SPARC Fellow Barbara Benish

U.S. artist Barbara Benish moved to the Czech Republic in 1993, after completing a year as a Fulbright scholar in Prague. Benishʼs work has been collected and shown internationally since 1979 in over 200 exhibitions, at institutions such as P.S.1 Museum in New York, U.N.E.S.C.O. Headquarters in Paris, the Venice Biennale in Italy, and the Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

Besides making art, Benish also has taught art and lectured on it since the late 80's at various institutions including Claremont Graduate School in California, the Academy of Art in Brno, the Academy of Art and Design in Prague, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the University of California, and Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA., to name a few. Her curating and project organizing have focused on international exchange between the U.S. and former Czechoslovakia, including the ground-breaking project "Dialogue: Prague/Los Angeles" in 1989, that co-incided with the historical political events in Central Europe.

Since 2004, Barbara founded Art Dialogue, which runs ArtMill Center for Sustainable Creativity in the rural Bohemian countryside. Ensconced on the two-acre site is an organic garden, stables, a gallery, a cottage for artists-in-residency and the barn/studio for international summer programs for youth.

Since 2010 Art Dialogue works with the United Nations Safe Planet Campaign, which raises awareness globally on hazardous chemicals and wastes in the environment. Benish acts as Advisor in Arts, Education and Outreach. She also recently co-chaired the Transformative Education Forum Committee for the UN Rio + 20 Conference on Sustainable Development, in Rio de Janiero.

As a California native, Barbara is delighted to be back on the West Coast with her youngest daughter, Natalia.

Working with SPARC Czech Republic based Art Dialogues alongside the UN Environmental Program, Safe Planet and the California States Parks, Barbara is planning the development of the SS Palo Alto Art Park Project to create a satellite research space/art park for experimental arts and ecological research. This multi-year project is in the development stages but will be used by SPARC, artists, scientists, UCSC faculty and students.