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Engaged Artist-in-Residence program launches at IU’s Cook Center

For Immediate Release Sep 1, 2021

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – The Arts and Humanities Council at Indiana University Bloomington will launch a new Engaged Artist-in-Residence program at the Gayle Karch Cook Center for Public Arts and Humanities this fall.

The program is supported by $18,000 in funding from the Indiana University Women’s Philanthropy Leadership Council, and through the Arts and Humanities Council, which is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Engaged Artist-in-Residence program will bring two working artists to the Bloomington campus each year to interact with students and off-campus community members in a series of workshops, outreach programs and exhibitions. Residencies in the fall semester will be devoted to artists working in the Midwest, while residencies in the spring semester will feature artists with ties to the Global Remixed festival presented by the IU Arts and Humanities Council.

The residencies are designed to advance a model of engaged artistic practice that supports artists whose careers can be significantly furthered by access to IU’s resources in curation, collections and research. Those artists can, in turn, activate those resources in new ways and demonstrate new engaged modes of artistic exchange for the campus’s largely rural, Midwestern community.

Zakkiyyah najeebah dumas o’neal has been chosen as the inaugural Engaged Artist-in-Residence for fall 2021. She is a Chicago-based visual artist, educator and independent curator, as well as co-founder of Concerned Black Image Makers, a collectively driven project that prioritizes shared experiences and concerns by lens-based artists of the Black diaspora. Her work has appeared in solo and group exhibitions in Chicago; South Bend, Indiana; and Portland, Maine.

In its pilot year, the Engaged Artist-in Residence program is managed by a committee of faculty, staff and curators, which includes Ed Dallis-Comentale, director of the IU Arts and Humanities Council and the Gayle Karch Cook Center; Faye Gleisser, assistant professor of art history in the College of Arts and Sciences; Elliott Reichert, curator of contemporary art at the Eskenazi Museum of Art; Betsy Stirratt, director of the Grunwald Gallery of Art; and staff from the council.

“The Engaged Artist-in-Residence is the perfect program to kick off the Cook Center’s first full academic year of operation, and zakkiyyah najeebah dumas o’neal is the ideal artist to inaugurate the program,” Dallis-Comentale said. “The program exemplifies the spirit of the Cook Center by promoting meaningful engagements with the arts for all members of the Bloomington community and encouraging stronger connections between campus and city. It also provides a vital platform and ample resources for artists at important stages of their careers to expand their creative portfolio.”

As part of her residency, najeebah dumas o’neal will have access to a working studio in the Cook Center in Maxwell Hall. She will hold a masterclass and studio visits with students in the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design, and she will deliver an artist’s talk at the Eskenazi Museum of Art on Oct. 7. In November, the Cook Center will present an exhibition of her work.

The Gayle Karch Cook Center for Public Arts and Humanities was inaugurated in April as part of former provost Lauren Robel’s Bicentennial Strategic Plan for the Bloomington campus. The renovations to Maxwell Hall began in 2020 with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and a gift from IU alumna Gayle Karch Cook. The Cook Center includes the IU Arts and Humanities Council, the College Arts and Humanities Institute, Traditional Arts Indiana and the Book Lab. Maxwell Hall is also home to the Center for Rural Engagement and IU Corps.

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