Suggested Reading: A tense Thanksgiving, social justice, compassion, art as advocacy, and innovation in social practice

This was perhaps the most tense Thanksgiving in recent history as a Grand Jury decided not to press charges against the Police Officer who shot and killed Ferguson, MO resident Mike Brown. The news of the non-indictment swept the nation and added fervor to the protests and discourse about excessive force, racial profiling, and . There was also some unfortunate occurrences of violence and looting from individuals who were completely unrelated to the peaceful protests. Regardless of  whether or not a crime (shoplifting) was committed in the first place, the response from many who (refuse to) believe that widespread oppression of African Americans exists in our country has simply been fueled by their racism and the longstanding history racial tension in places like Ferguson.On a local level there were huge marches throughout the city.

– There was also a Mural of Mike Brown that appeared in Bushwick shortly thereafter. via ANIMAL

– St. Louis Museums decided to close after the Grand Jury decision. via Hyperallergic 

– Be sure to check out this upcoming exhibition called “The Confined Arts,” featuring work by incarcerated artists from across the country, and work related to social justice. Co-Curated by the organization Die Jim Crow. The opening is Friday, 12/19/14 from 7pm – 11pm.

– “As “social practice” education, publishing and exhibiting are institutionalized through curricula, designated funding streams, and curatorial innovations, will it be possible to resist the return of our well-rehearsed relations of production and systems of judgment and evaluation, such as the privileged authorship of the artist and the positive value assigned to surprising, creative, virtuosic, and new forms of representation?” Artist Robert Sember responds in A Blade of Grass’ Growing Dialog series about innovation in socially engaged art. via A Blade of Grass

– Were you one of the many who took selfies in front of Kara Walker’s 75 ft long sugar sphinx? If so you were on candid camera! via Vulture

– A pastor in Greenpoint Brooklyn had some very poignant words about the harsh realities of homelessness in the community. via DNAinfo

More Art and the School of Visual Arts hosted a panel discussion on the role of art as an advocacy tool for the homeless. The discussion was moderated by William McAllister, senior research fellow and director of the Mellon Interdisciplinary Fellows Program/INCITE, Columbia University, focusing on how art can be used as a transformative tool for the homeless. This event includes a screening of a short film about Residents of New York, a public work by Andres Serrano developed as a case study for using art to raise awareness about homelessness. Panelists include Susan Craine, director of community and corporate programs, New York Cares; John Leo, actor, Theater of the Oppressed; Marcus Moore, leader of civil rights and housing campaigns, Picture The Homeless; Maaji Newbold, actor, Theater of the Oppressed; and Heidi Schmidt, public affairs manager, office of external affairs, New York City Department of Homeless.

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