Letter to the School of Art Community -- June 1, 2020

Dear School of Art Community,

We write you with heavy hearts this week as we acknowledge the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and Breonna Taylor, following the deaths of so many members of the black community. We want to offer our support and our solidarity as a group. We care deeply about you: as students, as cultural practitioners, as members of diverse communities.

To the members of our community protesting in the streets, we support you. Please stay safe and continue to look out for one another. Please consider Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's guide to being prepared for safe protests.

To the members of our community for whom protest takes a different form, we support you. Activism takes many shapes, especially during a global pandemic, and especially for those with health conditions. Please keep in mind the various roles that activists can take, as mapped by Deepa Iyer in this role map, shared by the students in the Black Student Union and Climate Coalition meeting earlier today.

Please keep in mind that the health and wellness services of the Student Affairs office are open and can be reached through the website at any time. 

We acknowledge the horror of the collision between life and these situations; we see and experience it too. As a group of individuals in the School of Art – faculty, staff, and administration – we continue to be committed to the ongoing work for a more just and humane world through art and education, specifically for us this includes decolonizing our curriculum and our spaces of art praxis.

With love,

Mike, Adriana, Leslie, Will, Doug, Fia, Cristóbal, Dennis, Coco, Lucy, and Sam

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.