Inspiring and inciting awareness of social and environmental issues around the world through the transformative power of art.
 
SPRING 2012
LETTER FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
 

Dear Friends:

We begin our spring report by announcing our newest arrival: the redesigned Art Works for Change website.  Our new site features more images and videos from our exhibitions and our artists, as well as easier navigation. Our new blog will keep you up to date on the latest compelling ideas and events around our shows. We’re very pleased with the way it turned out, and we hope you are too. Please have a look at www.artworksforchange.org and let us know what you think.

That’s just the beginning. Over the past few months, we’ve been busy presenting our world-traveling show, “Off the Beaten Path” along with two spinoff exhibitions, and getting ready to launch a new one, “Nature’s Toolbox,” opening this month. We’re also designing an electronic game on female empowerment as we move into the area of information and communications technology.

And we’re proud to announce that Art Works for Change is the recipient of a grant from the U.S. National Endowment for the Arts. The visual arts grant was given to us to support “Nature’s Toolbox.”

There’s more. Read on.

As always, I look forward to your comments, questions, and feedback.

Kind regards,

Randy Jayne Rosenberg
Executive Director and Chief Curator
Art Works for Change

 
NATURE’S TOOLBOX OPENING AT FIELD MUSEUM CHICAGO MAY 22
 
 
 
 

Our newest exhibition: “Nature’s Toolbox: Biodiversity, Art, and Invention," is set to open at The Field Museum in Chicago on May 22.

“Nature’s Toolbox,” inspired by nature’s amazing design concepts, offers innovative, eye-capturing images and stories that help visitors understand and appreciate the interdependence between the millions species on earth — including humans — and the quality of the environment we share.

We created “Nature’s Toolbox” to help boost understanding of how much humans depend on the biodiversity of plants, animals, and everything else — and the implications of losing this natural wealth. And while we may be part of the problem, we’re also part of the solution: By harnessing nature’s brilliant innovations, we can improve the quality of human life while living sustainably.

For “Nature’s Toolbox,” we asked artists to use nature’s wisdom as the inspiration for new artworks. They explored its genius and found opportunities for invention by employing the lessons nature offers. We learn, for example, how by mimicking nature we can harness energy from algae, create fabric with the strength of a spider’s web, self-medicate like a chimp, create amphibian cities with the structure of a lily pad, and build walls made from sugar. See the full list of participating artists and more about “Nature’s Toolbox” on our website.

We would like to thank our funders — the National Endowment for the Arts, AT&T Foundation, Nathan Cummings Foundation, Adobe Foundation, and Sprint Foundation — enabling us to create the exhibition and launch it at The Field Museum.

Entrance to “Nature’s Toolbox” is free with basic admission to The Field Museum. The exhibition runs through December 2012 and then moves to The Leonardo in Salt Lake City January to June 2013. Future venues are being arranged.

To learn more about the exhibition, visit our website at: www.artworksforchange.org

 
SISTER FA MAKES A VIDEO FOR US
 

Art Works for Change and Sister Fa, an Art Works for Change Ambassador for Change, celebrated International Day of Women with this terrific video. Check out this post with wonderful footage by Sista Fa! You can view the video here, and see the entire campaign here.

 
AWARE/OWARE: THE GAME OF FEMALE EMPOWERMENT
 

This past November, Art Works for Change launched the AWARE/OWARE: The Game of Female Empowerment, as part of the Freedom to Create Awards in Cape Town, South Africa. The game, adapted from the 7,000-year-old African game of Oware, was developed into a public art installation as well as an interactive game and forum for the community to explore the issues of concern.

To create the game, we invited six South African art collectives to research and explore the challenges and successes inherent in female empowerment, using visual arts and storytelling. The traditionally played game focuses on two central principles: “to reap you must sow” and “to receive, you must learn to give.” We adapted Oware so that each person or team collects knowledge and capabilities in the areas of health, economics, education, and human rights on their journey to empowerment.

The project was well-received, debuting at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens in Cape Town, and since toured South Africa, traveling to the COP 17 Climate Change conference in Durban. It is currently at the Vukani Zulu Museum. “I am amazed at the way the AWARE/OWARE game is being innovatively used to empower women,” said Dr. Rudo Sithole, Executive Director, AFRICOM, International Council of African Museums.

 
OWARE: THE ELECTRONIC GAME
 

Our positive experience in South Africa with the life-size physical game has inspired Art Works for Change to create an electronic version using the stories and imagery inspired from the physical game. Initially, we are developing avatars who represent points of view reflecting female empowerment and basic human rights in the US, Africa, India, and China.

To develop this project, we are working with a talented team of recent graduates from Columbia College Chicago in the Department of Interactive Arts and Media, who are developing AWARE/OWARE into the electronic version. We plan to release this version by January 2013 to be played on electronic tablets and smart phones through both Android and Apple systems as well as Web-based.

 
AWARE/OWARE IN WEST AFRICA

Since launching the game project, we have had high interest from the West Africa region to adapt the game to address issues concerning health, education and female empowerment:

  • We were asked by the Ghana-India Kofi Annan Center for Excellence in Information Communications Technology (ICT) in Accra, Ghana, to create a version of the game and workshop to address the challenges and successes for young women entering the world of Information Technology, as part of Innovation Week, June 5-9, 2012. (pictured, Kofi Annan and director of the Center, Dorothy Gordon).
  • In Senegal, we were invited by Sister Fa to use AWARE/OWARE to raise awareness of harmful traditional health practices, such as female genital cutting, and to promote human rights, gender equality and female empowerment. Her May 2012 tour will bring together music performance, educational workshops and art in schools in Senegal in order to promote positive health practices and to inspire activism and positive social change.
  • In Nigeria, we were invited by Population Media Center to tour three cities to raise awareness on HIV/AIDS, malaria, sexual and reproductive health issues, and help create new opportunities for communities in Nigeria to challenge existing misconceptions and misinformation, stigma and stereotypes surrounding health and social issues.
 
“OFF THE BEATEN PATH” CONTINUES IN ITS THIRD YEAR

The nature of our exhibitions is that they are repeatable and can tour to many locations. As we are seeing with the AWARE/OWARE game, they also become adaptable.  Our multi-media exhibit Off the Beaten Path: Violence, Women and Art has achieved great momentum, reaching an audience of more than 300,000 people, and has been on the road for more than three years. The show launched in 2009, with 34 artists from 27 countries, and has since traveled to Oslo, Mexico City, Tijuana, San Diego, Chicago, Atlanta, Dakar, and New Orleans, including exhibitions at the Centers for Disease Control’s headquarters and participation in the New Orleans Prospect 2 Biennial. We anticipate that the exhibition will continue traveling to museums globally through 2014.

OTBP runs through July 29, 2012 at the Redline in Denver, Colorado, June 1, followed by stops at Calgary Art Gallery for the first quarter of 2013, then to the South Africa National Gallery May through August 2013.

 
THE SEVEN PERFUMES OF SACRIFICE

Congratulations to our friend and communications consultant Amy Logan, whose critically acclaimed debut novel, The Seven Perfumes of Sacrifice, was published in March. It’s a thriller about the search for the divine feminine and the ancient, lost origins of honor killing in the Arab world, for which Amy spent a decade researching the beginnings of this violent practice. Her findings were woven into the plot of the novel, which Kirkus Reviews called a “thrilling debut” and the Dallas Morning News called “un-put-downable.” In this post-9/11 cautionary tale, an American writer struggles to “civilize” a tiny Arab village of Israel; her intercession leads to tragedy beyond anyone’s calculation...and revelations that could heal what seems hopeless. Check it out at www.amylogan.com.

 
 
Art Works For Change, Inc. is a California nonprofit public benefit corporation.