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Look at Art. Get Paid. (2015-2020)

socially engaged art project

collaboration with Josephine Devanbu

RISD Museum

Look at Art. Get Paid. (LAAGP) is a socially engaged art project that pays people who don’t visit art museums to visit one as guest critics of the art and its institution. This is a still image from a video documentary about LAAGP’s pilot, which launched at the RISD Museum in 2016. We recruited critics through advertisements in public transit; 200+ people responded, and 41 people were invited as guest critics, with priority given to BIPOC, working class folks, and people with disabilities. 

LAAGP addresses the fact that, while museums receive public money to serve the public, 90% of core museum goers are white. Reframing museums attendance as labor, LAAGP reverses the relationship between the paying and the paid, the educator and the educated. Critics offered powerful accounts of what the museum looked and felt like for a newcomer, commenting on the presence of security in the Museum, the lack of advertising in their neighborhoods, the cryptic signage of the Museum. We presented the critiques to RISD Museum staff at an All-Staff Dialogue in 2017 and they yielded impact outlined here.

The model of LAAGP has been adapted by several institutions, including the University Museum of Contemporary Art at UMass Amherst (2021), Toledo Opera (2020-present) and Montclair State University Galleries (2023). 


→ Culture Strike: Art and Museums in an Age of Protest by Laura Raicovich, Verso Books

A Unique Program Pays You to Visit Museums as a Guest Critic Hyperallergic

Creative Minds Out Loud Podcast Massachusetts Cultural Council Podcast

Viewfinder Article National Art Education Association Journal

Research design: Maia Chao, Josephine Devanbu, Bryn Pernot, Maria Paula Garcia Mosquera 

Research ethics: Institutional Review Board of Brown University

Museum support: RISD Museum Public Programs

Administrative support: RISD Research 

Project Advisors: Yona Backer, Janeen Bryant, Kayleigh Bryant-Greenwell, Peter Linett, Monica Montgomery, Laura Raicovich, Nina Simon 

Catering: RISD Dining & Catering

Graphic Design: Hello Velocity - Kevin Wiesner, Lukas Bentel and JS Tan 

Videography: Ian Faria

Photography: Jay Simple

Funding: Rhode Island School of Design Liberal Arts and Fine Arts divisions, RISD Research, and RISD Museum 

Special thanks to Deborah Clemons, Sarah Ganz Bythe, Daniel Hewitt, Niko Lazarakis, Sherie Wills, Daniel Cavicchi

Photos by Jay Simple 

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