Being an educator, a writer, a creative laborer and radical community arts organizer is a lot to juggle, but Jen Delos Reyes has a passion for each.
Grand Valley State University will host Delos Reyes for a lecture on working with institutions and creating and supporting sustainable artist-led culture within communities Monday, Oct. 3 from 4:30 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. in Lake Huron Hall Room 132 on the Allendale Campus.
Delos Reyes will be sharing her thoughts on the importance of artists self-organizing, self-publishing and creating spaces that continue to support one another in radical acts of creativity.
“How I work today is rooted in what I learned in my formative teen years in the mid-90s, infused with the energy of Riot Grrrl and DIY,” Delos Reyes said.
The lecture will be about her knowledge and experiences, including her artist-led international conference on expanding the dialogue and creating a site of care for the field of socially engaged art, “Open Engagement.”
“I hope the audience takes away that other ways are possible outside of the dominant structures of the art world,” Delos Reyes said. “Institutions can change–we uphold them, we can change them.”
Along with being a touring lecturer, Delos Reyes is an author and public contributor. She created the first flexible residency art and social practice MFA program in the U.S. at Portland State University along with working alongside the Portland Art Museum to create a series of programs and systems that allowed artists to rethink the idea of the museum as a public space.
She recently published a book called “I’m Going to Live the Life I Sing About in My Song: How Artists Make and Live Lives of Meaning” about the history of the artist’s impulse toward art and life.
“I was inspired to write this book because I believe we can look to artists to show us how creativity shape our daily existence,” Delos Reyes said. “They can model for us the worlds we want to live in.”
Along with Delos Reyes’ lecture at GVSU, she will be participating in a “#drakestudies” Wednesday, Oct. 5 in Chicago. During the talk, Delos Reyes and her contributors will be discussing the cultural significance in reference to Aubrey “Drake” Graham. Following this event, she’ll be traveling to more colleges, giving more lectures on her ideas.
“You shouldn’t be afraid to laugh at a lecture. Not everything is so serious, especially in art people tend to take themselves too seriously,” Delos Reyes said. “I personally think space for collective joy is much needed. Also, think I might have missed my calling as a stand-up comedian.”