posted by CAA — Dec 06, 2018
Hello, I’m Niku Kashef, a Los Angeles based artist, educator, and independent curator. I also maintain a commercial photography practice. I have both taught and exhibited work at the local and international levels and produced arts programming for more than a decade. I came to academia after a long time away working in various other areas in the arts, namely: Los Angeles theater; design and video production; technology; building professional resources for creatives in commercial and fine-art; co-developing one of the first online portfolio hosting resources for artists and working in the commercial arts.
I question how non-constituents can become further involved, and how we can more broadly reach and bring the standards set by CAA to contingent faculty, non-academic artists, and those balancing other arts careers like the commercial-arts/design professionals. I excited by the focus of CAA’s Strategic plan to extend the dialogue we have with each other once a year in more dynamic ways beyond the February conference to include regional meetings, outreach, networking opportunities and for our members to find new ways to share scholarship and advocacy work in underrepresented areas.
I am also interested in bringing diversity and representation to the Board from my roles as a part-time lecturer of art, a full-time interdisciplinary artist, a full-time single mother, a part-time commercial artist, a past Director for the National Women’s Caucus for Art, a two-time Past-President of the Southern California Women’s Caucus for Art, an independent curator, and an Angelino. My practice in all these areas begins with non-hierarchical feminist values of equity and agency for diverse perspectives. I believe these varied experiences allow me to identify with many of our CAA members, and engage the larger community who balance their practice by wearing multiple-hats.
My interest to serving on the CAA Board stems from the desire to offer more resources for individuals like myself while fostering closer relationships with the non-academic art community, art historians, curators, and arts administrators. I was first introduced to CAA in 2007 during graduate school. While a member of CAA, I have served on two committees: Student and Emerging Professionals (SEPC) for three years and Services to Artists (SAC) for four years, the latter of which I have additionally served on as Chair for an additional three years. The SAC produces content for ARTspace and MediaLounge as well as the Distinguished Artist interviews and ARTexchange.
The participation in production of conference offerings, sharing time, space and ideas with like-minded peers, as well as a desire to be of service to young artists’ professional development was the powerful draw that brought me to join the SEPC. On that committee I helped create the mock interviews and what would later become the informal “discussions” now named the brown bag lunch.
During my time with SAC, I helped create a series of panels about artists in non-traditional career paths, parent-artist and family collaborations, and balancing family/personal life and practice; I have continued this series of artist-as-parent offerings yearly since it’s inception. I have also helped lead the development of a new dynamic conference offering “Open Source: Artist Resource Roundtables” bringing local and National organizations to a dynamic roundtable format.
If elected to the Board, I feel my background can support the concerns of the full spectrum of CAA’s membership as well as speak to ways we can consider how to expand our advocacy in underrepresented areas in our arts community.