Emily Chow Bluck Named Dina Art as Catalyst Wind Fellow

Fleisher is thrilled to announce today that New York-based artist, educator, and organizer Emily Chow Bluck has been selected as the inaugural Dina Wind Art as Catalyst Fellow. Envisioned in 2015 to honor the legacy of Dina Wind, an artist, Fleisher board member and supporter, and longtime patron of the arts, the fellowship provides visual artists at a critical junction in their careers the opportunity to enrich their practice by developing a participatory public art project within Fleisher and Southeast Philadelphia’s highly diverse communities.

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As an institution, Fleisher believes art is most transformative when individuals actively participate in its creation and that artists help weave the social fabric that strengthens diverse communities. The fellowship intends to spur artists to transcend conventional notions of static art objects in public places while emphasizing how art and artists serve as catalysts for social action, problem solving, and relationship building.

Bluck was chosen through an intensive jurying process by a panel of jurors that included artists and past Fleisher artists-in-residence George Ferrandi and Miguel Lucciano; manager of Fleisher’s adult programs Vita Litvak; Fleisher exhibitions manager José Ortiz Pagán; VietLEAD executive director Nancy Nguyen; and journalist Leticia Roa Nixon.

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As a socially engaged artist, Bluck has worked primarily with communities of color in urban neighborhoods. Employing her praxis to build campaigns for social justice at the local level, she has harnessed experiences of struggle and oppression to create new narratives of overcoming, social value, and self-determined futures. Bluck holds a bachelor of arts in politics and international relations from Scripps College and a master of fine arts degree in community arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art. She has been active in organizing in Los Angeles, Baltimore, New York City, where she’s worked with organizations such as the Labor/Community Strategy CenterNo Boundaries Coalition, and the Audre Lorde Project.

“My interdisciplinary, socially engaged praxis is three-pronged — guided by what I call my three I’s: insight, incite, and in sight. As an educator I use my work to cultivate insight between disparate communities,” Bluck says of her work. “As an organizer, I strive to make pieces that incite people to take action against the injustices affecting their daily lives. And finally, as an artist I collaborate with others to imagine and create a more just society in our sights.”

Food is often a featured medium in Bluck’s work. In Philadelphia, with Asian Arts Initiative, her project Kitchen of Corrections created a socially engaged, alternative economy that translated the hardships of incarceration into power, leadership, and storytelling through food. The project was created with Rick Lowe, Aletheia Hyun-Jin Shin, Jeffrey Harley, and men overcoming homelessness, addiction, and incarceration in the city.

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The six-month residency will begin in September. Driven by her intrigue of the dynamics of mixed community and culture and the ways in which narratives of western colonization and the American dream intersect in our urban immigrant communities, Bluck plans to begin a dialogue with residents, business owners, students, and passersby as a point of departure for her residency. Resulting works will be featured in regular showings in Fleisher’s Center for Works on Paper (705 Christian Street) gallery.

Learn more about the fellowship or Dina Wind’s legacy. The Dina Wind Art as Catalyst Fellowship has been generously supported by the Wind Foundation and many generous donors, whose meaningful gifts in memory of Dina have made the fellowship possible.

All images courtesy of Emily Chow Bluck. Pictured are images from Emily’s projects Community Corners (2014)Humble Presence (2015), and Kitchen of Corrections (2015)

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