The Art Assignment is an educational video series that exposes you to alternative approaches to art making and the most innovative minds in art today.
By Paul R.
By Paul R.
The Art Assignment is an educational video series produced in partnership with PBS Digital Studios that focuses on the creative process and the act of making. The series is anchored by episodes that introduce you to emerging and established artists, each of whom devise and share an assignment that relates to their approach to art and serves as an open call for makers across the globe. Celebrating risk-taking in the creative process, The Art Assignment exposes you to alternative approaches to art-making and the most innovative minds in art today.
Seeking to demystify contemporary art for broad audiences, The Art Assignment teaches art history through the lens of the present. Assignment episodes feature animated sequences that bring art history to life and provide context for the assignments, linking each activity to techniques used by artists in the past. The series also includes videos that present the work of artists from the past century in ways that emphasize their relevance today, with videos such as The Case for Mark Rothko and Fierce Women of Art. Other videos explore common questions about and responses to art, including What’s a Curator?, How to Critique, and I Could Do That.
A vibrant community of participants has built up around the series, and thousands of artworks have been made and shared in response to the assignments. Community responses are routinely highlighted through social media and in videos that demonstrate the breadth of work generated by each challenge.
Whether it is used as a classroom tool or experienced at home, The Art Assignment works to demonstrate the diversity, accessibility, and relevance of art being made now and in the recent past.
Combining a YouTube sensibility with a PBS commitment to quality, the PBS Digital Studios network has more than 6 million subscribers and has generated more than 40 million views. Series include the Webby Award-winning PBS Idea Channel, as well as popular series such as PBS Off Book, It’s Okay to be Smart, Blank on Blank and more.
The production team is led by creator, curator, and host Sarah Urist Green, former curator of contemporary art at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, where she curated the exhibitions Graphite and Andy Warhol Enterprises, among others. While at the IMA, she commissioned installations by Spencer Finch, William Lamson, Ball-Nogues Studio, and Kate Gilmore, and was instrumental in developing The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park: 100 Acres. She is the editor and co-author of Andy Warhol Enterprises (Hatje Cantz, 2010) and Graphite (digital catalogue, 2013). Sarah holds a master of arts in modern art history from Columbia University and a bachelor of arts from Northwestern University.
John Green is the award-winning, #1 bestselling author of Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, Paper Towns, Will Grayson, Will Grayson (with David Levithan), and The Fault in Our Stars. His many accolades include the Printz Medal, a Printz Honor, and the Edgar Award. He has twice been a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize. John was selected by TIME magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. With his brother, Hank, John is one half of the Vlogbrothers (youtube.com/vlogbrothers).
Mark is an editor, director, and motion graphics artist who has worked on Hollywood feature films (“Stand Up Guys” 2012), in TV (editor at PBS), with clients such as DKNY, Bloomingdales, and UCLA, and now in online educational video (“mental_floss Video”, “Healthcare Triage”, “The Art Assignment”, “Crash Course”). When he’s not working, he’s likely drinking coffee or playing with his dog Alex. Not both at the same time though, that’d be dangerous.
Brandon Brungard is an editor and sound designer for The Art Assignment. He is responsible for those awesome highlight video montages and those sweet-sweet soundscapes in the animation sequences. Brandon also produces, shoots, and edits for Crash Course and The Brain Scoop channels on YouTube. Before all that, he got a degree in biomedical engineering, made and distributed drugs (legally), and edited his first feature about falcon hunters in Mongolia.
Lauren Saks is a co-founder of PBS Digital Studios and the executive producer of the PBS Idea Channel, It’s Okay to be Smart and other award winning shows. Previously she has developed a digital arts destination and produced early social integrations and channels for PBS. Prior to joining the public media system, Lauren worked at the Smithsonian Photography Initiative as part of a digital archive project. Lauren has a Masters Degree from Georgetown University and a Bachelors degree from the Johns Hopkins University.
Zulaiha graduated from Indiana University with degrees in Art History and International Studies and now works on The Art Assignment, Crash Course, and Mental Floss Video in various capacities. She spends most of her time scavenging the internet for Art Assignment responses and loves people who use #theartassignment.
Dana Schechter has been making art in various forms since she was a kid. In college, she studied painting, printmaking and music. Jumping ahead to more recent times, she’s been doing Animation / Motion Graphics for the last 16+ years. Her primary visual work is now as a freelancer specializing in Adobe After Effects, doing Animation, Design, Motion Graphics and Compositing for Film, TV and Video in NYC. Dana is also an active musician and composer. www.danaschechter.com.
Molly Schwartz makes interactive art installations, animated videos, drawings and paintings—travels through aerial, arboreal and aquatic worlds of curious perspective. She also designs, animates, codes, and creates special effects for documentary films, installation design and site-specific projection mapping.
Meredith Danko (formerly known as Meredith the Intern) graduated with a degree in Film & Television from Boston University. She is now the Head Writer of Mental Floss Video and Assistant Manager of the AFC Wimbly Womblys. In her spare time, she enjoys listening to podcasts, chasing her cat around the apartment, and watching terrible television.
Matt Kelm is an Indianapolis-based designer experienced in visual identity creation and execution and translating design concepts to a physical environment. Matt has a degree in visual communication from Herron School of Art & Design, and is currently the Senior Designer at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.