California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) has received a $40,000 grant from the California Arts Council (CAC) as part of its 2016 Creative California Communities (CCC) program to establish the Big City Forum: Praxis Studio at CSUDH, a one-year extracurricular, cross-disciplinary arts and design program. The university is one of only 41 grantees this year that received a total of $1,953,707 in grants from the council.
With the CAC’s support, CSUDH’s Art and Design Department will implement the community engagement art program in partnership with the Los Angeles-based arts organization Big City Forum (BCF). The grant will be matched by CSUDH, Big City Forum, and grant partner Cerritos College, bringing the total funding for the project to $80,000.
The overall goal of the project is to create a “robust placemaking model” that connects youth in the underserved communities that CSUDH serves to higher education and its resources, and to explore their collective history, social conditions, neighborhoods, and storylines, according to Devon Tsuno, assistant professor in CSUDH’s Art and Design Department.
“It is an honor to be recognized among some of the state’s most vital and innovative non-profit museums and arts organizations, such as Machine Project, Self-Help Graphics, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara, as a leader in the state’s strategic plan to support creativity and the arts,” said Tsuno, who served as the principal investigator of the grant in partnership with the BCF. “Praxis Studio’s goal is not simply to improve the connections between community institutions and the arts, but also to make these connections integral and long-lasting.”
Big City Forum: Praxis Studio will launch in October 2016 with the first of three community panels. Open to the public, local youth will have the opportunity to interact with visiting professionals in art, design, and community organizing, especially those whose work intersects with issues directly related to social impact and responsibility. The panels will also offer youth a better understanding of career opportunities in creative disciplines.
Praxis Studio will also include four artists-in-residence; prominent L.A.-based artists and designers who setup shop on campus and create workshops and projects throughout campus; and Praxis Studio Undergraduate Research Fellowships for CSUDH art students, which provides scholarships for students and more opportunities to work collaboratively with professional artists and designers on campus.
More about Devon Tsuno
A Los Angeles native, Devon Tsuno received his MFA from Claremont Graduate School and his BFA from Cal State Long Beach. His most recent work of abstract paintings on handmade papers focus on the L.A. landscape’s bodies of water and native vs. non-native vegetation. They will be on display at the first Current: LA Water Public Art Biennial from July 16 through Aug. 14. Presented by the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs Public Art Division, the art biennial uses contemporary art as a platform for the exchange of ideas around critical issues our city faces together.
Tsuno is also the recipient of this year’s SPArt Grant, a $10,000 annual award awarded to an L.A.-based project that “engages audiences, promotes participation, and fosters social change.” Tsuno received the funding for the Los Angeles River Carp Fishery Sustainability Act, a series of community programs that he proposed. The programs offers those who utilize the river carp fishing “catch and release” tackle, resources, documentation and education.