Let’s Keep in Touch
Youth Workshop with Carmen Papalia and Whitney Mashburn

Attention Youth Ages 8 to 18! What could you learn about a piece of art if you were allowed to walk right up to it and touch it? Find out at Let’s Keep in Touch and discover the world that opens up when you close your eyes!

Join artist and disability activist Carmen Papalia, curator Whitney Mashburn and the students of Social Practice Queens for a workshop that will change the way you look at art in the museum.

Participants will learn how to use the different parts of the hand to identify tactile detail and interpret different textures found in nature, sculpture, and the city. Participants are asked to bring a few personal items of varying sizes – like mementos, keepsakes, or toys – that they enjoy holding and which the group can take turns examining with eyes closed.

In addition to these activities, the workshop will involve sensory exercises like running with eyes closed, focused listening, and inventing words to describe non-visual experiences.

The workshop will be documented and documentation will be presented in a public presentation at the CUE Art Foundation in February of 2018. Participants will be invited to contribute their personal items to the exhibition; and organizers will arrange the return of their items once the exhibition comes to a close.

Workshop is free, but please RSVP here.

About the Facilitators

Carmen Papalia is a Vancouver, British Columbia based social practice artist who makes participatory projects on the topic of access as it relates to public space, the Art institution and visual culture. His work has been featured as part of exhibitions and programming at: The Whitney Museum of American Art, the L.A Craft and Folk Art Museum, the Grand Central Art Center, the Canter Fitzgerald Gallery at Haverford College, the Portland Art Museum, the Columbus Museum of Art and the Vancouver Art Gallery. Papalia holds a Bachelor of Arts from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver and a Master of Fine Arts from Portland State University. He has lectured on his work at the University of Sunderland (UK), the California College of the Arts, Portland State University, the Pacific Northwest College of Art, the University of Michigan, York University, and at Emily Carr University. His recent writings can be found in Stay Solid: A Radical Handbook for Youth (AK Press, 2013); Reference Points: Temporary Services (Publication Studio, 2013); and in the “Museum Experience and Blindness” issue of Disability Studies Quarterly.

Whitney Mashburn is a Boston-based curator. She holds an M.A. in Critical and Curatorial Studies from the University of Louisville’s Hite Art Institute, an M.A. in Disability Studies and Counselor Education, and a B.A. in History of Art and Studio Art from Vanderbilt University. She has interned at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts as a curatorial research assistant, is a nationally certified rehabilitation counselor (CRC), and has worked both in disability services offices and as a researcher and editor in art history in Vanderbilt’s Special Collections and Archives and in their History of Art department. Her current research investigates tactile aesthetics, accessibility, and the role of conversation in social practice and institutional critique.

Let’s Keep in Touch was organized by Jeff Kasper (2017 Public Programs Fellow, CUE Art Foundation) and Social Practice Queens (SPQ) as part of Access/Points a new series of public programs on disability and the arts organized by CUE Art Foundation. SPQ is supported in part by Queens College CUNY, The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation, Queens Museum, and Vilcek Foundation.

Image Courtesy of Sylvia McFadden and Carmen Papalia, Purple Thistle Center & the Vancouver Art Gallery.

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