transformative practice

Leah Gipson | Art Therapist and Activist


 

 

art & discursive practice

 

DIVISIVE RADIO SHOW

Divisive is a two-hour monthly broadcast on Lumpen Radio that explores issues of power related to cultural work, activism, and social life. Created by Keith Brown, Leah Gipson, and Craig Harshaw, the show is a live performance of political ideas and questions that consider the role of conflict and disagreement in freedom struggles. Instead of finger-pointing at bad art and bad people, we look for ways to have a public dialogue about art and media that can reveal or change our hegemonic views. We look to shift the accessibility of art and intellectual criticism toward greater equality, and conversations of blame toward responsibility. We believe that actual people, including ourselves, are impacted by a wave of cultural impulses that advance violence and harmful ideology.


WEST SIDE ART CHICAGO

In the fall of 2013, Leah Gipson began developing a cooperative of artists creating projects in Chicago's west side neighborhoods. West Side Art Chicago is a grassroots, community initiative that builds collaborations between local artists who are focused on issues of creativity and urban living in Chicago's historic west side: Austin, Garfield Park, Lawndale, and Humboldt Park. West Side Art Chicago supports economic and cultural thriving on the west side through "generative" projects, art that creates and reproduces ideas for local change and sustainability. 


PROJECT LOT

Project Lot is a series of installations by artists Jen Brown, Leah Gipson and Eve Sanford. The installations occupy vacant lots to initiate conversation about the potential of unoccupied space. Project Lot involves the installation of a structure, which evolves as people contribute written words, messages, and questions. The piece becomes a part of an ongoing dialogue on the politics of space in surrounding communities.

Project Lot #1: Bronzeville  
July 28, 2012
47th Street and King Drive
Chicago, IL

Project Lot #2: South Shore
November 16, 2013
1708 E. 71st Street Chicago
Chicago, IL


CHANGE CLOTHES

CHANGE Clothes is series of art therapy projects that empower everyday girls and women using the objects that are familiar, accessible, and meaningful in their lives. CHANGE Clothes began as investigation of the artistic language of clothing as a private and public response to violence against women. 

Heels to Heal
Chicago Metropolitan YWCA
Chicago, IL
2010

The Sneaker Project
North Lawndale College Prep
Mercy Home for Boys and Girls
Chicago, IL
2010, 2011, 2012

Altered Clothing Project
Grace House
Chicago, IL
2012

 


ART THERAPY ARCHIVE

Social Justice in Art Therapy Education

Image: Youth marching for Gay Liberation Day. (William & John, July 1973)

Image: Youth marching for Gay Liberation Day. (William & John, July 1973)

Image: A painting by Robert Thorn, depicting Betsey, one of several African American women slaves who underwent experimental surgery for James Marion Sims to perfect the obstetrics fistula procedure. 

Image: A painting by Robert Thorn, depicting Betsey, one of several African American women slaves who underwent experimental surgery for James Marion Sims to perfect the obstetrics fistula procedure. 

The Art Therapy Archive is a collaborative educational tool for art therapy professionals, students, and community leaders (service users). The purpose of the project is to create a dynamic historical timeline of events that are important to understanding an emerging social justice framework in the profession. This does not mean the timeline will ignore art therapy history that has been informed by dominant professional discourse. Instead, the co-authors should aim to do the work of historians  honest and critical reflection on evidence that does not fit into a tidy narrative of collective progress towards social justice orientation in the field. Collaborators may use this project to document people and events outside or on the edge of the profession within a wider context. Others may decide to use the timeline to develop or expand art therapy theory and curricula.

The project hopes to foster an accessible, digital learning community, in which engaging historiography (our stories about history) is essential to the social political development of art therapists as cultural actors. Collaborators can begin to recognize values that are deeply embedded in the way communities and institutions remember, forget, retell, and commemorate events. The process of investigating our cultural knowledge and interpretations of historical people, institutions, and events is intended to support educational training and development of critical consciousness among students, supervisors, educators, and community leaders. The timeline is a ongoing work and is publicly available while in progress. Click Here to View the Timeline.

Workshop participants can contribute entries by logging in with their password. 

If you are new to the project, please provide your contact information. You will receive an email with instructions on how to submit to the timeline. All entries are subject to collaborative review and editing when entered into the current timeline.

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 Copyright 2013 Leah Gipson