“When The River Becomes A Cloud” launched on June 9, 2022 after a 6-month exploratory pilot period of collaboration with teachers, staff and students at Prescott School, and evolved into a multi-year, collaborative public artwork throughout the campus. Prescott School is a Pre-K-12 public school in rural Eastern Washington. While developing the work, Amanda Leigh Evans and Tia Kramer – both program alumni who are interviewed in this issue – have been long-term artists-in-residence at the school.
In the program trip during 2021-2022, we visited Prescott Elementary School and participated in exercises with Amanda and Tia, and the students, faculty, and staff at the school. We sought to complete a participatory course on the campus: each MFA candidate was paired with an elementary school student and created unique choreography that happened consecutively throughout the playground and landscape around the school. We also enjoyed in-depth conversations with Tia and Amanda about the inception of their collaboration, the value of sharing language from the program, and the beautiful endurance required for public art projects.
It’s thrilling to see the project evolve and learn that “When The River Becomes A Cloud” will result in large, permanent public artwork. A continuum for those who came before and will come after.
Reading this issue of the SoFA Journal is especially enjoyable because we get to have a window into names and projects connected to the program. We see how they came together, where they lead, and what social practice artists do after their time at PSU.
We selected this image for its impressive birds’ eye view of the project, and because of the sweet memory of the school last spring. Someone threw a snowball in their choreography. There was clapping and stomping at the start. Hopscotch. The exercises inspired us beyond the visit to dream up performance scores, make more art with children, and collaborate with one another in big and small ways in our own practices.
Gilian Rappaport and Luz Blumenfeld
The Social Forms of Art (SoFA) Journal is a publication dedicated to supporting, documenting and contextualising social forms of art and its related fields and disciplines. Each issue of the Journal takes an eclectic look at the ways in which artists are engaging with communities, institutions and the public. The Journal supports and discusses projects that offer critique, commentary and context for a field that is active and expanding.
Created within the Portland State University Art & Social Practice Masters In Fine Arts. Program, SoFA Journal is now fully online.
Conversations on Everything is an expanding collection of interviews produced as part of SoFA Journal. Through the potent format of casual interviews as artistic research, insight is harvested from artists, curators, people of other fields and everyday humans. These conversations study social forms of art as a field that lives between and within both art and life.
Sponsored by the Portland State University Art and Social Practice MFA Program