ABOG Fellow for Socially Engaged Art
As an ABOG Fellow, Melanie Crean will create No Such Place as America in collaboration with the Founding President of Ebony Horsewomen Patricia E. Kelly; members of the Hartford Police Department; and local high school students. This team will use equine therapy and participatory narrative techniques to form a new shared, non-verbal, creative vocabulary to increase trust and foster mutual understanding between the young people and the police. The project’s transdisciplinary methods will be documented in order to be borrowed and reproduced in other communities.
Melanie Crean is an artist, educator and filmmaker whose work explores how representations of power can be equitably shifted in media, culture and technology. She is an Assistant Professor at Parsons School of Design, where she teaches courses on emerging media, social engagement and visual culture.
Her ongoing collaborative project Mirror / Echo / Tilt, created with people affected by the justice system, uses silent performance techniques to retell personal stories from a position of power and shift cultural conception of the criminal. In her project No Such Place as America, she works with youth and local law enforcement in Hartford, Connecticut using equine therapy and collaborative storytelling to create short films and foster mutual understanding between young people and the police.
Previously, Crean directed the production studio at the arts non-profit Eyebeam; managed animation, motion capture and speech recognition teams at MTV Digital Television Lab; and produced documentaries in Nepal and India on the effects of women trafficking. Crean has received fellowships and commissions from A Blade of Grass, Art in General, Creative Capital, Creative Time, Franklin Furnace, No Longer Empty, Performa 11 and Rhizome.
Artist portrait by Jordan Parnass