past event

SOF Symposium: Race, Gender, and Class: Social Justice through the Lens of Contemporary Art

In collaboration with Anderson Ranch Arts Center.

*This event is by invitation only.

Contemporary art provides a powerful lens for examining issues of social justice. What is the value of socially and politically-engaged art?  What role does art play in helping us understand not only the complexity of our own identities and struggles, but also the identities and injustices suffered by people who are different from us?  Can art empower people to transform societal inequities and injustices, and if so, how?  This two-day symposium, moderated by Andrea Bowers and Hank Willis Thomas, will examine these questions through the lens of artists focused on injustices, such as police brutality and mass incarceration of African American males, violence against women, transgender identity and rights, economic inequality, and more. Artist Wyatt Gallery will join the symposium as a guest expert addressing the role of activist art in furthering dialogue on issues of social justice in this year’s presidential election.



Andrea Bowers has established an artistic practice concerned with contemporary political, social, and aesthetic issues. Bowers presents the stories of activists to express her belief that dissent is essential to maintaining a democratic process. Her work explores the intersections between art and archival processes, and between aesthetics and political protest. While Bowers’ work is tightly aligned with feminist concerns, she has also employed various mediums—drawing, installation, video, and photography—to explore pressing topics such as immigration, environmental activism, abortion, workers’ rights, and sexual and gender discrimination. Bowers’ educational background includes a BFA from Bowling Green State University and an MFA from CalArts in Valencia. Her work is featured in permanent collections at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the Whitney Museum of Contemporary Art, Brooklyn Museum, and the Baltimore Museum of Art amongst others across the globe.  She is also a professor at the Otis College of Art.

Hank Willis Thomas is a photo conceptual artist working primarily with themes related to identity, history and popular culture. He received a BFA in Photography and Africana studies from New York University and his MFA/MA in Photography and Visual Criticism from the California College of Arts. Thomas’ monograph, Pitch Blackness, was published by Aperture. He has exhibited throughout the U.S. and abroad including, the International Center of Photography, the Fabric Workshop and Museum, Studio Museum in Harlem, and Galerie Michel Rein in Paris, amongst others. Thomas’ work is in numerous public collections including The Museum of Modern Art New York, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Brooklyn Museum, The High Museum of Art and the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. His collaborative projects have been featured at the Sundance Film Festival He is also and a recipient of the NewMedia grant from Tribeca Film Institute and New Media Infinity Award from the International Center of Photography for his transmedia project, Question Bridge: Black Males.

Day 1: June 19, 2016

Director’s Cabin at Anderson Ranch


Day 2: June 20, 2016

Anderson Ranch


Day 3: June 21, 2016

Anderson Ranch


Cost: $350/participant or $260/auditor

Event information
Sun Jun 19, 2016 - Tue Jun 21, 2016
12:00 am - 12:00 am
Anderson Ranch Arts Center
5263 Owl Creek Road
Snowmass Village, CO