Generosity exists in listening, in telling a story, in giving someone your time, your energy, in teaching, in conversing, and creating space, temporally and spatially. Generosity catalyzes social change, stimulates healing, and opens the door to communicate something about the human condition; that we need one another.
The generosity that is present within the legacy of socially engaged art practices has exemplified the transformative power of art. Engaging participants through making, my socially collaborative projects combine performance, community building, dialogue, and activism, which initiate creative problem solving. My projects are socially collaborative, take into account the social, political, and socioeconomic contexts of a site, and are created in conjunction with the community.
Part of the lineage of quilting, my ongoing project, Trans* Identity and Activism in Our Community, is a community quilt which raises awareness about transgender issues and experiences. The physical pieced quilt, and its installation, conveys that when communities come together, changing the current social and political climates becomes possible. The most important aspect of the work lies within the amalgamation of moments, ideas, and exchanges. Additionally, these works illustrate that healing exists in the interstices of generous contextual practice projects and as author Sean McNiff says, “the experiences of people everywhere affirm that art heals.”
Shannon McGinty is an artist, activist, and teacher from Garden City, Michigan who believes in the transformative power of art. McGinty graduated from Worcester State University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Visual and Performing Arts with a focus in Sculpture. In 2017, McGinty began the Master of Fine Arts degree program at Maine College of Art and learned the importance of community building, generosity, and reciprocity in art, all of which manifest in their contextual practice, a form of socially engaged art making that is rooted in community. McGinty served as the 2018 keynote speaker for Hudson High School’s National Art Honors Society induction ceremony and was recently interviewed by USA Today on the importance of providing competent healthcare to the transgender patient. McGinty will graduate in spring of 2019 and continue a socially engaged artistic practice.