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Alumna Jules Rochielle to Collaborate with Female Veterans

Images from SisterVet: Stories from Sisters, Sailors, and Soldiers
Female Veterans to Collaborate With Artists in Harlem
The Wall Street Journal

Female veterans in Harlem will soon be collaborating with artists as part of an initiative to bring art out of museums and into city government.

The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs plans to announce on Monday that Social Design Collective, a project spearheaded by artist Jules Rochielle, has been chosen as artist-in-residence at the Mayor’s Office of Veterans’ Affairs.

Ms. Rochielle and Christine Tinsley, an artist who spent several decades in the U.S. Coast Guard, will work with female veterans at the Harlem Vet Center to build relationships among female veterans and connect them with veterans’ services.

“A big part of this will be doing community outreach and trying to build connections using art as a strategy,” Ms. Rochielle said. The eight-month residency won’t primarily result in physical objects, but will likely involve images, journals, storytelling and social events, she said.

“We’re really concerned with the social function of art,” said Ms. Rochielle, who has had other similar residencies in localities nationwide. She has worked with youth around gang violence in Santa Ana, Calif.

To select the artist-in-residence, the Department of Cultural Affairs solicited proposals, and Ms. Rochielle and Ms. Tinsley’s project was chosen from about 100 applications, said Edwin Torres, the agency’s acting commissioner.Of particular value were Ms. Rochielle’s experience with socially engaged art and Ms. Tinsley’s work around portraits and storytelling for female veterans, he said.

The initiative’s first artist-in-residence, the Cuban artist Tania Bruguera, was placed in the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs earlier this year. The Department of Sanitation has long had an artist-in-residence.

“We want to show people who aren’t in the art world that art and culture can be useful to them, and especially be useful to the population they serve,” Mr. Torres said. “We’re hypothesizing that that’s how you get arts and culture supported at scale.”