Studio Arts Building
110 Thatcher Road
Amherst, MA 10003
Jeff Kasper is an interdisciplinary artist, writer, and educator, specializing in public art, visual design, and social engagement.
He creates pedagogical tools, text-based projects, social spaces, publications, exhibitions, community education, and workshops, often in partnership with community-based and non-profit organizations. Much of his recent work merges the tools and techniques of graphic design with participatory learning, and contemplative practices, to examine the dynamics of social support, proximity, and safety. His practice has consistently engaged questions around how people build community and practice care and collaboration, especially through trauma, conflict, and crisis.
Over the last decade, he worked with various cultural, grassroots, and social planning organizations in New York City to realize over 300 public programs, publications, and exhibitions with hundreds of artists, partners, and the public at large. Civic Art Lab, the public pedagogy platform he co-founded in 2010, brings together hundreds each year for hands-on workshops and sustainability initiatives. As a peer-mentor and fellowship facilitator with organizations, New York Foundation for the Arts and More Art, he has supported the work of nearly 200 individual socially engaged artists. Kasper retains an active consultancy practice where he works on graphic design, strategic planning, and creating programs for outreach, disability advocacy, health and wellbeing, accessibility, 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), Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present, Interaction Design and Children Conference at Parsons School of Design, Sesame Workshop, and New York Hall of Science, The International Academic Forum (IAFOR), Rethinking Residencies Symposium at the Vera List Center, Teaching Social Practice at UMass Dartmouth, MoMA Department of Education's Prime Time Exchange, AIGA Phoenix Design Week, and the Art Directors Club.
Art As Social Engagement; Graphic Design; Design Education; Trauma-informed Pedagogy for Arts-based Teaching & Learning; Disability Culture and Accessibility in Art and Design; Popular Education; Service Learning; Social Sustainability; Arts in Public Health
Kasper, J. (2021) Practicing Distance, open access workbook, Art and Social Practice Archive, Portland State University Special Collections (LINK)
Kasper, J. (2020) Critique As Support: A Workbook for Students, digital workbook, Cleveland Institute of Art, TITLE TBD Exhibition (LINK)
Martegani, M., Kasper, J. and Drew, E. (2020) More Art in the Public Eye. Durham: 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)
Jeff Kasper has exhibited nationally and internationally, at New York City Department of Parks & Recreation comissioned by ArtBridge and Meta Open Arts, The 8th Floor, Dedalus Foundation, Queens Museum, Cleveland Institute of Art, Helmhaus (Switzerland), Association of Fine Arts of Serbia, Shape Arts (United Kingdom), New York University Gallatin Galleries, Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, the 26th International Graphic Design Biennial Brno (Czech Republic), Okno Gallery, (Russia), The Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural and Educational Center, 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
Kasper was awarded a UMass Civic Engagement & Service Learning Faculty Fellowship from UMass (2020-21) and Fellowships in Health and Medicine, Culture and Society (2022) and Social Ecology (2020) from Smith College Kahn Liberal Art Institute. He has also been awarded residencies, training, grants, and project support from New England Foundation for the Arts, ArtBride and Meta Open Arts, MASSMoCA/Assets for Artists and Western Massachusetts Community Foundation, Downtown Art, CUE Art Foundation, Art Beyond Sight, and Disability Arts NYC Taskforce, The William Morris Society, 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 arts-based approaches to health. He is on the advisory board of Paperbark Literary Magazine, associate of the UMass Amherst Institute for Diversity Sciences health equity research group, advisor for Social Practice CUNY, and strategic consultant for More Art where he previously served as Director of Engagement.
Courses Recently Taught
Art 131 - Foundation Studio 1
Art 264 - Digital Design
Art 364 - Design Thinking for Social Innovation
Art 389 - Portfolio Practicum
Art 464 - Design Projects and Production
Art 795 - Graduate Art Seminar