Artist Hebert Inspires Through Collaboration

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

Photos by Jiuxing June Xie.

On Thursday, the William J. Cooper Foundation sponsored artist, Patrick “Pato” Hebert gave a lecture in Kohlberg’s Scheuer Room, during which he shared images of, and stories about, his past works and inspiration. Herbert’s show in and around McCabe Library, “Signing On: Creative Interventions and the Mobilization of the Imagination” has not only offered a visual display, but has also encouraged students and visitors to participate in the making of art.

Hebert, who has a B.A. in Studio Arts from Stanford University and M.F.A. from the University of California Irvine, has had eight solo exhibitions, two dozen group exhibitions and over a dozen public art projects.

Hebert opened his lecture with music and quotations related to art, teaching, and community building. He spoke of his interest in community-based art, which incorporates social and political messages. He chooses to convey his meanings in a broad range of outlets, such as children’s workshops, AIDS/HIV awareness projects, or as installations in public spaces such as storefronts and universities.

Hebert’s work is inspired by the every experiences of his life and by his collaboration with others and their ideas. His projects are based heavily on participation and interaction.

Hebert has worked also on several youth projects, with kindergarteners through teens, using prompting exercises, such as “How have you not changed the world today?” and visits to installation art pieces. These youth projects not only teach young students to express themselves with words and to create art, but to exhibit it and reach out to the adult world.

The interactive component of Thursday’s lecture was writing on the red and yellow flags that each member of the audience received at the beginning of the lecture. The attendees was asked to finish the phrase, “I struggle…” on the red flag and the phrase, “I’m at my best…” on the yellow one. The flags were then placed on the lawn in front of McCabe Library to form a “visual garden” of words.

“I don’t think you need fancy or rare materials to make magic,” said Hebert, during his lecture.

Herbert is interested in the permeable moments in life, such as where inside meets outside, where boarders and comfort zones are tested and pushed, From installations to photographs, Herbert’s pieces are becoming a focal point at Swarthmore.

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