Section Title: Public Art in Action

11:10: Traci Molloy, "Against My Will: A Multigenerational Collaboration with Sexual Assault Survivors from Alfred University"


Artists have long made work in response to social inequities, attempting to shed light on injustice and societal wrongs. During this past year, our nation has seen an upsurge of attention being paid to issues pertaining to sexual violence, gender inequality, and workplace harassment. Women (and men) are sharing their stories publicly regarding assault and abuses of power; demonstrating their abilities to persevere and survive.

This presentation will focus on the creation of a large-scale public collaborative installation, Against My Will, made in partnership with individuals that have experienced life altering trauma due to sexual assault. The lecture will focus on all aspects of the project, including topics such as generating trust with the co-collaborators, setting up privacy frameworks, fostering institutional support, generating educational outreach and programming, fundraising, and creating communities of support for healing. It will focus on the role art can provide in terms of engendering social justice, providing a platform of communication for traumatized, dispempowered individuals, and serving as a catalyst for change, while simultaneously functioning as an aesthetic object. The presentation will also touch upon the difficulties that arose while creating this public project, ranging from the emotional and psychological, to institutional, bureaucratic, and financial.


Traci Molloy is a Brooklyn, New York, based artist, collaborator, and education activist. She’s presented her artwork in over 175 national exhibitions, including solo shows in New York, Chicago, Kansas City, Nashville, and participation in the Atlanta Biennial. Her artwork has been reviewed in national and regional publications, including Art Papers, the Reader, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Molloy has been awarded residencies at the Lower Eastside Printshop in New York, the Newark Museum in New Jersey, the Center for Contemporary Printmaking in Connecticut, and at Bucknell University, Alfred University, Rio Grande University, and the University of Southern Maine. She’s received grant funding from the Puffin Foundation and the Ohio Arts Council, as well as having been listed as an On Our Radar artist by Creative Capital.

Along with her independent artwork, Molloy creates large-scale multimedia collaborations with adolescents nationwide, exploring themes of identity, class, race, and gender. She’s particularly interested in the aftermath of violence; specifically, how humans process trauma and grief.

Her collaborations have been exhibited nationally and internationally in locations such as: The International Summit on Racism in Johannesburg, South Africa, The Children’s Museum in Tokyo, the United Nations in New York, the Pentagon in Washington D.C., the Global Health Odyssey Museum at the CDC in Atlanta, the Bronx Museum of Art in New York, and the Norman Rockwell Museum in Massachusetts. Her collaborations are the subject of two books, Empowering Children through Art and Expression and Where Can I Get a Phoenix, and have been featured on Good Morning America, NPR, and news stations in New York, Boston, Atlanta, and Washington D.C. Five of her collaborations are in the Permanent Collection at the National September 11th Memorial and Museum.

Molloy believes teaching is the most basic form of social activism, and has been working to make art accessible to everyone for decades. She has directed outreach programs for underserved youth in rural Appalachia, Atlanta, and the Bronx for over 18 years. The programs have received critical attention and praise from progressive education scholars and institutions including the Annenberg Foundation, the Center for Arts Education, and the Coalition of Essential Schools. She lectures regularly at colleges, universities, and art/education conferences throughout the country.