Montalvo Explores Global Health in SOCIAL: Rethinking Loneliness Together Series

Montalvo Explores Global Health in SOCIAL: Rethinking Loneliness Together Series

Montalvo Arts Center has launched a year-long arts-based investigation entitled SOCIAL: Rethinking Loneliness Together, a series of public engagements that will invite audiences to join a shared conversation exploring loneliness, together. Through workshops, walks, screenings, exhibitions, lectures, and new artist commissions on Montalvo's grounds and beyond, questions about human connection in a digital world, ways to nourish social engagement, and approaches to building a future based on true connections and meaningful communities will be explored along with reflections on the value of solitude. For more information and a full schedule of events, the public can visit or call (408) 961-5858.

"At a time when people are more connected than ever through social media, loneliness has emerged as a major global public health crisis," says Executive Director Angela McConnell. In 2017, the US Surgeon General, Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy, called loneliness the "most common pathology" he encountered in all his years of medical practice. In 2018, the UK appointed a "minister for loneliness" to address social and health issues caused by social isolation. In Japan, robots designed to provide companionship are now emerging to combat rising loneliness in a country where 40% of its citizens will live alone by 2040. Through workshops, walks, screenings, exhibitions, and new artist commissions on Montalvo's grounds and beyond, guests will be invited to engage with artists and explore solitude while discovering new (and old) ways that essential connections can be built in our digital world.

Major art installations and projects that will be presented as part of this new programmatic series includes The Mending Project, The Museum of Sentimental Taxonomy, a lone, and Social Spaces. In an effort to create connections between strangers, internationally acclaimed visual artist Lee Mingwei created The Mending Project, an interactive installation featuring several simple elements - thread, color, sewing - as a point of departure. Premiering at Montalvo in 2020, The Museum of Taxonomy is a roving exhibition that showcases Bay Area artist Kija Lucas' ongoing photographic investigation of objects of sentiment. In partnership with Vignettes, Montalvo will also present a lone, a series of visual and audio public art installations created for the (un)expectant viewer to encounter in their daily landscape. Seeking to inspire and provoke questions about what it means to experience loneliness, together, in the changing landscapes of growing cities, new works by local and national artists and poets will be selected and presented in public spaces throughout the Bay Area beginning in May 2020. Lastly, Montalvo will commission three new temporary installations in its public park designed for gathering, contemplation, and celebration. Social Spaces will be a response to the theme of SOCIAL: Rethinking Loneliness Together. Produced through the Lucas Artists Program at Montalvo, each of these new works will examine how one can re-imagine and create new social spaces that help us foster deeper and more lasting connections with one another, while also reminding visitors of the benefits of self-reflection and time alone.

The year-long project will also offer the public a wide variety of workshops and classes. With subjects ranging from ceramics, photography, dance, and more, these classes were designed to develop ideas of community, connection, and sense of self in a changing world. Classes are not sequential and may be taken independently. All skill levels, from the curious novice to the practiced professional, are welcome.

Seeking to inspire and provoke questions about what it means to experience loneliness in the changing landscapes of our growing cities, lectures on the topic of Designing for Wellness (Oct. 17) and Creating Community: Artists Discuss Immigration, Mentorship, Collaboration, and Placemaking (Apr. 22) will also be presented.

Photo Courtesy of Taipei Fine Arts Museum

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