MFA students enrolled in Sam Houston State University’s Social Practices in Art program are launching Traveling Social Pharmacy, a mobile pharmacy in April and May to serve the Huntsville community.
Social practice, sometimes called socially engaged practice, is an artform that prompts conversation, collaboration, and/or social interaction between individuals or communities. Houston-based Project Row Houses may be the best-known and longest-running social practice art initiative in Texas. Recently, University of Texas at Dallas professor xtine burrough co-edited the book Art as Social Practice: Technologies for Change which features a chapter by Houston-based artist and curator (and former Glasstire News Editor) Christopher Blay.
Sam Houston State students Marcelle Cavazos, Magda Macias, Glenda Pivaral, and Patrick Richards were moved by the need for medical support that has been brought into focus by the COVID-19 pandemic. Their response was to collaborate with assistant professor and mentor Jody Wood to activate a traveling pharmacy that will bring home remedies to the public. Ms. Wood has previously produced versions of this project in three towns in Sweden and in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
Throughout April and in early May, Travel Social Pharmacy will visit libraries and community centers in Huntsville. With the intention of taking a collaborative approach, the artists have been collecting traditional home-remedies from local residents, including from individuals residing in Creekside Retirement, a senior living community in the area. According to a press release announcing the project, some remedies include “the use of a stiff bristle hairbrush to alleviate mild-migraine and repeated encouraging words as a relief to diminish anxiety.”
See Traveling Social Pharmacy’s upcoming stops below.