about rehabilitation, reentry, and reintegration. His work has received support from Kenneth Rainin Foundation, Creative Capital, Art Matters, A Blade of Grass/David Rockefeller Fund Fellowship, and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. He is Associate Professor of Intermedia and Public Practice, School of Art, Herberger Institute of Design and the Arts, Arizona State University.

About Anttwan Stanberry

Anttwan Stanberry was born and raised in the San Francisco Mission District and has been working with youth for 14 years. Growing up, Anttwan attended the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco where he not only worked as a teen staff but developed a passion for drumming and dancing through his time with Loco Bloco. Anttwan has worked as the Middle School and High School Service Director for Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco-Mission Clubhouse and has held leadership positions for other youth organizations across the Bay Area. Anttwan is currently working with the Jamestown Community Center as the Beacon Director at James Lick Middle School and is looking forward to bringing new programs and ideas that will help increase the involvement between the James Lick Middle School students, parents and teachers, the Jamestown Community Center, and the San Francisco Beacon Initiative.

YBCA Programs are made possible in part by Bloomberg Philanthropies and The James Irvine Foundation, with additional funding by National Endowment for the Arts, Grosvenor, and YBCA Members.

Lead image: Suzanne Lacy, Julio César Morales, and Unique Holland, Code 33: Emergency, Clear the Air!, 1997–99, from The Oakland Projects, 1991–2001; performance, October 7, 1999, City Center West Parking Garage, Oakland; Photo courtesy Suzanne Lacy Studio.