Usdan Summer Camp for the Arts Taps Pedro Lasch As First-Ever Artist-In-Residence

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Special Project Entitled “Dreaming In The Woods” Kicks Off With Summer 2017; Will be Created In Collaboration with Usdan Students Over Three Camp Seasons

Pedro Lasch, Cover Painting for Dreaming in the Woods: One Short Story and Eleven Paintings, a project for Usdan, 2017 (courtesy of the artist).

Often, collaborations with children are dismissed as not being ‘real art.' I’m excited to be doing this work at Usdan—a camp known for putting students at the center and fostering creativity on all levels—as a way to challenge these typical perspectives.

Usdan Summer Camp for the Arts-- the pre-eminent arts day camp on the East Coast--announced today that its summer 2017 session will include the first stage of an ambitious three-year art commission from internationally exhibited artist and Duke University professor, Pedro Lasch. The project, entitled “Dreaming in the Woods" launches this spring with a series of email prompts to students, designed to spark creativity and interaction. Once camp begins this summer, those interactions will kick off a highly collaborative on-campus engagement between Lasch, Usdan students, faculty and staff.

Envisioning the camp itself as an art medium, participants will combine traditional techniques with socially engaged practices that resonate with the most contemporary forms of art production. Beyond introducing interested students across majors and minors to these new art forms, “Dreaming in the Woods” encourages all to treat the people, grounds, and resources at Usdan as inspiration for the creation of new works that will be exhibited and presented elsewhere.

The participating young artists will gain first-hand experience in making art for contemporary art contexts. They will learn to think of unconventional and everyday settings as fruitful sites for artistic experience and expression, and will be listed as co-authors and collaborators of the project's various segments.

“Often, collaborations with children are dismissed as not being ‘professional” or ‘real art,’” says Lasch. “I’m excited to be doing this work at Usdan—a camp known for putting the student at the center and fostering creativity on all levels—as a way to challenge these typical perspectives and push towards a collaborative and innovative contemporary art engagement.”

“As discussions about launching the Artist-In-Residence program at Usdan took hold, Pedro was always top of mind,” says Lauren Brandt Schloss, Executive Director of Usdan. “The goal of these artists in residence initiatives is to bring into all disciplines of contemporary art the ideas, concerns and voices of youth. Pedro is a perfect partner to launch this program as he’ll not only collaborate with students to create incredible work, but—as one of the foremost scholars in the field of socially conscious art—his efforts will be particularly useful in helping us set up a structure for our future practices and plans for these sorts of programs at Usdan.”

About Pedro Lasch
Pedro Lasch was born and raised in Mexico City. He studied art at Cooper Union (BFA, NY) and Goldsmiths College (MFA, London). Before coming to teach at Duke, he founded and directed the experimental program ‘Art, Story-Telling, and the Five Senses’ (K-12 and beyond) in Jackson Heights, Queens (1999-2005). He has since exhibited his work at PS1 MoMA, Queens Museum, The Phillips Collection, Nasher Museum, the 56th Venice Biennale(CTS, 2015), Havana Biennale (2012), and Documenta 13 (2012), among many others. He loves to collaborate with people of all ages, disciplines, and backgrounds.

About Usdan Summer Camp for the Arts
The nation’s preeminent not-for-profit day camp for the arts, Usdan (usdan.org) has been declared a “Best Of” camp by TimeOutNY/Kids, and by NY Metro Parents. Diverse and playfully rigorous from the start, for nearly fifty years we have brought world-class teachers and visiting artists – actors, directors, playwrights, painters, sculptors, musicians, composers, dancers, poets and novelists – to teach and collaborate with Usdan campers ages 4 to 18. Usdan Summer Camp for the Arts ignites each child’s artistic spirit in a fun, welcoming environment. We believe art making is brave making, friend making, freedom making and future making.

Usdan is an agency of the UJA-Federation of New York. All programs will take place at the camp’s magnificent 140-acre woodland campus, located at 185 Colonial Springs Road in Wheatley Heights, NY 11798.

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