Harlem photographer visits Columbia Law as first “artist in residence”

A man walks down the stairs of the Columbia University Library in New York. REUTERS / Shannon Stapleton

  • No other major law school has an artist program

(Reuters) – Courtroom not applicable? To verify. Law library? Sure.

Artist’s studio ?

Columbia Law School Adds New Convenience To Its Manhattan Campus With The Arrival Of Its First Artist-In-Residence, A Harlem-Based Photographer Bayeté Ross Smith. He will spend the next year exhibiting his work around law school, interacting with students and faculty, and maintaining a studio there.

Colombia unveiled the Artist-in-Residence program in May to add to the diversity and dynamism of the law school. Each year, a chosen artist from the region will spend the academic year working on campus and will receive a grant of $ 15,000 and $ 5,000 for art supplies.

“Art can bring beauty to our campus, but it can also, and most importantly, reflect and represent a range of human experiences, perspectives and cultural knowledge,” said Columbia Law Dean Dean Gillian Lester at of the program announcement in May.

Columbia says it’s the first law school artist-in-residence program ranked in the top 14 by US News & World Report. Gonzaga University Law School and University of New Mexico Law School are among the law schools that have established relationships with artists. Ross Smith was selected from over 400 applicants for Columbia Law’s inaugural artist in residence by the faculty of the school’s Naming and Symbols Working Group.

Ross Smith said he would use his year at Columbia Law to focus on his “Art of Justice” project, which combines art, media installations and related programs on social, political and human rights issues. The project aims to engage directly with the legal community.

“This opportunity will allow me to advance my work by using the storytelling power of the arts to engage law students, jurists and future policy makers in contemporary and historical social justice issues and human rights issues. that need to be addressed in order for society to make the necessary progress we need into the next century and beyond, ”said Ross Smith in an announcement of his appointment.

Columbia law professor Kendall Thomas, who is co-chair of the selection committee, said Ross Smith’s Art of Justice project will spark investigation and reflection on the ways in which unconscious biases and “distorted historical narratives” have come about. a negative impact on the legal system.

“Ross Smith has a keen sense of how the arts can be used to help lawyers, law students, legal educators and legal decision makers understand and address the cultural perspectives that shape our professional practice,” said Thomas.

In addition to photography, Ross Smith works in film and video, new media and 3D objects. His work has been shown at the Smithsonian Institution, the Oakland Museum of California, and the Brooklyn Museum, among others.

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