The University of Massachusetts Amherst
HFA - College of Humanities & Fine Arts view HFA submenu
Section Menu

Jeffery Kasper

Assistant Professor and Undergraduate Program Director

jeffkasper@umass.edu

Personal Website


Studio Arts Building 253

Jeff Kasper is an interdisciplinary artist, writer, organizer, educator, and designer. His creative research focuses on art and design as social practice. He designs pathways for a trauma-informed culture shift, prototyping conflict transformation, platforms for collaboration, and peer support processes through objects, tools, social spaces, and workshops.

Over the last decade, he worked with numerous cultural, grassroots, and social planning organizations in New York City to realize over 300 cultural experiences, including public programs, publications, and exhibitions with hundreds of artists, non-arts experts (such as social workers, teachers, urban planners) and community members. Civic Art Lab, the public pedagogy platform he co-founded in 2010, brings together hundreds of advocates each year for hands-on workshops and sustainability initiatives. As a peer-mentor and fellowship director with organizations, New York Foundation for the Arts and More Art, he has supported the work of nearly 200 individual artist-activists. Kasper retains an active arts organizing, design and community engagment facilitation practice where he works on graphic design, strategic planning, instigating cultures of accessibility, and creating programs for outreach, arts support infrastructure, disability culture, and artist services.

Kasper has chaired and presented his research at numerous conferences and professional forums including College Art Assocation (CAA), Foundations in Art: Theory and Education (FATE), Interaction Design and Children Conference at Sesame Workshop and New York Hall of Science, "Teaching Social Practice" at UMass Dartmouth, MoMA Department of Education "Prime Time Exchange", AIGA Phoenix Design Week, and the Art Directors Club.

He is currently completing a reader on William Morris and social justice (2022); a monograph workbook (2023); and a textbook on trauma-sensitivity in art and design-based learning. (2024)

 

Research Areas

Art & Social Engagement; Collaborative Design; Visual Communications; Proxemics; Design Education; Trauma-informed Pedagogy for College Art Teaching & Learning; Disability Culture; Public Pedagogy; Social Ecology; Community-driven Sustainable Design; Subtractive Digital Fabrication

 

Publications

Kasper, J. (2021) Practicing Distance. Brooklyn: The Operating System (forthcoming)

Martegani, M., Kasper, J. and Drew, E. (2020) More Art in the Public Eye. New York/Durham: More Art Press/Duke University Press

Scherling, L., & Kasper, J. (2019) Civic Art Lab: Reflections on Art, Design, and Sustainability. In: Schröder, A., Völker, N., Winkler, R., Clucas, T., Futures Worth Preserving. Bielefeld: transcript Verlag

Bass, C., & Kasper, J. (2019) Field Notes from Studio 9 in Wexler, A. & Sabbaghi, V., Bridging Communities through Socially Engaged Art. New York: Routledge

Camacho, A. & Kasper, J. (2018) What We Produce: Social Models that can be Re-purposed and Reapplied, an interview of Pablo Helguera in Sholette, G., Bass, C., and Social Practice Queens in Art As Social Action: An Introduction to the Principles and Practices of Teaching Social Practice Art.  New York: Allworth Press (Contributing Editor with Social Practice Queens)

 

 

Work

Jeff Kasper has exhibited nationally and internationally, at The 8th Floor, Dedalus Foundation, Queens Museum, Cleveland Institute of Art, Shape Arts (London), New York University Gallatin Galleries, Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, the 26th International Graphic Design Biennial Brno (Czech Republic), Okno Gallery, (Russia), The International Graduate Center for the Study of Culture at the University of Giessen (Germany), The James Gallery at the CUNY Graduate Center, The Graduate Institute for Design, Ethnography & Social Thought at The New School, Bronx River Art Center, and the Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology at Connecticut College.

 

Awards and Accolades

In 2020-21 Kasper was awarded a UMass Civic Engagement & Service Learning Faculty Fellowship and a Social Ecology Fellowship from Smith College, Kahn Liberal Art Institute. He has also been awarded residencies, fellowships, training, and project support from Downtown Art, CUE Art Foundation, Art Beyond Sight, and Disability Arts NYC Taskforce, among others. His work with nonprofits have been awarded grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Arts Council, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Vilcek Foundation, and Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation. Kasper often sits on peer review boards for arts awards and research in humanistic approaches to healthcare. He is on the board of Paperbark Literary Magazine and strategic consultant for More Art.

 

Courses Recently Taught

Art 131 - Foundation Studio 1
Art 297DD - Digital Design
Art 397TM - Design Thinking & Making
Art 398PP - Portfolio Practicum
Art 497DP - Design Projects & Production
Art 795 - Graduate Art Seminar