Sara Daleiden facilitates civic engagement within developing landscapes, exercising arts and cultural exchange strategies. With bases in Los Angeles and Milwaukee through her initiative MKE<->LAX, she encourages local cultures to value neighborhoods, public space, civic art, entrepreneurship and racial and gender equity. Sara has an expertise in working with artists and other cultural entrepreneurs for civic engagement, creative placemaking, network development and small business development.
Her project at 18th Street Arts Center grows out of the placekeeping work that 18th Street has been engaged in over the past six years through our cultural asset mapping project (culturemapping90404.org) and our Commons Lab, which involves community voices to define, center, and connect cultural practices within their own neighborhoods. Her practice investigates the influence of location, scale, market, values and other regional factors on the production of the arts and cultural identity. Through methodologies involving partnership mapping, network building, and the facilitation of self-organizing and advocacy, Daleiden aims to enhance the advocacy power of artists in influencing neighborhood development in the city. Her durational engagement with 18th Street will spin off land-based activations with opportunities for neighbors, artists, city staff, and the broader public to participate. Daleiden will be collaborating with arts workers Nicola Goode, Susannah Laramee Kidd, Dorit Cypis and Kimberli Meyer with this artist project.
Projects she has worked on that relate to her current intentions with building an 18SAC artist network include:
Fueling Greater Milwaukee creatives: empowering community
As an emerging artist in the region around Milwaukee, Wisconsin where she was born and raised, Sara was influenced by the founding of the Milwaukee Artist Resource Network in the early 2000s. The network’s intention is to connect emerging and established artists to each other to build professional development resources and grow their market access and career sustainability. Sara has been engaged with the network as an arts leader since its formation, including serving on its non-profit board and focusing on strategic partnerships and mentorship. From 2012–2015, she further developed MARNsalons, a professional networking program, to bring internationally recognized artists, curators and critics to Milwaukee for studio visits and roundtable discussions with local artists, curators and critics. In 2014, Sara partnered with the Chicago Artist Coalition to exercise their Midwest Artist Exchange between Chicago and Milwaukee as another professional networking program. Local artists and curators spent a weekend hosting each other in their respective city to share practices and visit studios, galleries, art centers and public art, all while appreciating their regional connection through the freshwater body of Lake Michigan.
Sara was a senior lecturer and program consultant for the Graduate Public Practice Program from 2009–2016, which was an 18SAC organization-in-residence until 2017. The internationally-renowned program was dedicated to providing artists with advanced skills for working in the public sphere. Sara worked closely with current 18SAC artist-in-residence and founding chair of the program Suzanne Lacy, along with other local and international arts workers working within public art, community art, social practice and other related forms. Sara taught critical pedagogy, professional practice and production studio; and mentored students through independent study, thesis writing and final degree projects. Sara designed and facilitated public engagement with local and international practitioners at the 18SAC campus, along with other sites nationally, to grow a network focused on defining public practice within the fields of fine arts and social justice organizing. Often hosted in alumni’s spaces, Sara piloted Market Lab with alumni and students to offer critique of in process artwork and to imagine ways of further developing market around the project and the artist’s practice.
As a cultural production consultant for the MAK Center for Art and Architecture, L.A. at the Schindler House, Sara collaboratively conceived, designed and facilitated an international exchange program called the Urban Future Initiative. Dedicated to meaningful cross-cultural exchange about the future of the contemporary city, the initiative provided networking and research fellowships for international creative thinkers. The cohort included artists, architects, designers and urban scholars from nations such as Indonesia, Venezuela, Iran, South Africa, China and Peru. Research topics encompassed growth and migration, economic and political theory, and gender dynamics and ecology. The initiative ran from 2008–2010 and included public programs at historic Schindler properties and throughout the Los Angeles area. Urban Future Initiative was supported by a grant, co-written by Sara, from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Sara was the publication coordinator and editorial advisor for the culminating publication Urban Future Manifestos, published by Hatje Cantz.