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Jerry Beck is a father, artist, writer, educator, civic and cultural leader. His art practice includes drawing, painting, artists books, sculpture, multi-media installations of interactive and multidisciplinary art, public artworks, collaborative community-based projects, performance art, architecture, urban design and creative economy initiatives. Based on the site-specific nature of his aesthetic inquiries, it has also involved many other disciplines such as history, science, philosophy, literature, and popular culture. In this way, his artistic process involves collaborative and meaningful synergistic connections between artists, educators, civic leaders, and the public. His vision challenges conventionality, encourages self-discovery, melds creative expressions across multiple media, and expands knowledge and skills through real life experience.
In 1984, he founded The Revolving Museum, a nomadic and alternative museum that transformed such unconventional abandoned or under-utilized places as 12 railroad cars, a Civil War fort on an island, baseball field, empty lots, waterways, textile mills and smokestacks with teams of artists, youth, and community members of all backgrounds and abilities. Additionally, Beck and The Revolving Museum renovated vehicles of travel including a vintage ice cream truck, bookmobile, airlines baggage cars, shopping carts, and school buses into interactive works to expand my outreach and impact with under-served communities and for the development of new audiences. In 2007, Beck and The Revolving Museum received the Massachusetts Cultural Council's Commonwealth Award in the category of Community, the state's highest honors in the arts, humanities and sciences. Beck is also the founder of the Visionary School, an authentic learning, public art curriculum program for high school and college students focused on the development of cultural and civic leadership.
Beck’s own artwork has been exhibited widely including at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Museum, Artists Space in New York City, Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University, Capp Street Project in San Francisco, Mass MoCA, Snug Harbor Cultural Center in NY, Creative Time’s “Art on the Beach,” Miami Book Fair, Boston Center for the Arts, Howard Yezerski Gallery, Barbara Krakow Gallery, Clark Gallery, and at many alternative, under-utilized, and abandoned public spaces.
Beck has been an artist-in-residence, teacher, lecturer, and community arts advisor with many cultural and educational institutions including the National Organization of Artist’s Spaces, College Art Association, New England Foundation for the Arts, Very Special Arts International, Maryland Institute College of Art, Art Institute of Boston at Lesley College, Massachusetts College of Art, Hartford Art School, Harvard University, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Syracuse University, Brown University, University of Massachusetts, Fitchburg State University, Headlands Center for the Arts, University of Texas, Boston, Lowell, Fitchburg and other Public and Private Schools.
Beck has gotten many grants including multiple National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grants, Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Arts International grant, New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) grants, Pew Charitable Trust grant, Berkshire Taconic Artist grant, and multiple Massachusetts Cultural Council grants. Beck was a creativity consultant for University of Massachusetts/Lowell (2006-7), in which he initiated collaborations between faculty members and students from diverse departments. He was also Host and Co-Producer of WUML-FM’s “Thinking Out Loud” radio show.
Beck studied with Native American folk artist Rolling Thunder, Nevada. He has a BFA from Florida State University and an MFA from Tufts University-School of the Museum of Fine Arts.