In 2017, Art in Embassies, US Department of State, entered into a four-year partnership with Western Carolina University, School of Art + Design to create two permanent commissioned artworks for the new U.S. Embassy complex in Niamey, Niger: Du Quotidien, a socially engaged project resulting in a large-scale 40 panel photographic artwork and Salt, Water, Millet, three cast bronze sculptures for the embassy courtyard.

The commissioned projects were structured within a collaborative university course, Public Practice, created by Tom Ashcraft, MFA Director. Over the project timeline, undergraduate and graduate art students engaged in working with Ashcraft, faculty leadership, visiting artists, designers, and scholars. This work included concept research, design, development, presentation of proposal, overseeing fabrication, and final installation of the artwork on the grounds of the U.S. Embassy, Niamey, Niger, 2021.

More information about this project can be found on the Art in Embassies website: https://art.state.gov/western-carolina-university/

Thank you to all the project participants who, without your cooperation, this project would not have become a reality. We appreciate the time discovering our differences and similarities.

Tom Ashcraft

Project Team and Acknowledgements

Project Lead

Tom Ashcraft is an interdisciplinary artist and educator whose diverse practice is rooted in object making and participatory artwork that focuses on the curiosities and rituals of everyday life. He is a founding member of Workingman Collective, a collaborative group of artists and other professionals whose membership, goals and missions change with each project. Ashcraft received a BA in Art from University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, and an MFA in sculpture from Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana. Tom has exhibited and produced work in the U.S., Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean. Awards include National Endowment for the Arts Design Grant, Ford Foundation Fellowship, YADDO Fellowship, NY State Arts Grant, Washington DC Commission on the Arts Award, and a Mabel Pew Grant. Tom Ashcraft is currently a Distinguished Professor and MFA Director in the School of Art + Design, Western Carolina University and is based in Asheville N.C.  

Tom Ashcraft and Workingman Collective are represented by Hemphill Artworks, http://hemphillfinearts.com/ and Tracey Morgan Gallery, http://traceymorgangallery.com/

Du Quotidien Collaboration and Photography

Max Hirshfeld is an internationally known photographer. Hirshfeld studied photography at George Washington University, Washington DC. He has won silver and bronze awards from the Prix de la Photographie Paris, featured in Communication Arts and in American Photography. Hirshfeld’s editorial work has been published in The New York Times Magazine, Time, Vanity Fair, and other national publications, and his advertising work has been showcased in campaigns for Amtrak, Canon and IBM, among others. Max lives and works in Washington DC.

Max Hirshfeld is represented by  the Robert Klien Gallery https://robertkleingallery.com/

“Public Practice”, Student Artist/Project Team, School of Art + Design, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, North Carolina, U.S. 2017 – 2021

Angela Babb (MAT)
Raymond Baccari (MFA)
Brendan Best, (MFA)
Samantha Blanchard (BSED)
Eli Blasko (MFA)
Kate Chassner (MFA)
Annabela Cockrell (BFA)
Kyra Deeter (BSED)
Chelsea Dobert-Kehn (MFA)
Javier Fox (MFA)
Constance Griffin (MAT)
Matt Hellgeth (MFA)
Perry Houlditch (MFA)
Samuel Hutchison (BFA)
Mo Kessler (MFA)
Todd Martin (BFA)
Sara Method (MFA)
Kylie Price (MFA)
Zachary Rogers (MFA)
Kaitlen Rowland (MAT)
Lydia See (MFA)
Taran Swimmer (MAT)
Lex Turnbull (MFA)
Charlotte White (MFA)

Special Thanks To:

Sarah Tanguy, independent curator and arts writer, curator at ART in Embassies (2004 – 2019), Washington D.C., https://sarahtanguy.com/

Tiffany R. Williams, Assistant Curator, Art in Embassies, US Department of State, Bureau of Overseas Building Operations, Washington D.C.

Catherine Martin Payen, film-maker, Director of Studies in Arts and Cultures, (2014 – 2019)
Studies in Arts and Cultures Program, Université Abdou Moumouni, Niamey, Niger

Antoinette Tidjani Alou, researcher, translator, writer and promoter of the arts and culture in Niger,
Professor of French and Comparative Literature, Director of Performing Arts, University of Moumouni, Niamey, Niger

Beth Moore, Administrative Support Associate, School of Art + Design, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC

Patricia Cantrell, Morgan Burnett, Office of Research Administration, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC

Morgan Kennedy, Assistant Professor, School of Art + Design, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC

Rocky Kenworthy, Du Quotidien, printing, digital, fabrication, DOT Editions, Asheville, North Carolina U.S., Doteditions.com https://doteditions.com/

Colby Caldwell, Du Quotidien, scanning boss, project support, REVOLVE, Asheville, North Carolina U.S. http://colbycaldwell.com/

Suzanne Codi, Du Quotidien, translation, Washington DC

Sara Method, Du Quotidien, editing and digital project management, https://saramethod.com/

Jonathan (Jamie) Arbolino, REGISTRAR, Art in Embassies, US Department of State, Bureau of Overseas Building Operations, Washington D.C.

Zac Willis, Art Installation/Consultation, Washington DC

Minh Le, Aia | NCARB, Design Manager, U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations, Washington D.C.

Mr. Soumana Abdouramane Cissé, Cultural Affairs Specialist, U.S. Embassy, Niamey, Niger

Susan Solomon, Cultural Affairs Specialist, U.S. Embassy, Niamey, Niger

Blaine Dargavell, PE, Construction Manager, U.S. Embassy, Niamey, Niger

Chuck Chandonnet, Project Manager, B.L. Harbert International, U.S. Embassy, Niamey Nige

U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations

Inferno Art Foundry, Salt Water Millet, bronze casting, Union City, Georgia http://infernoartfoundry.com/

Spencer Douglas, website design, https://darkwatercreatives.com/

David Orr Belcher College of Fine and Performing Arts / School of Art + Design, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC
https://wcu.edu/learn/departments-schools-colleges/fpa/index.aspx/    http://wcumfa.com/ 

Art in Embassies, U.S. Department of State, https://art.state.gov/western-carolina-university/