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“Social Drawing: Theory and Praxis in Appalachia” at The Anywhere & Elsewhere Biennial Conference (2018)

Parsons School of Design, The Auditorium, 66 West 12th Street, Room A 106

Thursday November 15th, 10am (conference is November 15th and 16th, 9:30am – 6pm)

Register here

We are honored to be participating in the 2018 Anywhere & Elsewhere Biennial Conference – a free two-day conference on November 15th and 16th at Parsons School of Design, proudly supported as part of a partnership between Parsons Fine Arts (Parsons School of Design, The New School) and the Centre of Visual Art (University of Melbourne).

Curated by Simone Douglas & Sean Lowry, this event features presentations from artists that have successfully navigated blind peer evaluation as part of Project Anywhere’s Global Exhibition Program (2017-2018), together with a series of invited presentations from established artists, designers, scholars, curators and writers actively engaged with practices outside traditional circuits.

We will present “Social Drawing: Theory and Praxis in Appalachia” as part of the RESTRUCTURES panel at 10am on November 15th. Register here.


Bird Closet

Schnormeier Gallery, Mount Vernon Nazarene University

August 27th – September 28th, 2018

Gallery Talk: September 7th, 5 – 6pm / Reception: September 7th, 6 – 9pm

We are so excited to announce an upcoming exhibition of work created by the members of Bird Closet at Mount Vernon Nazarene University‘s Schnormeier Gallery.

“Bird Closet is a collective of young people that developed organically from the relationships established as part of SOIL SERIES: A Social Drawing, an ongoing socially engaged art work in Bethel, OH. In Bird Closet, teens who have played integral roles in the evolution of SOIL SERIES become artists in their own right, working in horizontal collaboration with one another and with SOIL SERIES’s founding artists to create works that excavate Bethel’s past and use this history as material for the creation of a new future. Bird Closet is distinguished by its playful, prankish nature, with output ranging from collages and billboards to bird masks, alter egos, and a rich self-mythology. By conjuring an alternative universe, Bird Closet creates a parallel space in which the artists are free to pursue creative and social projects that may seem otherwise untenable in the world as it exists. Far from escapist, the works of Bird Closet are meant to intervene on material reality and inspire similar explorations by other residents of the area and beyond.”


SOIL SERIES on Bad at Sports podcast at Open Engagement 2018

Episode 639: Art and Ecology


Bad at Sports was founded in 2005 by Duncan MacKenzie, Richard Holland, and Amanda Browder. It now features over 20 principal collaborators and is a weekly podcast, a series of objects, events, and a daily blog produced in Chicago, San Francisco, Detroit and New York City that features artists and art worlders talking about art and the community that makes, reviews and participates in it.

Episode 639: Art and Ecology “features a soil + social practice mega-interview conducted live at Open Engagement 2018. The conversation includes Francesca Fiore and Hillary Wagner explaining what their collaborative effort SOIL SERIES is, and how the project fits into the context of its rural Appalachian setting. Margaretha Haughwout discusses her project for the conference (Trees of Tomorrow) as well as her work with Guerilla Grafters. And Sarah Nelson Wright describes the various iterations of the group effort Chance Ecologies. The imaginative and practical potential of soil + social practice connects all these practices and provides the framework for the dialogue.”


Francesca Fiore and Hillary Wagner of SOIL SERIES present at Open Engagement

SOIL SERIES: A Social Drawing – A Year in Appalachia

Sunday May 13th, 2018 3:30 – 3:35
Main Atrium, First Floor, Queens Museum

SOIL SERIES: A Social Drawing is an ongoing collaboration between artists Francesca Fiore and Hillary Wagner and the rural Appalachian community of Bethel, Ohio. Since the 2016 presidential election, Appalachia has come to the fore in American political discourse. Currently one year into their project, the artists will reflect on the new forms socially engaged praxis can and must take when carried out in the context of rural America.”

Open Engagement (OE) is an annual artist-led conference dedicated to expanding the dialogue around and creating a site of care for the field of socially engaged art. The conference highlights the work of transdisciplinary artists, activists, students, scholars, community members, and organizations working within the complex social issues and struggles of our time.

Open Engagement 2018 will take place May 11 – 13, 2018 at the Queens Museum and a constellation of sites throughout New York City. In addition to exploring the intersections of art and activism, this year’s conference will explore the expansive theme of SUSTAINABILITY and will feature presenters Lucy Lippard and Mel Chin.


SOIL SERIES: A Social Drawing Selected to Participate in Project Anywhere‘s 2018 Global Exhibition Program

Published at

We are thrilled to announce SOIL SERIES: A Social Drawing‘s participation in Project Anywhere’s 2018 Global Exhibition Program. Project Anywhere is a global blind peer reviewed exhibition program dedicated to promoting artistic research at the outermost limits of location-specificity. Since its inception in 2012, it has hosted between 4 and 9 projects annually. Although descriptions and images of hosted projects are featured on a dedicated website, it is important to stress that Project Anywhere is neither an online gallery nor a journal. It is instead a vehicle for illuminating artistic projects located anywhere and elsewhere in space and time. It is perhaps best imagined as an exhibition space comprising the entire globe in which the role of curator is replaced with a peer evaluation system.

We are also happy to announce that we will be presenting at Project Anywhere‘s third biennial conference, which will be held on November 15-16 2018 at Parsons School of Design in New York City. You can view the conference publication from Anywhere Elsewhere 2016 and watch videos of the presentations here.


Read: “Social Drawing as a Model for Community-First Engagement”

by Francesca Fiore

(from Artist (Residency) and the City)

First published on (in collaboration with Residency Unlimited)

Francesca Fiore’s contribution to ArtsEverywhere’s Global Roundtable, Artist (Residency) and the City. The roundtable was inspired by a day-long symposium organized by Residency Unlimited entitled Embedded, Embedding: Artist Residencies, Urban Placemaking and Social Practice. Ten international artists were asked to respond to the question (introduced by symposium curator Livia Alexander): “What role can urban planning and cultural policies play in navigating the slippery boundaries between nurturing artistic agency and social engagement, and advancing broader policy initiatives of urban economic growth? Does the artist residency model offer the appropriate conceptual setting for effective implementation?” Read the artists’ responses at, and check out ArtsEverywhere’s other Global Roundables.


MVNU Artist Talk: An Introduction to Socially Engaged Art

Thursday, November 16th, 2017 at 7pm

MVNU Hunter Hall (Room 111) 221 S. Main St, Mount Vernon, OH 43050

You are invited by the Mount Vernon Nazarene University art and design department and artists Francesca Fiore and Hillary Wagner (MVNU Alumnus ’14) for an evening of thoughtful discussion around the topic of socially engaged art. Francesca and Hillary will retrace the paths that led them to their current collaborative project, SOIL SERIES: A Social Drawing, and to the contemporary field of art known as social practice.

The artists met in the MFA program at Parsons School of Design in New York City, and shortly after graduation, they moved to the rural village of Bethel in Appalachian Ohio. SOIL SERIES: A Social Drawing aims to reestablish networks of nourishment in Bethel, a village struggling with high unemployment, rising poverty levels, and a staggering opioid epidemic. Together with a local non-profit, Empower Youth, Francesca and Hillary are transforming a 15-acre farm into a site for expanded access to nutritious food, cultural programming, and mentorship at the intersection of art and agriculture.

Please join us to think about how artists can best work in collaboration with struggling communities and the non-profits at work within them.


SOIL SERIES Inaugural Art Exhibition and Silent Auction

Friday, October 27th, 2017  3:30 – 8pm (Empower Youth’s festivities conclude at 7 pm, but the exhibition will be open to the public until 8 pm)

The EY Ranch, 2800 State Route 125, Bethel, OH 45106

We are so excited to announce our first ever art exhibition showcasing artwork by our amazing Community Studio artists! The exhibition will take place at the Empower Youth Ranch during Empower Youth’s Ribbon Cutting event.

Come out to support the volunteers, donors, and friends of Empower Youth who have helped transform the ranch over the past six months into a thriving center for community nourishment. The event is to celebrate the completion of Peachie’s Place, Empower Youth’s new packing facility for their weekly food bags, and tours of the ranch’s completed and in-progress facilities will take place throughout the evening. Artwork from Community Studios will be displayed inside Peachie’s Place and throughout the Barn Studio, and Francesca and Hillary will be present to answer questions and talk about their future plans for SOIL SERIES: A Social Drawing. 

We are also thrilled to announce our partnership with Pneuma Coffee of The 86 Coffee Bar and Concert Venue in Cincinnati for this event, who will generously provide specialty coffee drinks throughout the evening. There will also be a DJ and a silent auction to benefit SOIL SERIES and Empower Youth programming. Don’t miss it!


Learn more about SOIL SERIES: A Social Drawing: