Non-Professional Development Workshop

A platform conceived by Mary Ting and Nicolás Dumit Estévez Raful
Presented in partnership with Artists Alliance Inc. 

Professional development programs endeavor to give artists the practical tools to survive in the art world in this time of rising expectations, and education and living costs.  This training, with its emphasis on “how to emerge, how to network and build your name” is often focused on art as a means of production for the market, instead of art as a form of creative expression.  In its well-intentioned mentoring on strategic planning for the career track, it –purposefully or not– sets expectations about what constitutes professional success, constraining the possibilities for making art and being an artist. The Non-Professional Development Workshop series seeks to provide alternative approaches, reflections and humor on the evolving realities of the creative person and extend the definition of what it means to be an artist in the 21st century. This series of events will be presented in collaboration with non-profit institutions throughout New York City, including Critical Practice Inc and Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts.



November 10, 2018 from 3-5p
Roundtable discussion
EFA Project Space: 323 W. 39th St, 2nd Flr, NYC
Presented by Bill Carroll, Mary Ting, Jodi Waynberg, and Martha Wilson
Free; open to all in the arts: artists, art students, curators, among others

This event seeks to bring together artists from EFA Project Space, AAI,
and other organizations for a conversation on the topic of the
over-professionalization of the arts. 

In collaboration with Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts
As part of As Far as the Heart Can See at EFA Project Space

As Far as the Heart Can See
Curated by Nicolás Dumit Estévez Raful
EFA Project Space
On view: September 21 – November 17, 2018

November 29, 2018
LTR #6.5, a roundtable discussion On Over-Professionalization
Presented in collaboration with Critical Practice Inc.
Discussion prompters: Karen Holmberg and Nancy Hwang

Open by invitation-only; a recording of the conversation is available upon request

Recommended Readings

Questions from Nicolás Dumit Estévez Raful to Linda Mary Montano, 2018 (here)

Tsing, A. L. (2015). Spore Trail: The further adventures of a mushroom. The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins. Princeton and Oxford, Princeton University Press: 285-288. (here)

Prompter Bios

Karen Holmberg is an archaeologist and volcano fetishist. She is also the Principal Investigator for a National Geographic grant to examine archaeological and geoheritage in Patagonia at Chaiten, Chile. Working with a transdisciplinary team, she is examining the rock art cave in a context of repeated volcanic events and extreme sea-level change. Her research focuses on disaster, perception, and environmental change over the very long term in human history. Karen Holmberg is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Environmental Science at the Gallatin School of New York University.

Karen received a creative commission for the Creating Earth Futures initiative from the Royal Holloway Centre for Geohumanities to examine the entanglement of narratives of volcanoes with social upheaval and climate changes. She is also a recent laureate of the Make Our Planet Great Again program, through which she will collaborate with the Laboratoire de Geographie Physique, Pantheon-Sorbonne).  She is also part of the Cities, Cultures, Climate Change working group at the Institute for Public Knowledge as well as its partner, The Climate Working Group. Karen is among the amazing list of women in volcanology in the blog post: It’s all for you, girl! as well in Scientific American’s ‘How to find a woman scientist’ discussion of a new database that seeks to fight the poor visibility of women in STEM and advocates for diversity and equity in the sciences. Karen received her PHD in anthropology from Columbia University.

Born in Seoul and based in New York, Nancy Hwang has been producing audience-participatory projects spanning two decades in North America, Europe and Asia. Always possessing a sense of open-endedness, chance and spontaneity, her practice involves making connections and building relationships. Her current ongoing project Somewhere in America invites proposals for traveling with her within the US. Visit to submit your proposal!

Past Programs

April 19, 2018
LTR #6.3, a roundtable discussion On Over-Professionalization
Presented in collaboration with Critical Practice Inc.
Discussion prompters: Mary Ting and Nicolás Dumit Estévez Raful

Open by invitation-only; a recording of the conversation is available upon request

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Mary Ting uses the framework of drawing, installation, community projects, writing and lectures to reflect and comment on cultural history, grief and our relationship to nature.  Her two ongoing community projects are Daffodil Ashes on Grief and ENDANGERED!. Solo exhibitions include Lambent Foundation, Dean Project, metaphor contemporary art, and Kentler Drawing Space.  Ting has received grants and residencies from the New York Foundation for the Arts, LMCC, Gottlieb Foundation, Pollack Krasner Foundation, Lambent Foundation, Joan Mitchell Center, NOLA, LMCC at Governor’s Island, MacDowell Colony, and participated in the Bronx Museum Artist in the Marketplace program.  Recent projects include the Central Booking artist residency with the NY Academy of Medicine; Art in Odd Places 2017 and the AFA Kathmandu 2017, On Changing Human Behavior hosted by the Jane Goodall Institute, Nepal. Mary has a BFA from Parsons School of Design, a diploma from the Central Academy of FIne Arts, Beijing and a MFA from Vermont College of Fine Art. She has curated exhibitions for Henry Street Settlement, 456 Gallery, Elsa Mott Ives Gallery, Unicef-Beijing, and John Jay College. Mary teaches at John Jay College in both the art department and the Environmental Justice program.  Mary is also a gardener, certified Citizen Pruner, and Master Composter.

Nicolás Dumit Estévez Raful treads an elusive path that manifests itself performatively or through experiences where the quotidian and art overlap. He has exhibited and performed extensively in the U.S. as well as internationally. Residencies attended include P.S. 1/MoMA, Yaddo, The Center for Book Arts, and the MacDowell Colony. Estévez Raful Holds an MFA from Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA; and an MA from Union Theological Seminary. He is an alumnus of the Artist in the Marketplace (AIM) program at the Bronx Museum of the Arts. Publications include Pleased to Meet You, Life as Material for Art and Vice Versa (editor), and For Art’s Sake. He has curated exhibitions and programs for El Museo del Barrio; the Institute for Art, Religion and Social Justice at Union Theological Seminary; Cuchifritos (Artist Alliance Inc.); Art in Odd Places; the Center for Book Arts; and Longwood Art Gallery/Bronx Council on the Arts, New York; and for the Filmoteca de Andalucía, Córdoba, Spain. Estévez Raful is the Executive Director of The Mangú Museum (pronounced man-goo). Born in Santiago de los Treinta Caballeros, Dominican Republic, in 2011 Estévez Raful was baptized as a Bronxite; a citizen of the Bronx.