CSU, Chico News

Visiting Artist to Speak on Art, Social Psychology and Contemplative Practice

Date: 08-25-2010

Kathleen McPartland
Public Affairs
Margaret DuFon
English Department

The Faculty Initiative for Transformative Learning (FITL), a faculty learning community at California State University, Chico, is bringing artist and professor Anne Beffel to Chico on Monday, Sept. 13 to speak on “Mindfulness in the Art Classroom: Exploring the Intersection of Art, Social Psychology and Contemplative Practice.” Beffel’s lecture, which is free and open to the public, will be held 5–6:30 p.m. in PAC 134.

Beffel is an associate professor at Syracuse University where she teaches Introduction to Time Arts and Contemplative Arts and Society. As an artist, Beffel intends to raise questions about social justice through her work. She uses digital media and “re-makes” everyday objects and gestures. For example, she has created and distributed thousands of soaps embedded with the phrase “I’m Sorry” as part of her Apologies Project and given away hundreds of “signal mirrors” as part of a September 11th memorial.

Beffel has earned degrees from the University of Michigan and the University of Iowa, and she has participated in the Whitney Museum Independent Studio Program in New York City. She has reached out to viewer-participants across social, economic and geographical divisions. Her most recent projects have been at the Everson Museum in Syracuse, the Gandhi statue in Union Square, New York City and Pioneer Square in downtown Seattle.

“Anne Beffel’s talk is particularly targeted toward faculty who are curious about incorporating mindfulness practices into their instruction,” said Margaret DuFon, a member of FITL. “While her field is art, faculty from any discipline will find her information on practices such as close-listening, self-observation, and the use of mindfulness practices to deepen engagement in the process of inquiry to be of use.”

In addition to faculty, DuFon believes that Beffel’s talk will be of potential interest for community members, especially those in the helping professions such as nurses, social workers, counselors and teachers.

FITL has been awarded a Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching Impact Grant of $5,500 to implement the project titled “Transforming the Faculty, Campus and Community through Education in Contemplative Practice.” The project supports a program of speakers during the 2010–2011 academic year.

The next speaker in the series will be Steve Flowers, MS and MFT, with a presentation on mindfulness-based stress reduction on Thursday, Sept. 16, 4–5:30 pm in Selvester’s Café on the CSU, Chico campus. The talk is designed for anyone who would like to reduce the level of stress in his or her life.

For more information on this speaker series, contact DuFon at (530) 898-6151 or by e-mail.