The Artist as a Cultural Worker

Does art have a social function? Should it? This class is for intermediate and advanced artists who want to focus their practice and use their imagination in the interest of social justice. The class is dedicated to the prolific and exciting overlap between socially engaged art and cultural practices generated by recent social movements around the world. Environmentalism, queer movements, Zapatismo, immigrant rallies, feminism, democratic movements in the Middle East, and others will be seen in dialogue with cultural producers who participate in these movements or are inspired by them.

The course is project based and students will respond to social movements of their choosing while developing socially engaged art works. The class will provide technical support, assist with research, review artist projects and address recent strategies of social practices and examine the shift of socially engaged artists from “studio to situation” or “participant.” Additionally, we will consider strategies for interventions including street graphics, exhibitions (both inside and outside of the gallery) and media campaigns. We will discuss ideas and tactics, view slides, critique, and participate in one another's activism from time to time.

Discussion will address the theory and practice and will draw from critical theory as a way of understanding the theoretical foundation and the historical and future development of the artist as a cultural worker.

Collaboration between SMFA at Tufts University Students and the "(En)Gendered (In)Equity: The Gallery Tally Poster Project" by Micol Hebron, Los Angeles, CA, Boston, MA, 2016-present

Gallery Tally is a crowd-sourced, social engagement art project in which 2000+ artists from around the world have joined the effort to collect and visualize statistical data regarding ratios of male and female artists in top contemporary art galleries. The project started with galleries in Los Angeles, and is now deep in data, with a collection and visualization of gender statistics from cities around the world.  

Exhibition View, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE,) Los Angeles, CA.

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- Gallery Tally, Trisolini Gallery, Ohio University, Curated by Courtney Kessel, Athens, Ohio, October 27- December 3, 2016

- Broadcast, Keystone Gallery, Curated by Kim Abeles and Ken Marchionno, Los Angeles, CA, Sept 8-19th, 2016

- Gallery Tally, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Hollywood, CA, April-May, 2016

- Gallery Tally, Center for Contemporary Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico, December 10, 2015- January 10th,2016

- Gallery Tally, Matucana 100, Santiago,Chile, November 3 – 25th, 2015

- Looking Forward, Looking Back,New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe, NM, September – December 2015


-   "With ‘Gallery Tally Project,’ Micol Hebron Examines Gender Inequality in the Art Market" by Catherine G. Wagley Artnews. 2016.

-    "Gallery Tally’ Exhibit in LA Visualizes Challenges for Female Artists" by Alyssa Buffenstein. Artnet. March 8, 2016.

-   “18%: Artist Micol Hebron tallies the presence of women on Artforum covers” by Carolina Miranda. LA TIMES. April 10, 2015.


-   “Tallying Art World Inequality, One Gallery at a Time” by Jillian Steinhauer. Hyperallergic. March 27, 2014

-   Guerrilla Girl Kathe Kollwitz on Left Coast Inequality” by Ashton Cooper.  BLOUINARTINFO. October 23, 2013.

-   “LA Gallery Tally: Calling For Gender Equity In The Art World” by Carrie Yury. Huffingtonpost. December 16,2013.

-   “Galleries Are Man's World and Micol Hebron Is Keeping Score” by Carolina Miransa. KCET. September 2, 2014.

-   “THE GALLERY TALLY POSTER PROJECT: A Call for Gender Equity in the Art World” by Micol Hebron. Brooklynrail. September 4, 2014.

Collaboration between SMFA at Tufts University students and Art Flashes, organized by Heather Nathans, Chair of Department of Drama and Dance, 2017

"What if President Trump Really Does End funding for the Arts?

A deep fear came to pass for many artists, museums, and cultural organizations nationwide when President Trump, in his first federal budget plan, proposed eliminating the NEA and the NEH. 


Students at SMFA collaborated with Art Flashes by creating a postcard series that addresses President Trump's proposal for defunding the NEA and NEH. The goal is to raise awareness about the value of art, ignite civil dialogue at SMFA, and invite the community to take action by signing and dropping the cards in the mail. All postcards will directly go to the White House demanding president Trump to support the arts by not defunding the NEA and NEH.

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Collaboration between SMFA at Tufts University students and "Print POWER! vol 3: a propaganda poster project," by Brian Reeves and Damir Porobic,  2016-present

Organized by:Damir Porobic - University of Southern Maine and Brian Reeves - Boston College, Southern Maine Community College  


-  W. Van Alan Clark Jr. Library, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University.
-  AREA Gallery, the University of Southern Maine’s Woodbury Campus Center, Portland, August 28 - November 11.


Permanent Collections:

-  W. Van Alan Clark Jr. Library, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University.

Collaboration between SMFA at Tufts University  students and CONNECTEDBoston, Boston, Massachusetts, 2015-2017

CONNECTEDBoston is program at THE MULTICULTURAL AIDS COALITION (MAC). Students at SMFA collaborate by designing multiple campaigns, posters and created social media content to address health disparities and advance health equity in the lives of Black and Latino gay and bisexual men and other men who have sex with men in the Greater Boston area. Our goal was to reduce stigma related to sexual orientation, gender expression, and HIV status.


The mission of the Multicultural AIDS Coalition (MAC) is to mobilize communities of color to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic.  We work to ensure high quality, accessible prevention and treatment services for people living with HIV, at high risk for becoming infected, or closely affected by the disease.  We also support broader community efforts to eradicate conditions that fuel the epidemic, including substance abuse, lack of health care access, homelessness, incarceration and oppression based on race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation.