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Artists explore contested public works of art as part of Experience UWF Downtown Lecture Series

University of West Florida | news@uwf.edu

The University of West Florida College of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities will begin its 2017-18 Experience Downtown Lecture Series on Oct. 26 at the Pensacola Museum of Art. Carrie Fonder, UWF art lecturer, and Valerie George, UWF associate professor of art, will explore how commissioning entities and viewing audiences have contested public works of art in “The Legacy of Contested Public Art.” This installment of the series is sponsored, in part, by the Pensacola Museum of Art, and is free and open to the public, with a reception at 5:30 p.m. and the lecture from 6-7 p.m.

Fonder and George are interested in the legacy of art when it is denied, rejected or removed. Their work investigates what audiences’ conflicted relationship with public art reveals about collective values. Through this presentation, they examine the power of art as it lives on in both public dialogue and critical discourse. Their talk will consider the role of politics in shaping the outcome of proposed or disputed works.

Fonder is a sculptor whose practice focuses on mixed media pieces that are materially and conceptually driven. Her work is invested in the intersection of nature and culture and explores issues of gender, power and complicity through the use of humor and kitsch. She has exhibited her work nationally and internationally, from Detroit to New Delhi.
In 2010, she was awarded a Fulbright Nehru Grant to explore the influence of culture on gender identity through depictions of the feminine in India. Fonder received a master’s degree in sculpture at Cranbrook Academy of Art.

George specializes in sculpture, and is the arts editor of Panhandler Magazine. As an artist, George uses expanded media to explore historical, theoretical, natural, environmental, sonic, social and cultural phenomena. Her work is often site-responsive, generating archival documents in addition to art objects. George has exhibited her work both nationally and internationally. Most recently, she was awarded the Artist in Residence Fellowship at the Bilpin International Ground for Creative Initiatives Artists Residency in Australia for May 2017. George received an MFA from University of California, Davis.

The 2017-18 Experience UWF Downtown Lecture Series promotes the value of liberal arts in contemporary life by showcasing outstanding UWF faculty and scholars of national prominence, who illustrate the essential role of the liberal arts in building and sustaining contemporary culture. The next lecture, which will focus on public space, collective memory and community identity, will take place on Nov. 30 at the Museum of Commerce.

For the full series schedule and more information, visit uwf.edu/downtownlectures.

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