Summer Sessions: Commonwealth
Thinking out loud, in public about spaces we share
Creating dialogue about issues of public interest, getting people talking and laughing and debating about things that matter to them, learning from these conversations, and relying upon them to help guide our future programming—these are core to our work. This summer, discussion takes center stage with Summer Sessions: Commonwealth, the first of three summertime projects that will transform our first-floor gallery into a colorful, flexible space and will change week by week as it accumulates traces of evolving conversations. Please join us to add your voice to these discussions and your words to the gallery’s walls.
This year, we explore the historic and present-day implications of the term “commonwealth.” Week by week, we will hash out what it means to live in a commonwealth such as Virginia and how that commonwealth can and should evolve in the 21st century. Centuries ago, “the commonwealth” was understood to refer to a model of political organization whose goal was public welfare or the common good. The “commons” referred to a medieval notion of cultural or natural resources to which all members of society had access, and “wealth” referred to happiness or well-being. Considering both common wealth and common debts, through these sessions we will consider how we might recover the larger meaning and potential of “the commonwealth.” Themes include: Natural Resources, Built Environment, Dependence + Independence, Assembly, and Public Domain.
Join us for public sessions on select Wednesday evenings and Saturday afternoons. Planned with local hosts, the sessions will mix artists, designers, scholars, activists and other experts from within and beyond VCU and Richmond. Formats include: social hours, lectures, small-group conversations, workshops, performances, and screenings. Sessions are free and open to all. Those who seek deep study may participate in the entire sequence, or you may choose to join an individual event. Drop-in visitors are welcome to observe or join sessions if space allows.
The space is designed by DSGN AGNC + Fundacíon Horizontal + El Equipo Mazzanti, as “a place where individual stories and practices can connect, where we foster new relationships, knowledge, and a collective redefinition of the common.”
Summer Sessions: Commonwealth is organized by the Institute for Contemporary Art. The project is part of the ICA’s contribution to Commonwealth (working title), a multi-year collaboration with Beta-local (San Juan, Puerto Rico) and Philadelphia Contemporary (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania).