Adam served as Education Director at AVA Gallery and Art Center in Lebanon, NH from 2008–2016. This selection of social practice pieces was produced during this time. Seen together, these projects describe a fascinating ecology of social relationships in our community. Here, art unites artists, art teachers, art students, nonprofits, for profits, our public and private education systems, local farms and agriculture, our public transportation, our hospital, the media, the municipal government, and even the National Park system — all in the spirit of participatory art-making. Art can be more than an object on a wall in a gallery. Click the photos below for greater detail.
Of note, these social practice pieces took place during the depths of the Great Recession and in the years shortly thereafter — a unique time in nonprofit arts administration. When the financial markets crashed, arts foundations’ principal contracted and the few grant resources available for community projects disappeared. Nimble arts organizations innovated by looking for new and unusual partnerships across market segments, combining groups to achieve larger ambitions than any single organization accomplish alone. These unusual collaborations brought people together through a passion for making, and in doing so, fostered a renewed sense of community. American identities, which can trend toward individual pride of possession, briefly pivoted toward a local pride of place. The artworks from these projects were often ephemeral by design and inexpensive by necessity, emphasizing the art-making and playful new relationships over the resultant physical outcomes.
Click around, take these project ideas or inspiration from them, and try them where you live. Anything is possible with creativity, care, and enthusiasm. If you are interested in learning how these projects were funded, email Adam for more information.