B-YOU/Build Your Own University with Bruce High Quality Foundation University

Program Date: March 25, 2017 at 4:00 pm

B-YOU/Build Your Own University is a workshop that explores how to start your own school and is led by organizers Bruce High Quality Foundation University, a free university started by the internationally exhibiting, anonymous artist collective Bruce High Quality Foundation in 2009.  Faculty member, award-winning poetAna Božičević, and artists-in-residence from Bruce High Quality Foundation University,Nina Behrle and Jesse Chun, will lead a sharing session, workshop and primer on how to build your own university at Franklin Street Works on Saturday, March 25, from 4:00 – 6:00pm. The workshop will delve into questions around pedagogy and organizing a grass roots platform for learning.  What can you teach and what do you want to know about art? How does one even design and implement administrative policies and a curriculum? This is a free public program. Drop-ins welcome, but RSVPs help us plan. RSVP: terri@franklinstreetworks.org.

This event is one of seven free, educational programs planned around our current exhibition “Love Action Art Lounge,”  a group show featuring works that are generated from or encourage convivial social scenes, freedom of expression, and interpersonal connectivity.  Two of the exhibiting collectives in the show, House of Ladosha and Go!PushPops, met in art school and began making work after getting to know each other socially. Similarly, the originators of Bruce High Quality Foundation University are a collective that was formed when they were in art school at Cooper Union. New York Times critic Roberta Smith wrote about their genesis in 2009, “The Bruces, as the members … are often called, guard their anonymity fiercely. But they are generally known to be a band of artists, all male, some of whom became friends while undergraduates at Cooper Union in the late ’90s, when Hans Haacke, one of the fathers of institutional critique, was still teaching there.”

This free, two-hour workshop will take place in Franklin Street Works’ upstairs gallery. The exhibition “Love Action Art Lounge” will also be on view, providing participants with opportunities for both hands-on and viewing experiences at the event.


BHQFU is New York’s freest art school, a learning experiment where artists work together to manifest creative, productive, resistant, useless, and demanding interactions between art and the world. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, BHQFU offers completely tuition-free courses on a variety of subjects during fall and spring semesters, hosts public programs and exhibitions year-round, and operates cost-free artist studio residency programs.


Nina Behrle graduated from Mason Gross at Rutgers in 2014. Her 3D kinetic work bridges the worlds of sculpture, prop design, and comedy. She is a figurative sculptor, figuratively speaking. She’s also an MFU Artist in Residence at BHQFU, where she teaches Skill Yourself, a hybrid course comprised of skill-based workshops and an immersive, interdisciplinary, collaborative exhibition project.

Ana Božičević is the author of Joy of Missing Out (Birds, LLC, 2017), the Lambda Award winning Rise in the Fall (Birds, LLC, 2013) and other books of poetry, and the translator of It Was Easy to Set the Snow on Fire by Zvonko Karanović (Phoneme Media, 2017). Ana has read, taught and performed at Art Basel, Bowery Poetry Club, Harvard, Naropa University, San Francisco State University Poetry Center, the Sorbonne, Third Man Records, University of Arizona Poetry Center, and The Watermill Center. She is the studio manager at The Bruce High Quality Foundation and teaches poetry at BHQFU.

Jesse Chun is an interdisciplinary artist from Seoul, Hong Kong, New York and Toronto. Her practice engages with the elements of language, context, and cultural memory to investigate the conditions of belonging. Select venues of exhibitions and fellowships include the Bronx Museum of the Arts, Spencer Brownstone Gallery, Fridman Gallery, BRIC and Lehman College Art Gallery (NY), CICA Museum and Incheon International Women Artists Bienniale (Seoul), Lite-Haus Galerie (Berlin) and Space Debris Art (Istanbul). Her work has been reviewed in Artforum, the Wall Street Journal, the Korea Times, Hyperallergic, Vice, Asia Literary Review and Art21. She’s an MFU Artist in Residence at BHQFU, where she teaches ESL: Transcultural Poetics, a class examining the interplay of image and text, poetry, and multilingual narratives.

“You, I, and Other” with artist Julian Phillips

Program Date: April 01, 2017 at 3:00 pm

“You, I, and Other” is a participatory workshop designed by artist Julian Phillips where the artist uses news, his experiences and a decontextualized stage play script to imagine new approaches in discussing topics around race and othering. Phillips uses these texts as tools for catalyzing conversations about how the “other” is thought of and addressed in discussions and for collectively exploring the subject of race at a personal and social level with workshop participants. The workshop is on Saturday, April 1, from 3:00 – 5:00 pm, and will be followed by casual reception in the Franklin Street Works’ until 5:30 pm cafe where beer, wine, coffee drinks and more will be available for sale.

“After leading and having countless conversations about race through the years, I wanted to approach “talking” in a new way,” explains Phillips, “My solution to preventing a dialogue that can swiftly collapse, was to propose a conversation as an artwork. I aim to liberate our discourse and shift it to a place of more understanding and honesty.”

The workshop idea was sparked by a particular scene in a play Phillips read, and he began to imagine how the structure of a play could be used to bring about the same results of honest exchange in conversation. The artist’s script is designed to free participants from the personalization of the ideas of race by using someone else’s words. For the workshop, notecards provide simple prompts and participants finish the thoughts and turn them in anonymously. In the latest version of these conversational works, the artist is looking to open the conversation past the binary terms of black and white, making race an important component in this dialogue, but by no means the only one. The ultimate aim is to move the conversation closer to art and, in doing so, expand the possibilities of honest exchange.

Workshop participants will divide into groups, complete sentences proposed by Phillips, discuss perspective and language of their responses. Then everyone will gather as a larger group to determine how they want the scripts to be performed. Afterwards a discussion will take place on participants’ experience.



Julian Louis Phillips is a New York based artist and photographer. He primarily inquires about social issues through, photography, video, and performance. The themes of race, identity, poverty, and religion are throughout his work. Generally his questions seek to find the persisting nature of societal problems and its constructs.

Phillips graduated from Saint Joseph’s University, after studying Studio Art and Psychology. He is currently an MFA student in the Social Practice Queens program at Queens College. Phillips leads discussions and lectures on race and art throughout the northeast.

“Scribe Empathy: Tools for Compassionate Listening and Visual Transcription” with artist Virginia Lee Montgomery

Program Date: April 08, 2017 at 1:00 pm

Franklin Street Works is hosting the original event “Scribe Empathy: Tools for Compassionate Listening and Visual Transcription” with “Business Witch,” Virginia Lee Montgomery on Saturday, April 8th from 1:00 – 3:00 pm. The program was created by Montgomery exclusively for Franklin Street Works as part of the programming for its current exhibition “Love Action Art Lounge,” a group exhibition that features works that are generated from or encourage convivial social scenes, freedom of expression, and interpersonal connectivity. Drop-ins are welcome, but RSVP’s help organizers plan. RSVP to: terri@franklinstreetworks.org

For Scribe Empathy, interdisciplinary artist and professional Graphic Recorder Virginia Lee Montgomery will lead a two-hour workshop in active listening and drawing to visually map out each other’s stories. Learn how to create a one-page summary of your own personal story via simple infographics and how in return to deeply listen and create a visual summary of another’s journey.

The facilitation process of Graphic Recording cultivates understanding. When employed collaboratively, it enables radical empathy. Talk together, draw together, be together. Artist Virginia Lee Montgomery, “Business Witch”, will teach practical visual note-taking skills from her professional experiences working as a Graphic Recorder in the business and non-profit worlds.

What is Graphic Recording? Graphic Recording is the translation of conversations into images and text. Also referred to as reflective graphics, graphic listening, etc., it involves capturing people’s ideas and expressions—in words, images and color—as they are being spoken in the moment. It is a perfect tool for bridging the world of interior thought, visual thinking and outward communication for it helps to illuminate how we as people connect, contribute, learn and make meaning together.


Virginia Lee Montgomery works in video, performance, sound, and sculpture. She channels affects of the emotive and economic uncanny to manage circulations of exchange. Montgomery received her MFA from Yale University School of Art in 2016 and her BFA from The University of Texas at Austin in 2008. Between her BFA and MFA she worked in corporate creative consulting as a Visual Knowledge Worker translating innovation cycles as a responsive form. Selected engagements include Material Deviance at Sculpture Center, NY (2017), SOS ONSHORE OFFSHORE at MEYOHAS, NY (2016), ONSITE OFFSITE PARASITE, Greene Gallery at Yale University, CT (2016), All Byte: Feminist Intersections in Video Art, Franklin Street Works, CT (2016), things you can’t unthink, Walter Phillips Gallery, CN (2016), and Ideation Accelerator, Wright Nuclear Laboratory, CT (2015). She has been awarded residencies at Coast Time, The Shandaken Project at Storm King and The Vermont Studio Center; she was the recipient of Yale University’s Susan H. Wedon Award and the Toby Devan Lewis Fellowship 2016 Nominee in Sculpture.


“Witchcraft: a corporeal practice” with NYC dancer iele paloumpis

Program Date:

“Witchcraft: a corporeal practice” with past exhibiting artist iele paloumpis is a participatory workshop where we will explore movement, ritual and visualization as pathways toward re-patterning stagnant energy. The event takes place at Franklin Street Works on Saturday April 8 from 3:30 – 6:00 pm. This is a free, public event, and RSVPs help us plan-  RSVP to  terri@franklinstreetworks.org. Drop-ins welcome if space is available. This is one of several community programs developed for Franklin Street Works’ current exhibition “Love Action Art Lounge,” which is a group exhibition that features works that are generated from or encourage convivial social scenes, freedom of expression, and interpersonal connectivity.

Photo by: Deanna Flores Cochran

Over the past few years, changes in dancer iele paloumpis’ health and body shifted the ways they approached dance and daily life. Without concrete answers from doctors or various bodyworkers, they began looking to witchcraft and earth-based rituals as somatic practices of integration, acceptance and healing. iele also has considered how all bodies – whether elderly, disabled, or otherwise “different” – can enter into dance.

“The iconic symbol of the witch has recently made a comeback among younger feminists who are part of the current “fourth wave” of feminism,” explains Franklin Street Works’ Creative Director, Terri C Smith, “The term ‘witch’ was born in the 15th century from the idea of a threatening woman. My understanding is that this coincided with the printing press and pamphlets that were used to spread the falsity that these empowered women would be downfall of men.  Rather than seeing the witch as a negative or “evil” force, many of today’s feminists/womanists look to the witch as a metaphor for female power, the outsider, a person who stands on their own terms and/or an individual empowered to harness nature and spirit to manifest change in the world.”

For this workshop, participants will look to ritual, Tarot imagery, astrology and the lunar calendar, as well as their own unique and defiant bodies to generate restorative movement. Seasonal and astrological influences have a visceral effect on bodies, so participants will simply be tapping into what is already present. Come with an awareness of something you might like to shed, heal and/or embrace.

Workshop  participant, Yonah Adelman, reflects her experience with the workshop, “iele’s facilitation of their Witchcraft – A Corporeal Practice workshop felt welcoming and affirming to my experience, identity and mental state. With their gentle and mindful guidance, I felt a sense of opening and release, which I experienced pretty viscerally in my body and through my movements…. The space they created felt transformative and I left feeling rejuvenated and hungry for more.”

This workshop is for anyone interested in connecting to their bodies. There will be time to improvise and make movement, and the workshop is tailored to make sure folks get whatever they want out of the event. paloumpis adds, “If dancing or improvising feels intimidating/not right in the moment, participants can engage in other equally valid ways (i.e.: through writing, drawing, or observing). Overall, the goal during this workshop is to tune into our bodies in whatever ways feel good to us as individuals.”






The programs at Franklin Street Works are explorations of creative projects that inspire contemporary art enthusiasts to come together in conversation.

Exhibition Programming

Exhibition programming expands on the art space’s original shows through a closer look at the art on view, stimulating conversations surrounding the exhibition’s theme. For our exhibition programming, Franklin Street Works connects communities with artists, curators, and innovative cultural producers via free public workshops, performances, and talks. These efforts elucidate each exhibition by going more deeply into its intentions and adding discursive content through educational and social interactions.

Exhibition programs include artists’ presentations, tours, performances, and hands on activities, such as artist Emily Larned’s book binding workshop. Notable participatory performances include Trisha Baga’s “The Garden Party” — where the public joined in the artist’s parade from Franklin Street Works to the Landmark Square building in Downtown Stamford, Connecticut; and David Horvitz’s “Honey Locust Tree Relocation” project where participants from Connecticut and New York carried more than thirty Honey Locust tree saplings from Clocktower Gallery in New York City to their new home at Franklin Street Works. Generative, cross-disciplinary programs are another way Franklin Street Works explores the relevance of contemporary art, such as the 2013 exhibition-inspired poetry reading and zine featuring texts by UConn, Stamford, writing students.

Ongoing Programming

The ongoing programs at Franklin Street Works are community-building events that show the breadth of cultural production in and around Fairfield County. For our ongoing programming, Franklin Street Works has featured VJs, musicians, novelists, DJs, website designers, artists, writers, and filmmakers from the region in one-night events that showcase their efforts at different phases of development. In-progress programs include events such as artist Renee Kahn workshopping a new, immersive installation and receiving audience feedback. Finished projects have included Kent Evans’ performance using text from his published book and a talk by two website designers about their online projects.

Emily Larned’s book binding workshop

The Garden Party with Trisha Baga

Honey Locust Tree Relocation

UConn reading