CreativeMornings with Jen Delos Reyes
Jen Delos Reyes delivered a lecture entitled "Rethinking Arts Education" through CreativeMornings at Museum of Contemporary Craft.
“The unfortunate reality of art school, and academia as a whole, is that it’s just not a place that’s teeming with actualized, loving human beings,” said Jen Delos Reyes during the December CreativeMornings lecture series on Education.
She delivered her lecture at PNCA’s Museum of Contemporary Craft and voiced unsparing opinions about the state of arts education and academia. A self-described “creative laborer, educator, writer, and radical community arts organizer,” Delos Reyes has a long record of innovative and rigorous work in the field of socially engaged art. Her resume includes the foundation of both a Master of Fine Arts program in Art and Social Practice at Portland State University and of Open Engagement, an international conference dedicated to the intersection of art and social activism. This makes her testimony particularly compelling.
Every month, CreativeMornings brings together great minds in creative fields from 104 cities around the world under a common theme. Its roster of participants features internationally renowned names in art and design. This is the first time that the Museum, or any venue affiliated with PNCA, has hosted the breakfast lecture series.
Delos Reyes opened with the question, “Can education change the role of artists and designers in society?” Her answer was conditionally affirmative. While the education system can be unsupportive, stifling, and even emotionally destructive, she maintains that a healthier paradigm exists. Drawing inspiration from diverse sources, fostering flexible and responsive learning environments, and prioritizing compassion towards ourselves and those we influence are components of the solution she envisions. She cited inventor Buckminster Fuller, educator Sister Corita Kent, and activist Thich Nhat Hahn as figures that inform her ideal conception of education.
Delos Reyes is forthright in her criticism, but speaks with an optimism that suggests her faith in the indomitability of art and human interaction, even in the face of the toxic structures that often come to bear on our lives.
You can view the video recording of the lecture and Delos Reyes’s reading list here.