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Bail's Set... What's Next?

Public Access Design

Bail's Set... What's Next?

A Fair Chance

Making Policy Public

A Fair Chance

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Urban Investigations

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Meet The Teaching Artist: Asa Mendelsohn

Meet The Teaching Artist: Asa Mendelsohn

Asa Mendelsohn is an artist, writer, and teacher from New York City. This fall, Asa is collaborating with students at International Community High School (ICHS) on a documentary film that asks, how can we prevent gun violence in the Bronx? For this month’s Meet the Teaching Artist we spoke with Asa to learn more about his experience working with young people and his own artistic practice:

Why were you interested in becoming a Teaching Artist?

Learning and working in schools and community spaces, I’ve run into questions about how and why social institutions do and do not work for us. I appreciate that Teaching Artist work provides a space to ask those questions collaboratively: What are we doing here? How can we support each other and make something meaningful?

How would you describe your artistic practice?

I write scripts and essays, and make videos, often with others. My work is motivated by transfeminist politics and possibilities for transformation through close listening. I love to work with sound, and especially love to work with singers. Projects tend to focus on creating small holes in the security state, memory, trans love, and labor.

What is a project you’re working on now that you’re excited to reveal soon?

The past few years I have been working on a film that I hope to share this coming year. It’s about creating small holes in the security state, memory, trans love, and labor.

How has collaborating with CUP impacted your work moving forward?

This fall I spent a month working with the four classes that make up the eleventh grade at ICHS, using documentary filmmaking strategies to ask questions about the causes of gun violence in the Bronx, and approaches to violence interruption and gun violence prevention. We covered a lot of ground in a relatively short time, and all had to work bravely and with agility. This collaboration has given me a lot that I know I will continue holding, particularly regarding policing, trauma, and transformation.

What is your secret skill that has nothing to do with your art and educator work?

Maybe not a skill, but a daily pleasure is tending to the compost.

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