Bridging Communities

In 1992 I launched Communal Creations and worked with several community-based organizations and individuals in New York City to create various art and design products. This work gave my computer graphic studies and artistic endeavors real meaning. I was inspired to continue this work in graduate school and it became a critical element of my masters thesis.

At the School of the Art Institute of Chicago I was given permission to do an independent study in Queens, NY. I worked with Jamaica Arts Center, with support from the state arts council and local housing authority to establish a computer graphics program at the South Jamaica Houses housing project. My masters thesis asserted that the computer graphics lab would engage young residents and help them gain useful skills. During this time the digital divide had birthed a movement that would create hundreds of community-based technology centers across the country.

My graduate-level, independent work made me very aware of the gap between people with effective access to digital and information technology and those with very limited or no access at all. This gap is based on gender, income, race and geographical location. As an African-American female artist, educator, digital/new media aficionado, living in a variety of environments I envisioned computer graphics, digital art, and new media as a way to close the digital divide as well as create spaces and opportunities for teaching, learning, and empowerment. For the past 20 years I have worked to sustain this vision.

In addition to my direct work with underserved, marginalized, or underrepresented groups (esp. youth) I have been appointed to local, regional, and national boards of organizations to provide strategic leadership in the arts, independent and community media, and community technology.

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©2009-2011 Nettrice R. Gaskins

Copyright 2009 -2010 © Nettrice R. Gaskins