NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – In keeping with a new class being taught this spring at Bethel College, the next Greer Lecture will be by Chicago artist, organizer and activist Christa Donner.
Donner will give a public presentation April 24 at 7:30 p.m. in the Administration Building chapel – after meeting earlier in the day with Rachel Epp Buller’s Activism, Art and Design class.
Epp Buller, Bethel associate professor of visual art and design, wrote a successful application to the National Art Education Foundation’s Mary McMullan Grant program in 2016 that enabled her to develop the new class and to bring in guest speakers, including Donner.
“Christa is an innovative organizer who is working for sustainable change in the art world,” Epp Buller said. “I am thrilled that she can come to campus to talk with Bethel students about her art activism.”
Donner has titled her public lecture “Of Many Possible Futures, and Imagining How to Get There.”
“Christa is very interested in issues of sustainability,” Epp Buller continued. “She and I have a forthcoming publication together, ‘Who Cares in the Anthropocene Age?,’ in Mapping the Maternal: Art, Ethics, and the Anthropocene, edited by Natalie Loveless and Sheena Wilson.”
In addition to teaching and making art, Donner runs an organization called Cultural ReProducers (see www.culturalreproducers.org).
The group’s website describes Cultural ReProducers as “an evolving group of active cultural workers (professional artists, designers, curators, musicians, performers, writers, etc.) who are also parents.”
Donner founded Cultural ReProducers in 2012 as a creative platform, web resource and community-based project “for anyone interested in making the art world a more inclusive and interesting place by supporting arts professionals raising kids.”
Donner has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in drawing from the Cleveland Institute of Art and a Master of Fine Arts in studio arts from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
As the first recipient of the Wendy L. Moore Emerging Artist Award, she launched her first solo exhibition at the Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art in 1999.
She has been actively exhibiting, publishing, teaching and curating ever since, using large-scale drawings and small-press publications to explore issues involving the human body and other biological forms.
Her process often incorporates public projects and collaborations around personal narratives of bodily experience. Her work has been exhibited in New York, Los Angeles and throughout the United States, as well as in Japan, Germany, Switzerland, Colombia, Cyprus, Sweden and Finland.
Donner currently teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and “harbors a healthy obsession for” independent comics and other small-press publications. She continues to experiment with the sculptural and narrative properties of ink and paper.
Her current artist statement says, in part: “My recent work draws upon the internal ecosystems of the microbiome, the altered geology of the Anthropocene, and the colony structures of social insects to propose speculative models that move between the emotional architecture of our own bodies and the layered histories of the world we inhabit.
“Using pigment and paper to explore the fragile but flexible nature of these interconnected systems makes sense to me, whether it’s through the layered illogic of collage or the immersive qualities of large-scale painting and installation.”
The late Dr. Robert C. and Amparo Goering initiated the Greer Fine Arts Endowment at Bethel in 1979 in memory of their friend Milford E. Greer Jr., who was interested in literature and music and excelled as an artist, and who died in an auto accident in 1972 at age 45. The Greer Endowment helps bring visiting artists and scholars in the areas of music, visual arts or theater to the Bethel campus.