Columbia Law School announced that Harlem-based photographer, artist, and educator Bayeté Ross Smith has been named artist-in-residence for the 2021–2022 academic year. Columbia Law established this new program as a way to examine and broaden how the institution honors its history and values, while also celebrating its vibrant and diverse community.
While in residence, Ross Smith will engage directly with faculty and students in classes, co-curricular events, and other related programs. He will showcase installations of his work on the Law School campus, where he will maintain a studio space and have access to Columbia’s existing art collection and the Columbia University Libraries archives. Ross Smith plans to use the residency to expand on his “Art of Justice” project, a series of art and media installations and corresponding programs that addresses contemporary social, political, and human rights issues while strategically engaging the legal community.
“I am thrilled and honored to have been chosen as Columbia Law School’s inaugural artist-in-residence,” said Ross Smith. “This opportunity will allow me to advance my work utilizing the storytelling power of the arts to engage law students, legal scholars, and future policymakers in the contemporary and historic social justice issues and human rights issues that must be addressed in order for society to make the necessary progress we need over the course of the next century and beyond.”
Through his work, Ross Smith hopes to help shape the perspectives of law students during the formative years of their professional training. “We are delighted to welcome Bayeté Ross Smith as our first artist-in-residence,” said Gillian Lester, Dean and Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law. “Bayeté’s art examines many of the social, cultural, and justice-oriented issues that are key elements of the Law School’s mission. He pushes creative boundaries with exceptional creativity and has a passion for challenging bias through education and promoting social justice through artistic expression.”