Jeanne van Heeswijk, winner of the 2011 Annenberg Prize for Art and Social Change, is an “urban curator” who creates communal public spaces and artistic interventions that function to re-engage citizens with their communities.

Jeanne van Heeswijk

Guided by an overwhelming optimism about the relationship between art and society, Jeanne van Heeswijk seeks to permanently engage citizens in the enactment of social change within their own communities. Her confrontational projects transcend the traditional boundaries of art in duration, space, media, and stratification, while rejecting art’s autonomy by combining meetings, discussions, seminars, lectures, and other forms of communication to convey her message. Visualizing a shared problem inspired by a particular current event, she integrates herself within the community, becomes an active citizen, and encourages neighbors and community members to participate in the planning and realization of the project. A self-proclaimed “urban curator,” van Heeswijk establishes an innovative network, or a communal public space, that can maintain open debates and foster discussions of social justice once her project is tangibly finished. For It Runs in the Neighborhood (2008), she produced six episodes of Norway’s first television-soap, which were then aired on the Internet, TV, and public screens. Based on the reality of hospital life, the soap was designed to reveal the medical and ethical dilemmas that doctors, employees, patients, and visitors encounter daily. Van Heeswijk studied at the Jan van Eyck Akademie at Masstricht and the Academy of Fine Arts in Tilburg. Her projects have been exhibited in internationally renowned biennials such as Venice, Busan, Taipei, and Shanghai.

Born 1965 in Schijndel, the Netherlands.
Lives and works in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.