How Art CAN Change The World

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Barbara Bridges
2323 Monroe St. NE
Mpls, MN 55418



                   Secondary Public/Social Practice Art Project   Spring 2015

Several area high schools will enjoy a visit from artist/teacher Barbara Bridges for the purpose of participating in a deconstruction of  Ode To Gluten as an example of art produced as a catalyst for social discourse leading to action. This approach to art making  is currently called “social practice” art.  Bridges will visit each school for studio sessions to facilitate development of a site-based public artwork focused on a social issue  identified and designed by the students.  Bridges’ academic specialty is discourse on the nature of  truth and multiple worldviews so the conversation promises to be dynamic!  One week residency.

Artist, Barbara Bridges’ Ode to Gluten is a large sculptural work created to investigate wheat’s history and to engage viewers in a dialogue about wheat: about its past, present and future role in the American diet, as well as in shaping the political, economic and social development of our city, state and country. Consider where support for the arts in the Twin Cities would be without the legacy and philanthropy of wheat?  But the question we are all asking is… What is happening to our wheat? It is fast becoming a food group social pariah. The Students will examine ALL the data as they learn how to research a complicated social question before they draw conclusions.

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Teacher Name  __________________________________email______________________________________

Phone____________________      Other digital contacts?___________________________________________

Grade (s)_______School/Town__________________________________________________________


Students’  Essay.   The students should, collaboratively,  write a one page essay describing why they should be included in this social practice project.  They may include reference to one or more social topics, if they have ideas. The goal is that the finished installation will involve one or more strategies to address their social concern. Starter questions: 1. Social Challenge? 2. Consequence of Social Challenge? Who are the decision makers who can effect change?  Please include author names and short bios.

Learner Objectives  The students will understand the economic and social importance of the history of wheat production in Minneapolis  by participating in dialogue focused on the art work Ode To Gluten which will be in residence in their school for a week.

The students will discover how art can change the world by reviewing and discussing important examples.

The students will identify an important social issue in their own community and design an artwork which will provoke social discourse leading to change.

The students will feel empowered by creating an installation and designing community interaction to effect social change.

Minnesota 9-12 State Art and Social Studies Standards
Civics: Standard 1 Democratic government depends on informed and engaged citizens who exhibit civic skills and values, practice civic discourse, vote and participate in elections, apply inquiry and analysis
Geography: Standard 9 The environment influences human actions; and humans both adapt to, and change, the environment.
Arts: Standard 1.
*  Demonstrate   knowledge of the   foundations of the arts area.  Elements and Principles.
* Demonstrate  knowledge and use   of the technical   skills of the art   form, integrating   technology when applicable.
* Demonstrate  understanding of the personal, social, cultural and historical  contexts that  influence the arts areas.


Who is Barbara Bridges?  Why would a student want to work with her on this project?

The Art Teacher
Barbara’s teaching career began in Maine in 1976 where she was an art teacher.  Since then she has expanded her sphere of influence to Mexico, the Caribbean and Minnesota.  Barbara has partnered with various Minnesota

institutions such as the Minneapolis school district, the Minnesota Online High School,  Perpich Center for Arts education, the Walker Art Center, the Mpls. Institute of Art, the Weisman Museum, and the Minnesota Museum of Art.  The online discussion group ArtsNet Minnesota came out of those collaborations ArtsNet Minnesota currently boasts a membership of over 600 as well as a site that contains over 8,000 pages of material.


Barbara has a passion for giving the gift of creativity back to her students. She believes, if motivated and informed, everyone can  be creative.


Among her proudest achievements were two Educator of the Year awards in 2008,  from the Art Educators of Minnesota and the National Art Educators Association. Barbara also earned the Minnesota Higher Art Educator of the Year and The Minnesota Art Educator of the Year. She has also been named the Art Educator of Minnesota in 1998

The Artist
Barbara Bridges makes art from artist fabricated components in a variety of media and found power objects.  She organizes the objects to create meaning and provoke discussions and reflection on a wide variety of social topics including sustainability (Ode to Gluten), living a considered life (Talking Chairs and Academia Nuts) and recovery (Reflection Pool).

She is a sculptor whose work is based in a variety of influences that are rooted in modern society, personal history and symbolic representation. “Onion/AKA Academia Nuts” was commissioned and lived at the MnSCU system offices for over a decade and focuses on communications and technology. Her next large public work, “Ode to Gluten”, will be unveiled at the Annual Art-A-Whirl Event in the NE Arts District of Minneapolis in the last weekend in May 2013.  See  to view described artworks.

The Professor
Barbara has been a professor for fifteen years at Bemidji State University and has contributed in a variety of ways.
Her appointment includes teaching Foundations of Education, Human Relations and Critical and Creative Thinking,
as well as serving as the architect of the unique DLiTE (Distributed Learning in Teacher Education)
– a hybrid online K-8 teacher licensure partnership program
and the FasTrack secondary initiative designed for previously degreed candidates who wish to teach high school. The combined programs serve 250 teacher licensure students average age 35, working, and place bound with children.

Although Barbara serves Bemidji as a general education specialist, she has been a powerful force in art education for many years.  Barbara led a National Art Educators Fellows Institute at her home in Maine which included the President of the National and International Art Educators.