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Jeffery Kasper

Assistant Professor, Undergraduate Program Director

jeffkasper@umass.edu

Personal Website


Studio Arts Building 253

Jeff Kasper is an interdisciplinary artist, designer, writer, and educator, specializing in public art, community engagement, and design as social practice. He prototypes pathways for dialogue and conflict transformation, platforms for collaboration and community-building, and peer support processes through objects, tools, publications, social spaces, and workshops, grounded in trauma-sensitive culture.

Over the last decade, he worked with various cultural, grassroots, and social planning organizations in New York City to realize over 300 public programs, publications, and exhibitions with hundreds of artists, non-arts experts (such as: social workers, policy makers, urban planners) and the public at large. Civic Art Lab, the public pedagogy platform he co-founded in 2010, brings together hundreds each year for hands-on workshops and sustainability initiatives. As a peer-mentor and fellowship director with organizations, New York Foundation for the Arts and More Art, he has supported the work of nearly 200 individual socially engaged artists. Kasper retains an active practice where he works on graphic design, strategic planning, instigating cultures of accessibility, and creating programs for outreach, arts support infrastructure, disability justice, and artist services.

Kasper has chaired and presented his research at numerous conferences and professional forums including College Art Assocation (CAA), Foundations in Art: Theory and Education (FATE), Interaction Design and Children Conference at Parsons School of Design, Sesame Workshop, and New York Hall of Science, Teaching Social Practice at UMass Dartmouth, MoMA Department of Education's Prime Time Exchange, AIGA Phoenix Design Week, and the Art Directors Club.

He is currently co-developing a design reader with Sben Korsh on William Morris and social justice (2022); a public art facilitation workbook series (2023-25); and a field guide on trauma-sensitivity in art and design-based learning and collaboration. (2025)

 

Research Areas

Art and Social Engagement; Participatory Design; Graphic Design; Experience Design; Proxemics; Design Education; Trauma-informed Pedagogy for Arts-based Teaching & Learning; Disability Culture and Accessibility in Art and Design; Public Pedagogy; Sustainability; Subtractive Digital Fabrication; Speculative Design Studies

 

Publications

Kasper, J. (2020) Practicing Distance in Distributaries online publication. New York: CUNY Center for the Humanities (LINK)

Martegani, M., Kasper, J. and Drew, E. (2020) More Art in the Public Eye. New York/Durham: More Art Press/Duke University Press

Scherling, L., & Kasper, J. (2019) Civic Art Lab: Reflections on Art, Design, and Sustainability. In: Schröder, A., Völker, N., Winkler, R., Clucas, T., Futures Worth Preserving. Bielefeld: transcript Verlag

Bass, C., & Kasper, J. (2019) Field Notes from Studio 9 in Wexler, A. & Sabbaghi, V., Bridging Communities through Socially Engaged Art. New York: Routledge

Camacho, A. & Kasper, J. (2018) What We Produce: Social Models that can be Re-purposed and Reapplied, an interview of Pablo Helguera in Sholette, G., Bass, C., and Social Practice Queens in Art As Social Action: An Introduction to the Principles and Practices of Teaching Social Practice Art.  New York: Allworth Press (Contributing Editor with Social Practice Queens)

 

 

Work

Jeff Kasper has exhibited nationally and internationally, at The 8th Floor, Dedalus Foundation, Queens Museum, Cleveland Institute of Art, Association of Fine Arts of Serbia (Belgrade), Shape Arts (London), New York University Gallatin Galleries, Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, the 26th International Graphic Design Biennial Brno (Czech Republic), Okno Gallery, (Russia), The Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural and Educational Center, The International Graduate Center for the Study of Culture at the University of Giessen (Germany), The James Gallery at the CUNY Graduate Center, The Graduate Institute for Design, Ethnography & Social Thought at The New School, Bronx River Art Center, and the Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology at Connecticut College.

 

Awards and Accolades

In 2020-21 Kasper was awarded a UMass Civic Engagement & Service Learning Faculty Fellowship and a Social Ecology Fellowship from Smith College, Kahn Liberal Art Institute. He has also been awarded residencies, fellowships, training, and project support from Downtown Art, CUE Art Foundation, Art Beyond Sight, and Disability Arts NYC Taskforce, among others. His work with nonprofits have been awarded grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Arts Council, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Vilcek Foundation, and Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation. Kasper often sits on peer review boards for arts awards and rarts-based approaches to health. He is on the advisory board of Paperbark Literary Magazine, associate of the UMass Amherst Institute for Diversity Sciences health equity research group, advisor for Social Practice Queens, and strategic consultant for More Art where he previously served as Director of Engagement.

 

Courses Recently Taught

Art 131 - Foundation Studio 1
Art 297DD - Digital Design
Art 397TM - Design Thinking & Making
Art 398PP - Portfolio Practicum
Art 497DP - Design Projects & Production
Art 795 - Graduate Art Seminar