Artist and writer Ted Purves investigated socially engaged art practice through projects that focus on localism, democracy, and participation. Purves was the founder of the California College of the Arts MFA Area for Social Practice, and the chair of CCA's Graduate Program in Fine Arts. His Momentary Academy (2005), a ten-week long free school operated through the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, manifested in a series of classes attended by gallery visitors and taught by artists participating in the Bay Area Now 4 exhibition. Purves frequently collaborated with artist and professor Susanne Cockrell. Their collaboration began with The Temescal Amity Works (2004-7), an investigation into the exchange of backyard produce, dialogue, and community in Oakland's Temescal Neighborhood. Purves was the editor of the seminal book What We Want Is Free: Generosity and Exchange in Recent Art (2005), and the recipient of a visual arts grant from the Creative Capital Foundation and a Creative Work Fund grant from the Elise and Walter Haas Foundation.
Lived and worked in Oakland, CA.