As we approach the end of Precipice Fund’s third grant period and get ready to announce our Round 4 grantees on December 13, we’ve been checking in with a few groups from our current round of grantees to see how their projects are progressing. This update comes from home school in June 2016.
home school is a free pop-up art school in Portland, OR founded by Victoria Anne Reis and manuel arturo abreu. The project honors the casual rigor of the etymology of “school,” from the Greek skholē, meaning leisure, rest, free time, in order to create welcoming contexts for critical engagement with contemporary art and its issues. We want to provide a diffuse, vernacular alternative to marketized art education. Our curriculum consists of classes, talks, exhibitions, poetry readings, and more.
We were inspired first by the low-stakes resource sharing that can often characterize online friendships, and second by previous alternative arts education models like BHQFU, Anton Vidokle’s Night School, Conceptual Oregon Performance School, University of Trash, and others. However, unlike many of these projects, which identify as art (and thus potentially subsume pedagogical concerns under aesthetic concerns), home school is not art. Our hope is that this increases the project’s pedagogical usefulness and centers the experience of whoever identifies as a home school student. We also stream every event in order to provide distance learning opportunities.
We launched at composition in November 2015 with a pop-up group show accompanying a set of performances and a screening of Hamishi Farah’s marginal aesthetics (2014). After receiving our Precipice Fund grant, we did our first poetry reading in January (online), then began the first semester of our 2016 curriculum in March. Our first event was a remote talk by Melbourne-based artist Hamishi Farah delivered in the workshop of Creative Paper Crafting, titled Better than Jordan. For April, Eunsong Kim skyped in from San Diego to Duplex to deliver her talk, Whiteness as Property & Found Object Art.
The first semester of home school featured two classes which met monthly. The first is Victoria’s class, Mom Art, which invites participants to imagine and examine Mom Art, a counterpart to Pop Art. In her call to center process over product and the everyday over the epic, Victoria reorients the oppressive erasure of reproductive and domestic labor both in and outside art. Classes took place at Lightbox Kulturhaus, the Northeast Portland home of Prequel facilitators Alexis and Ryan, Compliance Division, and a friend’s house, in Damascus, OR.
The second class of first semester was Contemporaneity: building a better white supremacy. In it, manuel details contemporary art’s racially exclusionary practices, how the art world adapts to/exploit the ascendancy of identity, and how to circumvent this paradigm. Classes took place at their garage in Southeast Portland, the home adjacent to fellow Precipice grantee Cherry & Lucic (where two of its directors live), and the Creative Paper Crafting workshop.
In May, home school worked closely with Compliance Division, a project space in an Everett microloft. We curated a group show there for first Thursday called snap, and they hosted a remote talk called Trauma Cache by Rosemary Kirton, as well as an in-person artist talk by Demian DinéYazhi.
June featured the concluding sessions of Victoria and manuel’s classes, as well as an in-person talk by Jamondria Marnice Harris at Duplex, titled toward a decolonizing poetics. We also hosted our second online reading. Semester 1 concluded with an artist talk by LA-based artist Jasmine Nyende, Marble.
Semester 2 of 2016’s home school curriculum ran from July–Oct 2016. It featured a class titled project space industrial complex, co-facilitated by Carmen Denison, Eleanor Ford, Devin Ruiz, and Chloe Thompson,. Sessions took place at the Cherry & Lucic house, dCompliance Division, and the Yale Union Neighbor’s Open Studios. Semester 2 also featured as well as a movement-based class taught by Portland performance group Physical Education (keyon gaskin, Allie Hankins, Lu Lee Yim and Takahiro Yamamoto). Sessions took place at Lightbox Kulturhaus, LACUNA, and the People’s Food Co-op. Semester 2 also featured talks from Devin kenny, damali ayo, Giovanna Olmos, and Winslow Laroche. We also hosted our third reading, this time in person at LACUNA.
Upon the conclusion of the 2016 curriculum, Victoria and I reflected on the successes and failures of the project. We accomplished our goal of navigating Portland’s project space scene and the fraught politics that accompany this; however, the rigorous weekly schedule drained us and, to some extent, impeded our ability to seamlessly facilitate aesthetic engagement as time went on. Nevertheless, we feel very happy to have explored the pedagogical potential of the emerging event economy in an increasingly austere and speculative art market, and to have widened the scope and context of artistic practice in Portland by showcasing local talent as well as bringing in outside voices.
The work and contexts we are facilitating for our 2016 curriculum would not be possible in their current forms without the help of the Precipice Fund, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and the Calligram Foundation / Allie Furlotti. The grant is has not only allowing allowed us to realize our project in the scope we imagined, and pay everyone involved; it also provides us room to experiment and discover a sustainable model for the 2017 curriculum, for which we are not expecting funding from anywhere. Thanks!
Our tumblr serves as our site. We’re also on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Precipice Fund is administered with lead support from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the Calligram Foundation/Allie Furlotti, as part of the Regional Regranting Program of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.