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Community

Purpose, team, and Supporters

 

MISSION: LEARN, EXPERIENCE & DO

The Walk Discourse (TWD) started as a social practice art project and has grown into an educational platform and research laboratory that cross-pollinates neighboring fields. We are committed to fusing arts and culture within a multiplicity of sectors such as health, transportation, planning, justice, and the environment in order to build stronger, more equitable communities.

TWD offers a framework to learn and think about the role of walking in relation to art, society and the local environment. The Walk Discourse engages people through the active and playful practice of walking and exploring space, be it rural or urban. Through this connection of body and physical space we encourage our participants to study, observe and experience the local built environment. 

TWD believes that learning occurs by doing, like philosopher, psychologist and educational reformer John Dewey and philosopher Henri Lefebvre did. The Walk Discourse is a project deeply embedded in our everyday that emphasizes a bottom-up approach towards understanding the places we live in.

VISION: PROMOTE, ENCOURAGE & INSPIRE

TWD promotes walking art as a vehicle to stimulate social-just urban planning processes and use the power of community engagement through the arts to heighten civic engagement on a local level.

TWD encourages communities to realize that by walking the places they inhabit they can make sense of the environment and contribute shaping their neighborhoods through imagination, personal interactions and activism.

TWD inspires people to experience contemporary society and the urban and rural landscape through all senses (seeing, hearing, listening, tasting, feeling). Through this relationship TWD aims to promote human relationship building processes, a deep engagement with the communities we live in, personal well-being and active citizenship.

VALUES: INVEST, SUPPORT & EXCHANGE

Invest in the place we live in through art, research and exploration of places

Support society through active engagement that includes all senses

Exchange information about the environment we live in, in a playful manner

GOAL: BUILD, INCREASE & SHARE

To build a community through shared activities in public spaces to increase participation in democratic decision-making processes on a local level.

To increase the number of steps U.S. citizens make, daily, from approx. 5,000 to 12,000 per person.

To share the power of walking in public space as a tool to build community, support individual well-being, drive creativity and promote active citizenship.



Why Walking?

Virginia Woolf, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, John Muir, Henry David Thoreau (to name a few) have emphasized the importance of walking as a means to understand the society we live in, create a healthy life-work balance while also generating impactful creative thoughts that allow us to tackle life & work challenges. Walking allows us to articulate the urban system through the human body, it can be understood as a speech act of the feet. In the 1960s the Situationist International made use of walking art to unearth information about European cities, such as Amsterdam, Paris and Strassburg to impact social-just urban planning processes through the arts. It is the belief in community engagement through the arts, the possibilities inherent in social art practices and the wish to impact placemaking strategies through careful study of what is already present in our cities, that drives The Walk Discourse. The results are not concrete and tangible but rather a stimulus to built upon. TWD can be understood as a catalyst, it serves as an interdisciplinary laboratory for our community members.


Meet the Organizers

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Astrid Kaemmerling founded The Walk Discourse with the aim to share her research knowledge and fascination around walking art with a larger audience. She has many talents and is known as adjunct professor, social entrepreneur, community professional, researcher, artist and tireless optimist. She is fascinated by the role and function of art in urban redevelopment processes and uses her passion to sharpen cultural understanding by investing in community building processes through arts & culture. She earned a B.A. and M.A. in Fine Art & English Education from TU Dortmund University, Germany, and a Ph.D. from the College of Fine Arts, School of Interdisciplinary Arts at Ohio University, Athens, Ohio.

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Documentary Community Photographer
Susanne Huth

Susanne Huth has documented many Walkshops and thus helped with the creation of our new homepage including the archive. Susanne Huth is a German-born photographer, media artist and educator who lives and works in Berkeley, California and Berlin, Germany. She earned her MFA from the Academy of Fine Arts Leipzig (HGB), Germany. Huth uses a subjective documentary approach for her critical inner-city and suburban explorations. She employs photography, cross-media and video installations. Her work has been published in several artist's books. Huth has presented at exhibitions in Germany, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, UK, France, and the United States. She received several awards and fellowships, such as the cultural exchange grant by Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe, a grant by the German Academic Exchange Service, and Goldrausch Berlin. Currently, she is a resident artist at Kala Art Institute Berkeley.

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GloBal Intern
Elia Rita

Elia has been providing editing and writing support and has given input to make the new web presence become a reality. She is a visual artist immersed in a new learning process about organic agriculture and physical therapy, as a linear progress from her walking-centered practice and research. Elia has worked as a curatorial intern in the Department of Media and Performance Art at MoMA, a teaching artist for women and kids at risk of exclusion at Asociación Alanna and Proyecto Vivir, Spain, an art journalist for Art Practical, a development and fundraising events intern at Southern Exposure, and as an editorial coordinator of the wiki-translation of Toward a Lexicon of Usership by Stephen Wright. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts with honors by the Polytechnic University of Valencia, Spain.

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San Francisco Bay Area Collaborator
Minoosh Zomorodinia

She has had an instrumental impact upon TWD’s success in the Bay Area arts community, and helped to make a vision & idea become reality. Furthermore, she used her photography skills and documented Season 1. Minoosh is an Iranian-born artist working in photography, video, performance, and installation to make visible for audiences her emotional and psychological reflections as seen in her mind’s eye and inspired by nature. She trusts and allows her creative process to reveal intuitive insights, giving form to unconscious knowledge of deeper mysterious truths. She received an MFA in New Genres from San Francisco Art Institute (2015), an M.A. in graphic design (2006) and a B.A. in photography (1998) from the Art and Architecture Azad University in Tehran, Iran. Her work has been exhibited locally and internationally in Iran, USA, Finland, Romania, South Korea, Canada, England, and Mexico.


Partners, Sponsors & Supporters (Past & Present)

 
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AKArt is an art advisory agency as well as an independent curatorial platform. AKArt has unparalleled experience developing major art initiatives from the ground up, offering private + corporate curation, collection management + creative consulting on strategy, programming, exhibitions, strategic partnerships, brand development, marketing, public relations, events + sales.

 
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Southern Exposure's Alternative Exposure grant program supports the independent, self-organized work of artists and small groups that play a critical and significant role within the San Francisco Bay Area arts community. The program, launched in 2007 in partnership with the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. In 2017, Facebook’s Artist in Residence program provided additional funding to expand visibility for grantees with short video documentaries about their projects and a culminating daylong summit in Spring 2019.

 
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The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts was established in 1987. In accordance with Andy Warhol's will, its mission is the advancement of the visual arts.

 
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Artsightful specializes in providing arts business development and career coaching to individual artists, arts managers and board members. From vision to action you can reach your goals.

 
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Collect For Change™ collaborates with artists across disciplines to offer a unique, as well as socially-responsible, means of collecting. A percentage of all sales benefits an organization personally selected by each artist. Our mission is to be a force for positive change in the art world, and the world at large.

 

D&tQ is a creative studio based in Pittsburgh PA and Brooklyn NY, co-founded by artists David William and Nathan Manuel. Dutchess & the Queen specialize in branding, design, and illustration for print and web, as well as creative project management. They designed this very website!

 
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Facebook’s Artist-in-Residence Program supports the creation of new and experimental projects globally, aiming to build community through art.

 
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GFTA’s mission is to promote the City of San Francisco by supporting the arts. This is accomplished by supporting arts organizations’ general operating expenses; there is no limit to the number of years a group can continue to receive funds.

 

We are a member of Intersection for the Arts. Intersection for the Arts is a historic arts nonprofit in San Francisco that provides people working in arts and culture with fiscal sponsorship and resources to grow

 
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re.riddle is an itinerant gallery featuring site-specific exhibitions and pop-up events in San Francisco, Paris and London. We showcase contemporary artworks that are socially engaging, multidisciplinary and aesthetically sophisticated. Our mission is to contribute to the discourse on contemporary art in thought-provoking and playfully subversive ways.

 
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The San Francisco Arts Commission Galleries makes contemporary art accessible to broad audiences through curated exhibitions that both reflect our regional diversity and position Bay Area visual art production within an international art landscape.

 

Southern Exposure (SoEx) is an artist-centered non-profit organization committed to supporting visual artists. Through our extensive and innovative programming, SoEx strives to experiment, collaborate and further educate while providing an extraordinary resource center and forum for Bay Area and national artists and youth in our Mission District space and off-site, in the public realm.