Michigan State University
Michigan State University
Department of Art, Art History, and Design
2017–2018 Critical Race Studies Artist/Designer in Residence

The Critical Race Studies Residency Program is designed to empower artistic creativity that drives cultural transformation through a shared engagement with creative practice. The true impact of this program creates opportunities for shared experiences that embody the core values of MSU to cultivate diversity, create a positive environment, and embody inclusiveness with passion and determination.

Appointed to the inaugural positions were:

  • Alejandro T. Acierto, sound & media artist
  • Karen Hampton, textile artist

As part of their residency, Acierto and Hampton produced substantial public projects that engage in critical approaches to diversity and inclusion through creative practice. They each mounted solo presentations of their work, taught two courses in the Studio Art and Apparel and Textile Design programs, and participated in outreach to the community throughout the year, working in some of MSU’s most publicly accessible spaces, such as (SCENE) Metrospace, MSU Union Art Gallery, Broad Art Museum, and Kresge Art Center, as well as locations in the greater Lansing community.

Alejandro T. Acierto

Acierto’s work considers the breath, the voice, and the processes that enable them as materials to reflect on themes of belonging and affinity. Within a conceptual-based practice, he employs sound and sonic thinking that are invested in interdisciplinary investigations to make installation-based projects, sculptural gestures, and sounding time-based performance works. Through various modalities, his art projects consider how the breath and voice are mediated through technology, material objects, history, and the body.

man posing for picture

Acierto comes to Michigan State University from the University of Illinois, Chicago, where he recently completed his M.F.A. He also holds a Master of Music in Contemporary Performance from Manhattan School of Music and a Bachelor of Music from DePaul University. This year, he presented solo exhibitions at the Sub-Mission and Roman Susan in Chicago and will present new performance works at the Art Institute of Chicago later this fall. To learn more about the solo exhibition he mounted at (SCENE) Metrospace, In the Absence of Sight, in association with the Critical Race Studies Artist Residency, please click here.

Alejandro Acierto is Andrew W. Mellon Assistant Professor of Digital Art and New Media at Vanderbilt University.

Karen Hampton

Hampton responds in her work to the under-representation of black and brown histories in the American historical record. Based in ethnographic research techniques, her artwork is steeped in oral history. She views herself as a vehicle by which ancestral voices can transcend history and remain as historical memory. The canvas of her work is coarsely woven cloth that is aged and imbued with conceptualized images and text from a forgotten part of the American story. Viewing her artwork as a form of resistance, she tells quieter American stories usually buried in the everyday experiences of family life.


Hampton comes to Michigan State University from Los Angeles. Her recent solo exhibition, “The Journey North,” traveled from the Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art, Hamilton College, to the Honolulu Museum of Art. She holds an M.F.A. in Textile Design from the University of California, Davis, and a B.A. in Humanities from New College of California in San Francisco. To learn more about the solo exhibition she mounted at the MSU Union Art Gallery, WATER Puerto Rico......Flint IS A HUMAN RIGHT, please click here.

Karen Hampton is Assistant Professor in 3d Design and Fiber at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design.