HECUA faculty news release

Introducing Art for Social Change Program Director Marcus Young!

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Saint Paul, MN, October 23rd, 2018 – Nationally recognized artist Marcus Young 楊墨 to join HECUA as director of Twin Cities-based Art for Social Change program.

The Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs (HECUA), a Minnesota-based consortium of 25 colleges and universities, is thrilled to announce that behavioral and social practice artist Marcus Young will join the HECUA USA teaching team as director of the Art for Social Change program.

HECUA’s Director of US Programs and Community Engagement, Emily Seru, says, “Marcus has been inspiring HECUA students for many years as a visiting artist in the Art for Social Change program. He brings a rich depth and breadth of experience and knowledge to the program, together with an engaging teaching and mentorship style that will resonate deeply with our students. I am so thrilled that Marcus chose HECUA at this point in his impressive career to be a site of activity for his creative and caring spirit.”

Mr. Young is a nationally recognized artist, making work for the stage, museums, and in the public realm. Born in Hong Kong, he earned a B.A. in music from Carleton College and an M.F.A. in theater from the University of Minnesota. He is a recipient of awards from the McKnight, Bush, and Jerome Foundations, and in 2016 received the 2016 Forecast Public Art Mid-Career Grant, given to one artist a year.

Much of Mr. Young’s work is dedicated to the radical re-imagination of public space through artistic interventions. As City Artist in St. Paul, he created the Everyday Poems for City Sidewalk project, transforming the city’s sidewalk maintenance program into a publishing entity for poetry.  In his work With Nothing to Give, I Give Myself Young lived ten days around-the-clock at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts to foster the understanding that people are the great overlooked works of art. In his current role as founding artist of the ongoing participatory street dance practice Don’t You Feel It Too, he encourages participants to view movement as a platform for social healing and inner-life liberation.

“I believe in immersive, collective, experiential education,” Young says. “I look forward to shaping our program to experience how deeply related are personal, creative transformation and social change. It’s an honor to work with HECUA and with the students to co-create a distinctive program of freedom and relevance.”

Beginning in the spring of 2019, Mr. Young will invite Art for Social Change students into a dedicated community of practice, guiding students through the creation of a public work of art rooted in community and connected to movements for social justice.  Art for Social Change is open to any college undergraduate with an interest in the intersection of art, identities, and advocacy.

For more information, or to schedule a meeting with Mr. Young, please contact HECUA’s Communications and Development Director, Laney Ohmans, via phone: 651-287-3303, or email: lohmans@hecua.org.


HECUA builds academic-community partnerships for social change, using community-based learning methods to explore the dynamic relationships between theory and practice and to equip students with skills and knowledge for building just communities and societies. Consortium members are: Augsburg College, Augustana College, Beloit College, Carleton College, College of St. Scholastica, Colorado College, Denison University, Gustavus Adolphus College, Hamline University, Knox College Lawrence University, Macalester College, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, St. Catherine University, St. Olaf College, Swarthmore College, University of Minnesota, University of St. Thomas, Winona State University, Concordia College – Moorhead, Minneapolis Community and Technical College, Peace & Justice Studies Association, University of WI ­­– Madison, University of San Francisco.


The roots of the Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs trace back to the 1968 unrest in North Minneapolis following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The urgency and turbulence of the situation prompted Ewald (Joe) Bash, National Youth Director of the American Lutheran Church, and Joel Torstenson, an Augsburg College sociology professor, to build a unique program for college students to understand the nature of the urban crisis. The program, called Crisis Colony, presented an audacious challenge to the institutions of higher education at the time: take students out of the classroom and into the streets, where their learning could be tested by and connected to urgent issues of the times. After 40 years HECUA has grown to be a consortium of 24 liberal arts colleges, universities and associations dedicated to education for social justice. Together we shape academically rigorous, off-campus study programs that address the most pressing issues in our neighborhoods, nations and world.




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