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Pre-Conference Institutes

Make Art for Social Justice: Transforming, Indigenizing & Decolonizing

Join Matika Wilbur, Emily Silver and their students from Santa Monica College (SMC) at Brandon “BMIKE” Odums Studio BE (, a 35,000 sq ft warehouse in the Bywater Neighborhood of New Orleans. 

In the Seven hours that we have together for this session, you will be inspired by the incredible artwork of BMIKE, who will kick off the day with a studio tour. Then, participants will join in a series of powerful “mini TED like” presentations and an opportunity to reflect and share with one another to discuss how educators can shift campus wide pedagogy through art. 
SMC students have been working alongside Swinomish and Tulalip photographer Matika Wilbur as an artist in residence to curate an exhibition, develop a film festival, host campus wide activations and work in the community to Indigenize. They’ve learned how to amplify Indigenous voices, shift curriculum through campus wide learning guides, and tour public and civic spaces to critique Indigenous representation. Hear from the students as they discuss how art has been a springboard for change and transformation. 

Simultaneously, learn alongside SMC students as they will be in discussion with master artist BMIKE, and his students, who have been doing the work in New Orleans, through exhibitions, public programs, and public art works, “to engage in a transnational dialogue about the intersection of art and resistance”. BMIKE’s non-profit Eternal Seeds, centers all their work around education, empowerment, and the preservation of New Orleans Black history and culture, with a focus on young and emerging artists: “Harnessing the power of creative expression and community, we provide young and emerging artists with tools they need to become the revolutionary leaders and shapers of a more just, equitable, and artful world.”

This session will be intimate, empowering and joyful. It will include discussions about real ways that students have learned how to become change agents through art. Matika Wilbur will also share her journey and will be giving away copies of her newly published book, “Project 562: Changing The Way We See Native America”. 

Busing is available for pre-registered institute attendees. Buses will depart from the hotel entrance between the elevators and the Ballrooms at 8:15 a.m.


Emily Silver, MFA, Professor Art, Director Barrett Gallery Santa Monica College, Santa Monica College, Santa Monica, CA

Matika  Wilbur,  (Tulalip and Swinomish), Social Documentarian and Photographer, Project 562, La Conner, WA

Brandon “BMIKE” Odums, Visual Artist, Mentor, and Founder of Studio BE, New Orleans, LA