Meditation Ocean is a multifaceted project exploring links among marine ecology, mindfulness, and human well-being, developed by Virginia-based artist Hope Ginsburg and supported by a Wexner Center for the Arts residency. In addition to a planned immersive video installation incorporating underwater footage and audio to be captured later this year, Meditation Ocean will generate collaborative public programs, including workshops, guided group meditation, and sessions for teens and adults in the community—all intended to foster mindfulness, learning, and exchange. Amid a global pandemic, climate crisis, racial unrest, and other stressors, this project has become more relevant than ever. Ultimately, and no matter what form or modes of delivery this project takes, the basic questions at its heart remain: Does the presence of other species and environments improve mindfulness learning? Does mindfulness support environmental learning? If it is a given that mindfulness builds compassion among individuals, can mindfulness practice build compassion across species?
Meet the Speakers:
Curator of the Film/Video Studio Program, Wexner Center for the Arts
Jennifer Lange joined the Wexner Center in 2001 and is Curator of the Film/Video Studio Program, which offers in-kind post-production support to filmmakers and video artists. The program hosts approximately 20–30 residencies each year with artists coming from around the world to work on projects ranging from documentaries to gallery-based installations to experimental videos. Through the residency program, Lange has worked with hundreds of artists. She curated Cruzamentos: Contemporary Art in Brazil, an expansive exhibition of contemporary Brazilian art across all mediums, which included commissioned work and site-specific installations; and Sadie Benning: Suspended Animation, the artist's first-ever solo museum exhibition, including paintings, sculpture, and video. She also curates the monthly screening programs in The Box, the Wexner’s video exhibition space (in the building and streamed online). She regularly serves on panels and juries for regional, national, and international arts and funding organizations. Lange has worked at Donald Young Gallery in Chicago, and has an M.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a B.A. from Connecticut College in New London, CT.
Dionne Custer Edwards
Director of Learning & Public Practice, Wexner Center for the Arts
In 2005, Dionne Custer Edwards, Director of Learning & Public Practice, joined the Wexner Center for the Arts. Her work at the Wex has included pioneering several groundbreaking education programs—including Pages, an art and writing program serving hundreds of high school students a year from across central Ohio. Embedded in her art and education practices is Custer Edwards’ commitment to work in diversity, equity, access, and inclusion. In partnership with Wex board member Alex Shumate, Custer Edwards helped to conceptualize and sustain the work of the Shumate Council, a group of Wex supporters, ambassadors, and volunteers committed to engaging Black audiences with the Wex. Custer Edwards is also spearheading, along with Executive Director Johanna Burton, the center’s task force focused on equity. Custer Edwards has received awards and fellowships for her work in the arts, including a 12-month fellowship with Americans for the Arts. She has presented and been a featured speaker at several national conferences on her work and research in arts education, including at the Indianapolis Museum of Art TEDx conference, where she spoke on 21st-century learning. She also regularly serves as a trustee on nonprofit organization boards and is widely published. She holds an M.A. in Arts Education and Creative Writing from Antioch University and a B.A. in English from The Ohio State University.
Executive Director, Wexner Center for the Arts
Since joining the Wex in 2019, Johanna Burton has concentrated on developing and expanding initiatives actively engaged with the most pressing cultural issues of our times—from equity and accessibility to health and democracy—in addition to overseeing an expansion of the center’s education, outreach, and public programs. Burton’s commitment to setting art in dialogue with larger society was previously realized at the New Museum in New York. During her tenure as Keith Haring Director and Curator of Education and Public Engagement at that institution between 2013 and 2019, she organized pivotal and acclaimed exhibitions and artistic residencies such as Trigger: Gender as a Tool and Weapon (2017), Simone Leigh: The Waiting Room (2016), and Jeffrey Gibson: The Anthropophagic Effect (2019), among many others. Burton also reconceived and edited the New Museum’s renowned book series “Critical Anthologies in Art and Culture.” Burton’s past posts also include Director of the Graduate Program at Bard College’s Center for Curatorial Studies (CCS) and Associate Director & Senior Faculty Member at the Whitney Museum’s Independent Study Program (ISP). She holds an M.A. in Art History from Princeton University (Ph.D., ABD), an M.Phil from New York University in Performance Studies, and an M.A. in Art History, Criticism, and Theory from the State University of New York, Stonybrook. She completed her undergraduate work in Art History at the University of Nevada, Reno. Burton was a Helena Rubinstein Critical Studies Fellow at the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program (ISP) from 200-2001, and a Center for Curatorial Leadership (CCL) Fellow in 2019.
Richmond, VA-based artist Hope Ginsburg has exhibited nationally and internationally at such venues as MoMA PS1, MASS MoCA, University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum, Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University, Baltimore Museum of Art, SculptureCenter, Contemporary Art Center Vilnius, and the Mercosul Biennial in Porto Alegre, Brazil. She is the recipient of a Wexner Center for the Arts Artist Residency Award, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Fellowship, and Art Matters Foundation Grant, as well as grants from National Endowment for the Arts and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Each of Ginsburg’s long-term projects builds community around learning, and her artworks are made with peers, students, scientists, members of the public, and experts with knowledge from outside of the field. Her practice is interdisciplinary, social, and concerned with the well-being of humans and other species on our catastrophically changing planet. Her history with the Wex stretches back 17 years, in the form of exhibitions, film/video residencies, high school education programs, and more. Ginsburg holds a B.A. in Sculpture from Tyler School of Art and an M.S. in Visual Studies from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is an associate professor at Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts.
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