Guest artists lead the intensives in UIndy’s Social Practice Art Program

Weekend practice placements in UIndy’s Social Practice Art Program provide our graduate students with close collaboration with guest artists and the focused and intensive work of an artist residency. These hands-on opportunities are balanced by semester-long courses in social practice and place building, grant writing, and social entrepreneurship that take place during the week. On weekends, innovative internships connect students with professional artists to go beyond the gallery to engage communities and solve pressing social issues through art.

Movement Practicum is taught by choreographer and dance teacher Rebecca Pappas. Classes involve choreographers and dance companies like Allison Orr, Dance Exchange, and Urban Bush Women, and use aspects of Gibney Dance’s Institute for Community Action Training (ICAT). Pappas’ internship challenges students to take their focus off the creative process and think less about the object, artifact, and result so that they focus more on the environment and the people around them. The final project ends when each student offers a body-based, site-specific performance or public intervention.

Big Car Collaborative artist and co-founder Jim Walker has offered a variety of internships influenced by Dada, Surrealism, Fluxus, and participatory art that focus on small towns and neighborhoods. Walker led the first internship to activate a vacant storefront in Union City, Indiana, for a neighborhood engagement weekend. Subsequent internships focused on the Big Car Social Alchemy Project, which focuses on utopias and the town of New Harmony, Indiana, which was itself the site of two utopian experiments in the early years. 1800. Last year, students worked with Walker to produce participatory art that aired on Big Car’s community radio station, WQRT 99.1.

Other internships focused on food systems and urban agriculture, the environment and ecology, and walking as an artistic practice. All culminate with a participatory or interactive event on site. This multidisciplinary and collaborative approach helps students connect their creative practice with broader social issues to become community leaders.

Learn more about the University of Indianapolis Master of Arts in Social Practice at

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Kayleen C. Rice

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