Traci Molloy, a Brooklyn-based artist and a participant in the 2014 Obermann Summer Seminar, returns to Iowa City in early October to give a lecture and unveil a new artwork that she created with local teenagers. Titled “I Am, I Will, I’m Afraid,” the work combines photography and text composed by twelve self-described youth “outliers” attending United Action for Youth’s Summer Art Workshops. It will be installed on the side of the Wesley Center, the building that houses Public Space ONE (PS1), at 120 N. Dubuque. John Engelbrecht, director of PS1, says the wall, which can be seen from the intersection of Dubuque and Market Streets, will become a space for ongoing displays of socially active art. There will be a reception to celebrate the unveiling on Friday, October 2, from 5:00 to 7:00 pm at PS1.
The night before, October 1, Molloy will give a lecture, “Beneath the Acne: Art, Collaboration, and Activism,” at 7:30 pm in Art Building West, Room 116.
Molloy was one of twenty scholars, community activists, and independent artists who participated in “Problem Solving Social Practice in Art.” During the week-long seminar, which was directed by Anita Jung (Art & Art History) and Engelbrecht, the group cast a wide net on the idea of “social practice in art,” examining and exposing gaps in the topic, both in scholarly terms and in how those terms related to community actions and organizations. Molloy led a workshop with teenagers at United Action for Youth during that same week. The students talked about collaboration and then wrote about their identities. The workshop culminated with Molloy taking portraits of the students, which she combined into a single portrait layered with their handwritten text.
Molloy has presented her work in over 175 different national exhibitions in locations such as New York City, Chicago, Nashville, Boston, and Kansas City. She believes teaching is the most basic form of social activism. As a result of this philosophy, she has directed outreach programs for underserved youth in rural Appalachia, Atlanta, and the Bronx for over 17 years. Her collaborative multimedia installations and two-dimensional works with adolescents have been exhibited around the world, including at the International Summit on Racism in Johannesburg, South Africa; the United Nations in New York City; the Children’s Museum in Tokyo; and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Global Health Odyssey Museum in Atlanta.