culture/nature/structure

Meghan Moe Beitiks
writing

Performing Public Health (2020)

Graphic Design by Edith Williams

Graphic Design by Edith Williams.

I am the Lead Facilitator of a project called Performing Pubic Health for the Center for Arts in Medicine, as part of their COVID-19 Arts Response.

From our website:

How do we collectively Perform Public Health? Three overlapping teams of artists, administrators, health officials, academics, researchers and activists offer tools for safe engagement with the arts, chronicle the adaptive powers of artists, and organize resources emerging from artist communities, in an attempt to answer that question. 

The Advisory team has created a Performing Public Health Advisory Brief, which offers basic suggestions for safe practices, as well as appendices on infection control recommendations, finding reliable information and links to articles and studies for artists and communities effected by COVID-19.

The efforts include contributions to the COVID-19 Arts Response Repository, helping to chronicle the “performance” of public health through the arts during the time of the pandemic.

Within these efforts, Remote Cultures emerge in response to the lack of human contact that a pandemic imposes. In this context, Remote Cultures are the artworks, gatherings, adaptations and connections we create when health measures dictate social distance. They are how we maintain closeness, creativity, expression when the space between us is dictated by a virus or a law, or mediated by a screen or mask. Visit this page for a curated focus on the arts’ adaptive power in the context of a pandemic created by this team. 

Within public health measures, the needs of marginalized artists are not always thoroughly considered. They are uniquely precarious, made vulnerable by systemic racism, disability, poverty, compromised immune systems, age, and a number of other factors. Marginalized artists can also possess experiential expertise directly relevant to a pandemic. The Unique Precarities team curates the work of vulnerable artists and communities and places them alongside institutional research, to serve as an interdisciplinary index of creative support. Please visit this pagefor resources from Uniquely Precarious artists and the systems in which they are entangled.

Performing Public Health considers the specialized concerns of artists and public gatherings at a time when gathering for in-person art experiences is constrained by the possible transmission of an infectious disease like COVID-19. Please visit the resources below for more information.

Performing Public Health 


This project was created by the following humans: 

  • Meghan Moe Beitiks, Artist, University of Florida 
  • Aaron Colverson, University of Florida
  • Chloe Dean, University of Florida
  • maxpú hiⁿga miⁿga (charlee huffman), MFA, M.Div. (Kansa/Potawatomi)
  • Srinjoyi Lahiri, Young Artivist Alliance
  • Keely Mason, University of Florida 
  • Edith Moore Hubert, Jacksonville University, Linda Berry Stein College of Fine Arts
  • Virginia Pesata, University  of Florida
  • Katrina Pineda, California Representative of the Arts Health Early Career Research Network
  • Natalie Rella, University of Florida
  • Jill Sonke, University of Florida 
  • Marina Tsaplina, Transdisciplinary Artist, Health Humanities Scholar, Disability Advocate
  • Edith Williams, Graphic Designer
  • Kaitlyn Wittig Menguc, Artist & Arts Consultant

We’re also very grateful to our colleagues working in the arts, social work and activism, Arts + Health and Art Place America for their input on the development of this project.  

Project Credits and Citations:

  • Pesata, V., Moore Hubert, E., Wittig Menguc, K., Beitiks, MM.  (2020). Performing Public Health: Advisory. Retrieved from (insert URL). 
  • Colverson, A., Pineda, K. Lahiri, S. (2020).  Performing Public Health: Remote Cultures. Retrieved from (insert URL). 
  • Tsaplina, M., Beitiks, MM., Huffman, C. (2020). Performing Public Health: Unique Precarities. Retrieved from (insert URL).

CSPA Q29: Silence (2020)

As the Lead Editor of the Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts Quarterly, I invited guest editors to curate issues around specific themes within arts and sustainability, oversee issue development, and manage issue launch. I also got to curate some issues myself. This is an issue I edited.

When words and sounds fail, silence has the potential to both open up space for listening, and serve as an oppressive force. Q29: SILENCE examines Silence in various practices and processes, as both a facilitator of healing and a catalyst for trauma. Artists are silent, question silence, are empowered through and threatened by silence, listen in silence, stew in silence. This issue is a quiet one, but it is by no means without agency.

Systems of Pain/Networks of Resilience (Moment 2) (World Futures) (2020)

Systems of Pain/Networks of Resilience (Moment 2) has been published in the peer-reviewed World Futures, in an issue on Queer Conviviality, edited by Sacha Kagan.

The Artist as Facilitator: being present with & loving the unknown (2019)

I’ve had the honor to have my essay “The Artist as Facilitator” published in a recent issue of Performance Philosophy. It went through an extensive editing process with Kelina Gotman, Theron Schmidt, Christine Shallenberg and Fereshteh Toosi, as part of a 3-year existential gestation process. Please check it out for reflections on facilitation, presence and nonhuman relationships.

CSPA Q22: The Unknown and Uncertain (2018)

As the Lead Editor of the Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts Quarterly, I invited guest editors to curate issues around specific themes within arts and sustainability, oversee issue development, and manage issue launch. I also got to curate some issues myself. This is an issue I edited.

Sustainability is often discussed in terms of maintenance, or awareness– engagements with the known. Q22: THE UNKNOWN & UNCERTAIN asks a series of artists for their work and reflections on the vast expanse beyond the known– from questions of nothingness, to existential crises, to attempts to anticipate the unexpected. How are creative practices sustained in the face of uncertain funding futures, or vast cultural shifts? How do the arts aid sustainability when change is vast, immediate, and unknown? How can we be certain that what we sustain will be useful?

CSPA Q20: Self-Care (2018)

As the Lead Editor of the Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts Quarterly, I invited guest editors to curate issues around specific themes within arts and sustainability, oversee issue development, and manage issue launch. I also got to curate some issues myself. This is an issue I edited.

For this, our 20th issue, we take a moment to look back at the history of the quarterly, and examine our own self-care, while inviting contributions from artists and thinkers who address self-care in their process and practice. How do we sustain ourselves, when everything around us demands sustenance? Featuring contributions from John K. Grande, Perdita Phillips, Ernesto Pujol, Sarah Berkeley, and more.

CSPA Q17: Sense and Sensuality (2017)

As the Lead Editor of the Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts Quarterly, I invited guest editors to curate issues around specific themes within arts and sustainability, oversee issue development, and manage issue launch. I also got to curate some issues myself. This is an issue I edited.

Q17: SENSE & SENSUALITY asks: what sustains our senses? Exploring firsthand experiences of nature, methods of non-human communication and harassment, and ideas of “ecosexuality,” this issue looks at sensory understandings of ecologies. With contributions from Annie Sprinkle, Dao Nguyen, The Plant Sex Consultancy, Pony Express, Sacha Kagan and more.

CSPA Q15: Hyperobjects (2016)

As the Lead Editor of the Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts Quarterly, I invited guest editors to curate issues around specific themes within arts and sustainability, oversee issue development, and manage issue launch. I also got to curate some issues myself. This is an issue I edited.

Q 15: HYPEROBJECTS, a look at Timothy Morton’s concept of things that are viscous, nonlocal, phased and interobjective. With contributions from Carol Padberg, Bethany Taylor, Liz Ensz, Jessica Santone, Sarah Knudtson and more.

CSPA Q14: Cultural Vibrancy (2016)

As the Lead Editor of the Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts Quarterly, I invited guest editors to curate issues around specific themes within arts and sustainability, oversee issue development, and manage issue launch. I also got to curate some issues myself. This is an issue I edited.

Q14: CULTURAL VIBRANCY asks: What does it mean to be culturally vibrant in the face of an escalating climate? How do we adapt to the continually evolving present? What changes, what moves? What is alive? An in-depth interpretation of “Culture” as the fourth pillar of sustainability, this issue looks more deeply at the way culture shapes our relationship to ecologies. Featuring contributions by Jane Bennett, Elizabeth Orr, Guy Eytan, Andrew Yang, Ian Garrett, and Anne-Marie Melster.

Review of SoilCulture (2016)

SoilCulture is, ultimately, the documentation of a strong collection of artists exploring soil at a time when its importance and preciousness is politically and ecologically pressing. This puts some artworks in the position of celebrating or propagandizing. While these efforts may be needed, the conversation that SoilCulture frames also points to the importance of diversity and critical discourse in ecological/cultural work, largely because such elements are sometimes lacking in its own curation. Regardless, the projects put forth solid juxtapositions of scientific and artistic research with soil, including artist/scientist collaborations, and research processes reframed. It is a fascinating snapshot in time of artists engaging with a crucial issue.”

Read my full review on ecoartscotland.

CSPA Q13: On Social Equity (2016)

As the Lead Editor of the Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts Quarterly, I invited guest editors to curate issues around specific themes within arts and sustainability, oversee issue development, and manage issue launch. I also got to curate some issues myself. This is an issue I edited.

Q13: ON SOCIAL EQUITY is third of a four-part series on the pillars of sustainability. What is social equity? How do art and performance define and address it? Focus on questions of access, material, meaning and communication in communities both human and non-. With contributions from Theresa May, A.Laurie Palmer, Ross Stanton Jordan, Kristina Wong, Corinne Erni and Anne-Marie Melster.

First Annual Moscow Science Art Conference (2012)

As published in CSPA Q9: Science/Art.

CSPA REPORT: Sustainability in Theater (2012)

As published in CSPA Q8: THE SEA IS RISING.

A + E Conference at the Nevada Museum of Art (2011)

   This weekend, William Fox described artists as having an arc of inquiry that is equal and parallel to scientists. He did this at the A + E Conference at the Nevada Museum of Art. I know because I was there.

The Center for the Art and Environment has been building steadily since its initial conference in 2008. I wanted to go so badly back then: couldn’t make it happen. Now spent the weekend standing in the same room as eco-art behemoths.

The concept of an institution for art and environment is incredibly unique. Partly because eco-art by its very nature is difficult to archive and exhibit. Partly because there’s no precedent. And partly because, well, most of the eco-art dialogue in recent years has been happening on blogs and websites, nimbler programs with little or no funding-slash-facilities.

So it’s both weird and wonderful to encounter 3 floors of a building exclusively designed for eco-art. It’s dizzying to realize that while I’m very familiar with the work of Fritz Haeg, The Harrisons and Chris Jordan, before this weekend I’d never actually seen them in person. It’s especially weird to do all this in Reno, with the lights and the gambling and whatnot.

Back to Chicago tomorrow. Everything is old and new at once.

Considering Sustainable Design @ PQ (2011)

Every four years theater artists of all kinds gather in the Czech Republic for the Prague Quadrennial. Countries set up pavilions to display the best of their professional and graduate-level stage design. The city is swarmed with performances, lectures, panels and demonstrations. When I first went in 2003, site-specific performance was highlighted as a fascinating trend in scenography. Since then, the Quadrennial has expanded from a stage-design conference to a dialogue on all things performance and space. Site-specific projects are more the rule, less the exception. I’m here until June 27th, nerding out with the folks from the Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts. We’ll be participating in a Roundtable Discussion– Considering Sustainable Design— on June 21st. Check sustainablepractice.org for further updates. Until then, I’m loving me some cobblestones.

p.s. : the Latvian pavilions are kicking butt, as usual.

Artport: 2 Degrees of Separation (2011)

As published in CSPA Q5: ON INTERNATIONAL ACTION.

Healthy Parks, Healthy People conference. (2011)

I love conferences. I love them when they’re full of moving lights and impossible ideas, and I love them when most of the attendants are barefoot and eating quinoa. The “Healthy Parks, Healthy People” conference was neither of these things. It was full of very smart folks very interested in making change– who were also in an excellent position to do so. Which means I was in a dizzied cloud of endorphins for most of it. Or maybe it was the free coffee (which came in silicone-and-ceramic-fake-paper-coffee cups! Yeah, those things! I was excited, too).

These folks did not let me hide in the blogger background. I was forced into breakout groups and brainstorming sessions, coaxed into collaboration with big players in public space and health. I’ll be posting about the experience on sustainablepractice.org and maybe inhabitat.com, but for now, let me just say how refreshing it is to watch government officials, corporate VPs, and non-profit directors draw mind-maps and talk about healthy communities. One director even took her shoes off.

COP 16 Coverage from Cancun, Mexico (2010)

I’ll be in Cancun from November 26- December 5th covering the cultural aspect of the COP16 talks for inhabitat.com, and, time permitting, Culturebot. Here’s a feed of my posts. Here’s Inhabitat’s flickr page. Pardon me while I disappear for long bit.

I’ve been writing for Culturebot. (2010-2014)

I’ve been following Culturebot for awhile now, so when they put out a call for “non-NYC” writers, I submitted myself, droolingly. They cover some of the most exciting and relevant art happenings, and they do it with depth and craft. Here’s my first piece for them. There are more as time and opportunity allow. My culture-nerd culture always needs feeding.

“Good Fix” at Green Stage Scratch Night (2010)

I’ve been working on a play called “Good Fix.” It’s about do-gooding and righteous highs. An excerpt of it is going to be read on “Green Stage Scratch Night,” Nov. 28th at 7:30 at the Rosemary Branch in Islington, in the UK. Green Stage is all about creating original environmental work. Imma see about begging someone to tape the reading for me. Just as soon as I send them the full script.

Is Joy a Sustainable Fuel? (2009)

Creative Visions

When you see a big painted bus driving down the  highway (a BIG bus, an old school bus, not some passenger van) that says RUNS ON VEGETABLE OIL; when that bus is covered in a thousand brushstrokes of color; is filled with young folk who may or may not have dreadlocks, may or may not play drums, and may or may not flash you a peace sign, what do you do?  Do you roll your eyes?  Do you smile?  Is the joy that seems to sustain them for real?  Can it last?  Or is it the glory of youth and naïveté?

Read the full piece as published in the CSPA Quarterly.