Emily Chow Bluck ’15 is an artist, educator and community organizer during a time of unprecedented political scenarios, movements and protests. She says her college experiences offered a baptism by fire, preparing her to be an agitator in an intemperate political climate.
Bluck grew up in New Jersey in a well-to-do, mostly white neighborhood where she says many of her peers were encouraged to do volunteer work to groom them into ideal college applicants.
"I went to college feeling disdainful about the lack of true altruism in my community," Bluck said. "My college experiences are what helped me develop a more sophisticated understanding of what it looked like to work with marginalized people, and that I had a role to play in agitating for change."
Bluck's work ethic and commitment to amplifying the voices of the oppressed have taken her up and down the East Coast, where she uses her art as a praxis to build local campaigns for social justice in cities like Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York. Within two years of earning her M.F.A. in Community Arts from MICA, she completed four artist residencies, launched several ongoing participatory public art projects in highly diverse urban communities, all the while holding down a "day job" in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's education department.
Her selfless drive to create social change for underserved populations is more than a line in her artist statement; it's a personal commitment.
"Some days, the work can be overwhelming," Bluck said. "But we've got to focus on creating new narratives of overcoming, social value and self-determined futures."