Susan L Smith (she/her) is a practicing artist and educator, Associate Research Professor of Art, and Graduate Coordinator of the Intermedia Programs at the University of Maine. Smith’s research is situated within issues of land/power and questions concerning extractivist practices, economic and climate forced migration. Her practice encompasses community- based collaboration, and site-based research. Smith believes the physical work is not the art, but an “artifact,” the art lies in the process of immersion and witness of place and community. Recent work focuses on humanitarian aid/arts education within asylum seeker camps at the southern border, fieldwork on riverbanks and industrial sites contaminated with PFAS chemicals, and a project of fruit tree reforestation and pollinator seed library. Smith is a member of the Urban Soils Institute, a global group of art and science researchers committed to soil health, a component of the NYC Soil and Water Conservation District, and SWALE, Governor’s Island. Smith is also a 2024 Center for Artistic Activism Fellow, working in civic engagement advocacy.
Susan is currently developing “uprooted collective” as a vehicle to create work that focuses on stewardship and interdependency as a way to imagine an alternative future.
About the University of Maine
The University of Maine is a top-tier research institution in the heart of Maine, with an emphasis on land and waterway stewardship, and public outreach. As the coordinator and faculty member for the interdisciplinary MFA program, Susan works with a community of diverse creatives; a close knit group of learners and creative producers. They are committed to our responsibility as artists outside the studio space — working at the intersections of science, environment and community engagement.
Faculty Fellowship Focus
Feminist Practice: This class will focus on the ever evolving definition of intersectional feminist practice, the convergence of high and low art, political and activist art, and the contributions of feminist artists and theory to cultural; production and policy. The class will examine how art aligns with feminist thought, experience and action, and the way in which this can enable structural change.
“I am beyond excited by the opportunity to collectively work with my local community to protect our freedom to vote, and with students to create actions that will also inspire them to carry on the work long after the class is over.”– Susan L Smith, Associate Professor of Research, Dept of Art, Graduate Coordinator, Intermedia Graduate Programs, at University of Maine