fig. 35: The Roof is on Fire
Performance with 220 Teenagers, (on a rooftop garage)
Oakland, CA, 1994, © Suzanne Lacy

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Suzanne Lacy

Suzanne Lacy is an artist, writer and video producer whose work includes large scale performances on urban themes. She is a theorist of public art and a pioneer in community development through art.

Lacy is the Executive Artistic Director of TEAM, an organization she founded in 1991 with photographer Chris Johnson and producer Annice Jacoby. She has been a driving force in the public art movement for over twenty years and is best known for her socially oriented, large scale, tableau÷like installations and performances. These structures combine art exhibits, performances, video and audio tracks, workshops, collaborations, public speak outs, symposia and demonstrations - all amplified by extensive media coverage. Dependent on long-term involvement of participants and community organizing, Lacy orchestrates complex behind-the-scenes scenarios, directing teams of collaborating artists and choreographing the movement of scores of non-artists who come together to address social issues and build community through her experiential, experimental art process.

Lacy has been a Guggenheim Fellow, a Lila Wallace Arts International Fellow, and the recipient of several National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships. She is the author of over 40 published articles and her work has been documented in art anthologies, in television specials produced by PBS and NBC, and in countless national and international news broadcasts. Lacy is artist-in-residence for Oakland's strategic planning organization Oakland Sharing the Vision; editor of Mapping the Terrain, a seminal book on public art and social activism; is a founding faculty of the Visual and Public Art Program at California State University at Monterey Bay and has been Dean of Fine Arts at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, California since the mid-1980s.

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All text © Terri Cohn and Suzanne Lacy.