Shoshanna Utchenik aims to bring creativity to the center of everyday life through performance, process-based visual art, and workshops under the umbrella of Interstate Arts. She holds an MFA, Northwestern University; BFA, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has served as Artistic Associate of Chicago’s Redmoon Theater, exhibited and performed throughout the midwest, NYC, and internationally in Slovenia. Currently part of the Detroit/Hamtramck art community, she was founding art teacher of the James and Grace Lee Boggs School, and still collaborates with the solutionary students toward a more joyful, loving and peaceful world.
My visual and performing artwork mines the personal to access the universal, often framing personal relationships and basic social interactions as art events in order to approach daily life with fresh awareness, critical dialogue and play. A recurring subject matter is the gamut of human, cultural obstacles to communication, and the possibilities of overcoming them. With a background in experimental puppetry and theater design, I often create costumed characters or use other theatrical conventions to frame everyday moments as ‘art’ and more importantly, propose that we have everything we need to create a loving, joyful, and peaceful world. Through love, curiosity, creativity, and compassionate problem solving we, as individuals and as a society, can take any path we choose and bring everyone with us.
In service of engaging a general public and non-traditional art audiences, especially in conversations about public space and civic engagement, my work often intervenes in public space in unexpected ways, whether on a sidewalk or plaza outside of an art institution, encircling a monument, or in an empty urban lot. Under the umbrella ‘Interstate Arts’, driven by inquiry and experimentation, I find myself creating intimate exchange in busy, cold or underused environments. A puppeteer at heart, I experience the built and experienced environment as vibrantly alive, awaiting our human touch to engage, activate and transform.