Patrisse Cullors, the co-founder of Black Lives Matter, will lead a new online MFA program at Prescott College that merges art, social justice, and community organizing.
The two-year online program, designed by Cullors, is called Social and Environmental Arts Practice. According to the program’s description via Prescott College, “Social and Environmental Arts Practice focuses on the intersection of art and activism. Specifically, it explores art in social change and the application of art as a change agent.”
Cullors recently completed her master’s from USC’s Roski School of Art and Design, where she examined the intersection of performance and activism. According to the LA Times, the activist-artist taught an online course at Prescott College, and later asked to create her own program, which she has been collaborating on with the college for the past year.
The program’s core classes will be instructed by four Los Angeles-based artists who graduated with Cullors at USC. For instance, photographer Star Montana will teach a class on identity-based photography. Sculptor, printmaker, and performance artist Noé Olivas will lead a class on art as a healing tool.
Cullors will teach a course titled “The Rise of Performance Art in the Fine Arts World.” Students will “take a close look at queer, trans, women, and artists of color who have used and currently use performance art to challenge the art canon.”
The Black Lives Matter co-founder hopes the program introduces students to fresh ways of thinking about their own artwork and mission.
“Art is the gateway to our imagination. It forces us to bend the norms,” said Cullors. “I use art as a tool and as a compass towards greater freedom and liberation. When art is centered through politics we are able to transform the material conditions for those most impacted by harm and violence. This program is going to lift up artists who are ready to be shapeshifters we so desperately need.”
For more information on how to apply for the program, please visit Prescott College.