Susan Rowe Harrison
Contact & Info
Born in Chicago, Susan Rowe Harrison currently lives and works in Dobbs Ferry, NY. She is a working artist with over 10 years experience facilitating arts workshops for diverse audiences in museums and schools in the US, Canada, and England such as the Whitney Museum, DIA Chelsea, Wave Hill, the Whitechapel Art Gallery, NYC Public Schools and the Toronto District School Board, Mt Vernon Public Schools, Yonkers Public Schools.
Susan Rowe Harrison makes drawings and site-specific installations for private, commercial, and alternative settings.
She prefers to work in the architecture of the everyday—on the walls, windows, and doors that often go unnoticed or ignored until she leaves abstract traces in an explosion of color, natural light or, text. Her work is as likely to include a message as not. But when she does choose to include a message—about issues such global warming and bird-friendly design, immigrant communities, or simply, how to be a person in the world—they are often but not always verbal.
She has exhibited her work internationally and her public commissions include LinkedIn Empire State Building, City of New Rochelle, NY, ArtsWestchester Gallery, Hyatt Hotels, Arts Etobicoke/Amnesty International, Autoshare/Art on the Move, Floorworks/Relative Space, Bookhou, The Gladstone Hotel, Wave Hill, the University of Chicago Committee on Japanese Studies and FIFA World Cup/Seoul 2002.
She lives and works in Dobbs Ferry, New York.
Susan holds an MA in Art Education from New York University and a BA in the History of Art from UC Berkeley. She studied painting and drawing at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago.
Teaching Artist Experience
My approach to art and design thinking is choice-based and responsive. I try to balance students’ diverse creative skills and abilities with more abstract creative challenges so that students build skills both creative and critical.
Contemporary art lends itself to integrated and interdisciplinary projects. Most artists draw on a range of sources in their work and make connections across boundaries and subject matter.
Hoff-Barthelson School: SummerArts-Elementary Arts. Art projects in all media for music students from K-Grade 3.
Boys and Girls Clubs of Mount Vernon, Teen Club, With generous support from an ArtsWestchester Mount Vernon Cultural Initiative Grant and the Mount Vernon Boys and Girls Club, I collaborated with a group of Mount Vernon teens over 8+ sessions to create a large-scale mural from concept to completion.
The mural takes a look at what it is like to be a teen; the good days and the difficult days that inspire our hopes and dreams for the future. The theme embraces the mission of the Boys and Girls Club’s “Great Futures Begin Here!”
Rebecca Turner School, Mt. Vernon/Grade 5, students used templates to trace the digestive system on t-shirts.
School 15, Yonkers/Grade K, children used paint, clay, wax pastels and collage to create artwork and books.
School 9, Yonkers/Grade 4, students created a large scale collaborative mural for the hallway at the school.
In my Invention Project at Withrow School/Grade 5 (image 3), we look at invention as a creative opportunity, mining examples in engineering and art history. I will facilitate this project in the fall with Curious on Hudson in Dobbs Ferry, NY. In the Fluxus and Identity Projects, I have been able to combine Language Arts through students’ own poetry and prose, letter writing and classroom discussion in the making of identity and self-portraits (Fluxus project).
Autoshare/Art on the Move/Karen Kain School of the Arts (image 5): For my Art on the Move residency, I worked with 26 grade 4-6 students in Beryl Cohen’s After School Art Club at the Karen Kain School of the Arts in Etobicoke. We worked with themes of the environment, mapping and borders, and life in Toronto over a series of 6 workshops at the school. In these workshops, students created the drawings and collages that I would then use in my design for a vehicle wrap for a Ford Transit van, a new addition to Autoshare's fleet. I sampled from 16 students' art works and my own to create a four-part design for the wrap. Each side is a unique drawing (image 5).
Graffiti Project with Stephen Cahatol’s 5th-grade class at Cresthaven Public School, Toronto District Art Department/Dare to Create Artist Residencies May/June 2014 (image 4):
Because Cresthaven Public School supported teachers in creating art projects in the schoolyard such as cutting recycled flags to decorate fences with students, the classroom teacher and I decided to do a graffiti project for the schoolyard on a concrete storage bunker on the playground. We used mostly recycled materials for the project from Arts Junktion (similar to Materials for the Arts).
The project took place over a five-day residency. The classroom teacher extended the project during lunch and study breaks to ensure that we could finish the project. Students chose an environmental theme “Grow Green” for the mural, thinking of future generations of the school community. They used math skills to measure the bunker and build scale models out of foam core. Measuring required care on the part of the students so that their cubes would fit together. Each group drew their concept ideas on their cubes and presented their vision for the bunker, which they drew on a whiteboard projection of the bunker for the class. We voted as a class to choose which student drawings we would use on the bunker—in the end, we chose a combination of drawings. We also talked about graffiti and its value, the people who make it and where we find it in our world. We also discussed scale and made initial sketches in chalk on the bunker so that students could get a sense of how they would need to adapt their drawings to a larger format. Students created stencils and used spray paint to make their graffiti mural. The teacher plans to add to the mural each year with his fifth-grade classes.