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Artist Lecture Paul Coffey
Sculpture Crit Room 3: 1000 W. Broad Street, Richmond, VA
Paul Coffey currently leads the Office of Engagement at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where he and his team are responsible for external partnerships nationally and internationally, including a local community partnership: Oaks of North Lawndale, a social sculpture in the North Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago.
Oaks of North Lawndale brings the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the City of Chicago and the North Lawndale community together to reimagine the neighborhood as a verdant, peaceful and tree-lined place. Inspired by artist Joseph Beuys’ 7,000 Oaks (Germany, 1982), this project aims to address job creation and economic development, environmental improvements, equity issues, and encourage wellbeing by reforesting the 3.2 square miles of the North Lawndale neighborhood. The aim is to welcome collaborators to develop programming that addresses their needs, where collaborators and local businesses can grow and scale alongside the project. Examples of this collaboration are a partnership with the North Lawndale Employment Network on a job training program for at-risk youth; the skills developed via this program aim to create the future workforce for the urban agriculture, landscape construction, and urban forestry industries.