Beyond the Block: The Public Art of Romare Bearden

A virtual conversation on Romare Bearden’s public art featuring today’s leading voices in the field.

Tuesday, June 13, 2023 at 1:00 PM ET

This June, the WPI hosted a conversation dedicated to the lesser-studied sphere of Romare Bearden’s art making: his public art. In his later career, he translated his iconic collage making practice into larger-than-life ceramic, mosaic and painted murals displayed in salient communal spaces around New York, Charlotte, Baltimore and more. Oftentimes, these works served as an initial meeting ground, introducing Bearden to the general public.

In this conversation featuring renowned public art specialists Tania Duvergne (Public Art for Public Schools, NYC School Construction Authority) and Larissa Trinder (New York City Health + Hospitals Arts in Medicine), and curator and cultural historian TK Smith (Barnes Foundation), we will explore the ways in which different facets of society, beyond the art world, interacted with Bearden, and in turn, how he offered access to the visual art to the larger public.

Tania Duvergne is the Director of Public Art for Public Schools at the NYC School Construction Authority. Public Art for Public Schools is the only program dedicated specifically to schools in the country. Duvergne has held this position since 2010 and has overseen the installation of over 180 permanent artworks in schools throughout the five boroughs. Prior to her work at Public Art for Public Schools, she worked extensively as a curator, writer, editor and public art administrator for non-profit art organizations across the country, including the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC, the San Diego Museum of Art, inSITE, San Diego/Tijuana, and Artists Space, NY. She holds a bachelor’s degree in art from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a master’s degree in art history from the Université de Paris, Panthéon-Sorbonne.

Larissa Trinder is the Assistant Vice President for NYC Health+ Hospitals Arts in Medicine department, responsible for the stewardship, exhibition strategy, conservation and curation of the health system’s collection of more than 7000 works of art, the largest such collection in New York City, many dating back to the 1930’s. In addition, she oversees the creation and implementation of evidenced based programs for patients, staff and the community that utilize the arts as a tool in healing.

Previously, Trinder worked at Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters in Norfolk, Virginia as the Director of Principal Giving and established the hospital’s Creative Art Policy that integrated the arts and cultural programs into the hospital system. She has a Master’s degree in Public Policy from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. 

TK Smith is a Philadelphia-based curator, writer, and cultural historian. His writing has been published in Art in America, the Brooklyn Rail, and ART PAPERS. Currently, Smith is a doctoral candidate in the History of American Civilization program at the University of Delaware. Read his recent book review on Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore’s Romare Bearden in the Homeland of His Imagination here at Brooklyn Rail.

Romare Bearden, Untitled, 1973. Located at P.S. 811 – 1434 Longfellow Avenue, Bronx, New York 

Scroll to Top