UNLV Department of Art Announces the Selection of its Inaugural Transformation Fellow

Feb. 5, 2019

The Department of Art at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas is delighted to announce the selection of its inaugural Transformation Fellow, Brooklyn-based artist Amanda Browder (amandabrowder.com). Faculty and students in the Department of Art selected Browder from a competitive pool of over one hundred applicants from all over the world. While many of the applications were excellent, Browder articulated a particularly inspiring vision for bringing people together that reflects the mission of the College of Fine Arts at UNLV: “The College of Fine Arts, a creative nexus anchored within the vibrant and diverse culture of Las Vegas, boldly launches visionaries who transform the global community through collaboration, scholarship, and innovation.”

The Department of Art has already begun to make plans and work with students, faculty, and its partners in the College of Fine Arts and outside the University to introduce Browder to the most exciting art and design city anywhere. Browder involves community members in all aspects of her work. During her Transformation Fellowship, from February 20th - April 5th, 2019, Amanda will be in residence in Las Vegas creating “The Land of Hidden Gems,” a large-scale fabric installation using recycled and donated materials with the goal of fostering new connections between Las Vegas residents and the students, staff, and faculty at UNLV. Browder will install the artwork on UNLV’s storied Archie C. Grant Hall. The artwork will reflect the expansiveness of the surrounding desert and mountain-scape and the various micro- and macro-environments within and around the city. Browder is deeply invested in the power of socially engaged art to strengthen community. During and after the installation, participants will be invited to share personal and collective thoughts and memories through written comments or short videos. Browder is currently soliciting fabric donations and recruiting local volunteers to participate in public sewing events.

“I think ‘The Land of Hidden Gems’ will be truly transformative,” says Marcus Civin, UNLV Professor and Chair of the Department of Art. “One of the features of Amanda’s work I admire is how she engages so many people in donating and sewing fabric. The installation of the resulting quilt-like artwork becomes a monumental blanket to embrace an aspect of a community and its architecture. Everyone who wants to be is welcome to be a co-author of Amanda’s work. I’m bringing out my sewing needles and look forward to rolling up my sleeves and working together with the Las Vegas community. I predict that the final installation will show the influence of the diverse world cultures that shape our city and make it such a phenomenal place to live, study, and flourish as an artist or a designer. I bet our installation in Las Vegas will also be pretty sparkly!”

Born in Missoula, MT in 1976, Browder received her MFA from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). She has exhibited in the US, Canada, The Czech Republic, and Japan. Exhibition venues include White Columns and the New Museum in New York, The Dumbo Arts Festival in Brooklyn, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. In 2016, she received a National Endowment for the Arts grant and worked with the Albright Knox Art Gallery to drape three buildings in Buffalo, New York. Browder is also a founder of the well-loved art podcast Bad at Sports: Contemporary Art Talk Without the Ego. (Listen here: www.badatsports.com.) Photos and reviews of Browder’s work have appeared in The New York Times and Fibers Magazine.

To kick off her time in Las Vegas, Browder will give a free public lecture Thursday, February 21, at 7 pm at UNLV’s Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art titled “Amanda Browder: #FabricOnBuildings - The Aesthetics of a Collective Experience.” She will discuss her collaborative, community-focused art practice and the transformation of everyday spaces through the medium of textile sculpture. Come ready with questions about “The Land of Hidden Gems.” [https://www.unlv.edu/barrickmuseum] An exhibition of documentation of the project is scheduled to close out the project this Spring in the UNLV Department of Art Grant Hall Gallery, April 1 - April 12.  

To keep up-to-date on this dynamic project, please follow “UNLV Department of Art,” and “Amanda Browder: Transformation Fellow with the Department of Art at UNLV” on Facebook, @unlvtheear on Instagram, and the hashtags #TheLandofHiddenGems and #unlvtransformationfellow. To donate fabric or host a workshop contact project coordinator and UNLV MFA candidate Holly Lay, holly.lay@unlv.edu. You can also drop off fabric at Winchester Dondero Cultural Center, on the UNLV campus at the Barrick Museum of Art, the Donna Beam Gallery, and the UNLV Department of Art Office (HFA 152). More drop-off locations to be announced soon.

Find the list of upcoming sewing workshops led by Browder HERE.