Fall 2021 Reopening Plans
We will reopen our campuses for classes, activities, and residential living in Fall 2021. Find the latest information on our Fall 2021 Plan page.

At the Community Engagement Office, we work to foster just and reciprocal relationships with communities through innovative, socially-engaged art and design programs and partnerships that create avenues for you to extend your learning beyond the walls of our school. With a focus on racial equity and social innovation, we develop opportunities for students and communities in Cambridge, Somerville, and Greater Boston to participate in activities ranging from artist lectures and hands-on workshops to collaborative courses and public art projects that stimulate positive social change.

Community Partners

We connect contemporary art and design practice and social justice initiatives by fostering partnerships with nonprofit art organizations, museums, local and regional high schools, institutions and consortia. The Dean’s Community Advisory Council was established in Fall 2015 with the college’s move from Boston’s Kenmore Square to the Lunder Arts Center and new Animation and Visual Effects (VFX) studios in Cambridge’s Porter Square.

students drawing on sidewalk with chalk

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Lesley Art + Design Visiting Artist Series

The Lesley Art and Design Visiting Artist Series invites national and internationally recognized artists to speak about their work and practice. The artists work directly with students through one-on-one and classroom critiques, as well as community-wide workshops or exhibitions. The series bridges the contemporary art world to the greater-Lesley community by fostering dialogue between artists and students. Evening lectures are always free and open to the public.

artist talking to student in small artist studio space

Past Visiting Artists

  • Kaz Oomori

    Kaz Oomori's highly regarded illustrations have received international attention and a client list that includes Walt Disney Studios, Marvel Studios, Lucas Film Ltd and Warner Brother's Studios. He has made significant contributions to the film industry through his visual approach that challenges the cultural and societal narratives in films and the way they are promoted.

    digital poster of Avengers movie with the characters flying out of the center

    Oomori also teaches at Nara College of Arts in Nara, Japan where Lesley students and faculty have visited and partnered with as part of the Japan travel course. As part of the Visiting Artist Series, Oomori collaborated with illustration alumni and students to create a permanent large-scale mural in University Hall.

  • Alex Jackson

    Jackson's process has been described by him as, “A mining through historical narratives, Afrodiasporic histories and geographies, science fiction, global modernisms, and a discourse on representation.”

    Textile collage of people sitting on the ground in the woods

    Jackson creates a distinctive tableau of painting figuration and narrative imagery. Recent shows of his include Zevitas Marcus, Los Angeles; Elmhurst Art Museum, Elmhurst, IL; Green Gallery, Yale University; and Steven Zevitas Gallery, Boston.

  • Wardell Milan

    Working at the dynamic intersection of drawing, painting and photography, Milan began as an artist in residence at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture before earning an MFA at Yale University. His three-dimensional dioramas gained considerable recognition and have been exhibited at The Studio Museum in Harlem, and The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh.

    digital print with collaged imagery of nude people in a lush green forest
    "Miss Floral Pageant"

    As part of the series, Milan visited several fine art senior studios where he looked at final projects and shared some helpful advice. He also collaborated with our community partners at the deCordova museum with an installation piece and outdoor lecture.

  • JooYoung Choi '12

    MFA in Visual Arts alumna, Choi merges fantasy with autobiography in multidisciplinary work that explores a fictional land called the Cosmic Womb. Her work has been exhibited at The Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience, The National Museum of Mexican Art, and the Contemporary Art Museum of Houston.

    painting of women and animals sitting in a circle connected by white lines on top of a green checkered background
    "Big Time Rescue"

    As part of the series, Choi hosted several workshops for Lesley students and participated in classroom critiques. Her work was also exhibited on campus in the Raizes gallery, as part of the "Kith & Kin" show.

  • Trenton Doyle Hancock

    Trenton Doyle Hancock creates prints, drawings and collaged felt paintings which tell the story of his mythical characters called the Mounds. His work is influenced by comics, films and music that convey symbolic meaning through traditional painterly forms. Hancock is one of the youngest artists to ever participate in the Whitney Biennial and was also featured in a major exhibit at Mass MoCA. He has also served as an MFA in Visual Arts faculty mentor over the years for many graduate students and artists.

    collaged fabrics and painted elements on black surface
    "Duel by a Bleeder"

    Participating in classroom critiques and gallery talks, Hancock exhibited work in Raizes during the Artist Series.

  • Alex Da Corte

    Conceptual artist Alex Da Corte works in painting, sculpture, installation and video art. Known for using surreal imagery combined with everyday objects, his work explores ideas of consumerism, pop culture, literature and mythology. Da Corte's work has been shown at La Biennale di Venezia, 2019 and Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia.

    gallery photo of house frame made of neon tubes in an orange lit room
    "Rubber Pencil Devil"

    As part of the Visiting Artist Series, Da Corte visited senior studios and participated in one-on-one critiques with fine arts and interdisciplinary students.

group of students at table with plants outfront of the lunder arts center

Community Workshops

Explore different concepts and technologies in art and design, make new connections, or refine skills. Attend our high school workshops during the academic year. Participate in workshops co-presented with the Cambridge Arts Council, City of Cambridge, Cambridge Art Association, Boston International Kids Film Festival, the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy, and other local organizations.

A mother and daughter smile while playing a game.

PARTICIPATE

Through our PARTICIPATE initiative, we develop participatory public art projects with community organizations and neighboring schools. Each project is designed to strengthen student learning as informed by community interests. Check out some of the ways we have collaborated with the Porter Square Neighbors Association, Arts on the Avenue Committee, Boston Society of Architects, and the Community Development Department of the City of Cambridge.

Contact Community Engagement