Kim Yasuda is an artist and professor of Public Practice in the Department of Art at University of California Santa Barbara. Her work investigates the role of art, artists and educational institutions in community development and civic life. Yasuda’s past exhibition work has been presented at museums and alternative spaces in the U.S., Canada and U.K., including: the New Museum of Contemporary Art and Art in General, New York; Whitney Museum of AmericanArt @ Champion, CT; MIT List Visual Arts Center, Boston; Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada; Camerawork Gallery, East London. Yasuda was the recipient of individual artist grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, US/Japan Foundation, Howard Foundation, Art Matters, Joan Mitchell Foundation and Anonymous Was a Woman Foundation. Her previous commissioned public projects include station designs for the Broad Street Corridor transit system in Providence, Rhode Island, the Green Line Vermont Metrorail and Union Station Gateway Center for the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Los Angeles. Her permanent commemorative works are part of the public art collections for the cities of St. Louis, San Jose and Hollywood, designed to preserve the cultural legacies of these communities.
Yasuda’s current research intersects her university teaching with her public art and design, shaping pedagogical experiments that explore the intersection between institutional knowledge production and a creative practice. Yasuda and her students have undertaken temporary and permanent urban renewal projects in the student community of Isla Vista, an unincorporated area of 25,000 inhabitants adjacent to the UCSB campus. In 2005, Yasuda established the Friday Academy and in 2014 and IV OpenLab, designed as temporary field sites and instructional environments that operate at the intersection of university and community. These open-access, collaborative learning labs maintain a separate academic calendar and curricula to conduct year-round, off-site and multi-disciplinary projects. Yasuda is principal investigator for numerous placemaking grants from the California Arts Council, the Santa Barbara Foundation, the Pearl Chase Community Development Fund and the University of California Multicampus Research Programs and Initiatives to support new public works and land-use partnerships between UC and California communities. Yasuda was the creative director for the public art program, LightWorks, a citywide partnership with the Santa Barbara Arts Commission to host temporary illuminated works by emerging and established light artists in the downtown central parks of Isla Vista. Through the UC Placemaking Initiative, Yasuda and researchers from 4 other UC campuses are developing seed projects across the system and the state, including a program that hosts artists in the UC Natural Reserve System and an artists residency and educational partnership on a hundred year old Japanese American family farm in the community of Turlock, CA.