Brett Cook

A Blade of Grass Board Member

Brett Cook is an interdisciplinary artist and educator who uses storytelling to distill complex ideas and creative practices to transform outer and inner worlds of being. Using inquiry-based approaches he designs inclusive processes and products that promote awareness and embody the complexity of loving communities. His public projects often involve community workshops featuring arts-integrated pedagogy along with contemplative practices, performance, and food to create a fluid boundary between art making, daily life, and healing.

Teaching and public speaking are extensions of Cook’s social practice that involve communities in dialogue to generate experiences of reflection and insight. He has taught at all academic levels in a variety of subjects, and published in academic journals including the Maryland Institute College of Art and Harvard University. In 2009, he published Who Am I In This Picture: Amherst College Portraits with Brett Cook and Wendy Ewald through Amherst College Press, and in 2016, Clouds In A Teacup with Thich Nhat Hanh and Parallax Press.

Cook has received numerous awards, including the Lehman Brady Visiting Professorship at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the Richard C. Diebenkorn Fellowship at the San Francisco Art Institute. Recognized for a history of socially-relevant, community-engaged projects, he was selected as a cultural ambassador to Nigeria as part of the U.S. Department of State’s 2012 smARTpower Initiative, an inaugural A Blade of Grass Fellow for Socially Engaged Art in 2014, and a 2022 Rainin Fellow by the Kenneth Rainin Foundation. Cook’s work has been featured in private and public collections including the Smithsonian/National Portrait Gallery, the Walker Art Center, and Harvard University. He is currently the inaugural Senior Fellow of visual arts at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

Photo by Smeeta Mahanti