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Art & Social Activism: A Panel Discussion
Does art have the power to generate social and political change? What is the role of the artist in addressing social issues? In this panel discussion, hear perspectives on the intersection between artistic expression and advocacy. Moderated by Diego Zegarra, Social Equity Director for Park City Community Foundation, the panelists will demonstrate how their work is a springboard for conversation around contemporary social issues, from gender inequality to immigration and more.
Internationally acclaimed artist Zhi Lin focuses on the overlooked yet vital history of Chinese migrant workers of the 19th century. The absence of these Chinese laborers from American history books is an animating force in Lin’s work, and is the focus of Kimball Art Center’s current exhibition, Zhi Lin: “Chinaman’s Chance” on Promontory Summit. Long focused on social change, Lin’s works are shaped by the political strife he witnessed in China during his youth and his experiences as an immigrant in the U.S. (he currently lives and works in Seattle, WA). The universal message of this work parallels the ongoing struggles and histories of immigrants from many backgrounds. Lin teaches painting and drawing at the University of Washington in Seattle as the Floyd and Delores Jones Endowed Professor in the Arts. He has been awarded major grants from the Creative Capital Foundation, Lila Wallace–Reader’s Digest Artists at Giverny program, Art Matters Foundation Fellowship, and the National Endowment for the Arts. His works are in the collections of the Princeton University Art Museum, the Pacific Asia Museum, the University College London Art Collection, the National Fine Art Museum in Beijing, and the China National Academy in Hangzhou, among others.
Born in Morelos, Mexico, Jorge Rojas is an artist, independent curator, and museum educator. He studied Art at the University of Utah and at Bellas Artes in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Rojas uses performance, visual art, and social engagement to examine cultural, social, and mediated forms of communication. His work and curatorial projects have been exhibited in galleries and museums across the U.S., including Museo del Barrio and Queens Museum of Art in New York; New World Museum and Project Row Houses in Houston; and UMFA and Utah Museum of Contemporary Art in Salt Lake City. He has received grants and fellowships from The National Performance Network (NPN), Experimental Television Center, and Vermont Studio Center. At Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA), he oversees all education, community engagement, and public programming initiatives for the museum. After becoming Director of Education and Engagement at UMFA, Rojas helped launch the ACME—Art, Community, Museum and Education—program, elevating the public role of the museum. Prior to his appointment, Rojas was site director for the Venture Humanities Course, where he promoted continuing education among immigrant, refugee, and under-represented populations through a partnership between local universities and Utah Humanities.