Kevin 1

Kevin Chen

October 7, 2014

What’s your name?

Kevin Chen.

 

What’s your position with The LP?

Development & Communications Intern.

 

So, what made you decide to intern with The LP? How does the internship relate to your studies?

I decided to intern with The LP because of its commitment to connecting art and community building in a creative, sustainable, and, most importantly, fun manner. Over the summer, I interned at DiverseWorks, a non-profit art space in Houston. One of my primary duties was conducting outreach for The Idea Fund, a re-granting program geared toward funding community-based artistic projects. Seeing some of the work that has come out of that program and being able to help with planning the next cycle excited me and made me want to continue exploring the larger possibilities of art. After hearing about The LP and discussing it with my internship supervisor, I knew that it’d be an awesome opportunity to intern here.

 

Do you have your own creative practice? If so, tell us more!

Not at the moment.

 

Can you tell us about an artist or project that has inspired you?

I’m hugely inspired by Rick Lowe and Project Row Houses in my hometown of Houston, Texas. One of the most fascinating things about Project Row Houses is its resistance to clear definition. Its programs combine art and community engagement in a way that emphasizes and magnifies the mutual creativity of the two. A lot of the work that they’re doing speaks to the importance of history, space, and identity, and has inspired me to rethink about how I relate to art.

 

What is your favorite… film?

Her, partially because of the amazing soundtrack.

 

 …album?

Beyonce by Beyonce. Because Beyonce. #HTownVicious

 

…food?

Banh mi, aka a Vietnamese sandwich. New York food has its merits, but nothing will ever beat a banh mi from Houston.

 

Where do you do your laundry?

The laundry room in my dorm…which is currently free since they haven’t installed the new electronic payment system yet.

 

In your opinion, why does art matter?

For me, the most powerful aspect of art is creativity. Something that I’ve been exploring recently is expanding the definition of art to the everyday. If actions in our everyday lives are charged with creativity, then how much difference is there between that and a work in a museum? How might we be artists in our own lives?

 

I’m thinking specifically about the times three generations of my family would sit together in my grandma’s house, folding ceremonial papers to be burned in a religious rite. On the one hand, the act of folding paper was an artistically creative process. On the other hand, my family performing that act together strengthened our communal bonds to one another. During those times, art, everyday life, and community blended together into a singular act of creativity.

 

In that sense, looking at art in that way opens up possibilities for what art can do for individuals and communities. Art, as creativity and innovation, becomes personal and political, creates change from within and from without, and strengthens the connection between the individual and the community.

 

Follow Kevin on Twitter @kxchen926.

 

Kevin Chen is from Houston, TX. He is currently a sophomore at Columbia University, where he is studying anthropology.