Creating Good-enough Containers: Reflections on Queerness in Community-based Museum Education

November 6, 2019 at 6:00 p.m.

Weaving between their interdisciplinary art practice and community-based art education projects, Downey will discuss the ways queerness has inspired forms of radical self determination and interdependence.

Aligned with their article, “Creating Good-Enough Containers,”  Downey’s work connects their personal experience as a younger queer artist and their transition into art education (after working for six years in a nursing home). At the center of this work is their interest in embodiment and helping others use art to access self expression. Art, in its possibilities for unlimited play and experimentation, has allowed Downey to acknowledge the diverse forms of precarity and systemic oppression and create spaces for new forms of belonging – to ourselves and each other. Downey will speak to the challenges that arise from fear and inequity.

Downey’s talk will explore questions like: How do you create spaces that feel safe enough for the vulnerability of self expression? What’s really involved in the politics of inclusion? What does the work of a white person committed to antiracism and decolonization entail on a personal and practical level in their teaching?

Queerness, at its best, lays bare the power structures that produce us, and celebrates everyday aliveness over linear progress, uncertainty over certitude, our weirdness over normalization, self-expression over self-promotion, and community over individualism.

– Kerry Downey, “Creating Good-Enough Containers: Reflections on Queerness in Community-based Museum Education,” 2018

About the Presenter:

Kerry Downey is an interdisciplinary artist and educator based in New York City. Downey’s teaching and artwork explores relationality through the multitude of ways we inhabit our bodies and access forms of power. They work primarily in video with a practice that includes printmaking, drawing, writing and performance. Downey is also a freelance teaching artist at the Museum of Modern Art, running more than fifteen Community and Access Partnerships in the five boroughs of New York City.

While the idea of a “safe space” may be a myth within this system, one can seek out containers for radical self-determination.

– Kerry Downey

This artist talk is generously co-sponsored through a grant from the College of Fine Arts Diversity and Inclusion Committee.


6 p.m. Nov. 6, 2019

Event Contacts