Open Table
Conversations about admissions and alternative education:
November 19 - 20 from 1:30 - 7:00PM
Pioneer Works, 159 Pioneer Street, Red Hook,Brooklyn, NY 11231


Panel: How is alternative education important to artistic practice?
Alternative Art School Fair
November 19, 2:00 - 3:30PM
Pioneer Works, 159 Pioneer Street, Red Hook, Brooklyn, NY 11231

Topic: Why is an alternative art education so important to our practices as artists and educators? How does it change our creative work and the way we think, exchange, create and teach? Four artists tell us how and why an alternative educational experience is important to them and their praxis. 


Jean Marie Casbarian is an artist and educator who after receiving her MFA from the Milton Avery School of Art low residency program, found the alternative education model to be uniquely expansive, unencumbered and holistic.  Casbarian is currently on faculty at Transart Institute (Berlin/New York), the ICP-Bard MFA Program, and the International Center of Photography Full-Time Programs in New York.  Her interdisciplinary works are widely exhibited both nationally and internationally.  http://www.jeanmariecasbarian.com

Casbarian's presentation When Pedagogy Meets Practice, explores the alternative teaching model through her process of conceiving a topic of study, to the art of writing a syllabus, to the various methodologies that she utilizes to instill a deeper level of thinking among her students and the myriad of ways in which it has cultivated new artistic perspectives.  Over the years she has found that in the end, all avenues converge and eventually lead her back and into her own long-term, process-based practice – one that is informed by concepts of migration and movement, distance and light, and the circularity of time.

Andrew Cooks’s rambling Creative Practice PhD profoundly impacted what he does, how he does but most importantly how he thinks and discusses these—most especially with himself. Whilst the formal path took 3+ years he was in fact working toward it for 30+ years and now describes his “practice” simply: its peripatetic and like everything else he does; privileging thinking, drawing, walking, painting, writing and reading, talking, speculating; advocating for the wonderful uselessness of imagining; of being idle and idyll; of whimsy and humour; of ideas—and the subversive nature of pleasure. Andrew teaches at School of Visual Art, Transart Institute and Dutchess Community College. http://www.andrew-cooks.com

Cooks’s presentation Art is research uses his own PhD experience as a narrative to explore his discovery and articulation of simple things: that how and why he acts in his studio mirrors what he does beyond the studio; the dissolution between making and living; describing a simple yet complex path that in depth, self-directed study which privileges the student in lateral, non-linear thinking, adventure, risk-taking and failure have come to define his practice. And it was his decades long experience as a teacher which was the laboratory which fomented this process.

Andrea Haenggi is a Swiss-born New York-based interdisciplinary artist, experimental choreographer, dancer and educator. She is the catalyst of 1067 PacificPeople, a live performance project that explores the “dancing” humans and the wild urban plants to create encounters and gestures that allows people to experience and questions power, connection, value, intimacy, gender and death in the digital age and often allows them to express things they can’t elsewhere. Andrea is an MFA candidate at Transart Institute.    1067pacificpeople.nycpopupgesturestore.comandreahaenggi.net  

Haenggi’s presentation Where do I end and where do you begin? uses the concept of her live-performance project the Pop Up Gesture Store as a narrative to reveal experiences and opportunities as an MFA candidate at the Transart Institute. She asks herself what it means to be in an "unschool" environment and to create your own "currency" of education.

Virgil Wong is a visual artist working with concepts in medicine and technology and has exhibited interactive installations, films, paintings, drawings, and prints in galleries and museums around the world. As a researcher in medical cognition and intelligent technologies at Columbia University, he is studying how time travel simulations of patients’ bodies can increase engagement, motivate disease prevention, improve chronic disease management, optimize patient physician communication, reduce misdiagnoses, and decrease hospital readmission rates. Virgil is an alumni of Transart Institute.  http://virgilwong.com/  

Wong’s presentation Alt Art Ed for Innovative Med tells the story of how a creative practice shaped by an alternative art education program led to doctoral cognition research at an Ivy League university, a health transformation company, and exhibitions in museums and galleries around the world.


Lynn Book has a 25 year history of interdisciplinary artistic practice that traverses boundaries between performance art, dance, theater, writing and new music forms. Her belief in creative engagement as the most critical competency in the vitality and sustainability of contemporary culture has led her to develop dynamic programs springing from her interdisciplinary approach to creativity. Ms Book is Director of the Program for Creativity and Innovation and Visiting Associate Professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance at Wake Forest University and is faculty with Transart Institute. http://www.lynnbook.com/ 

Artist talks will be 12 min. each with 45 min. for a moderated conversation between panelists and audience. Please join us for extended conversations at our Open Table anytime Saturday or Sunday between 1:30 and 7:00PM.