Elise Putnam is an artist and educator. Her practice critically considers her position within shared physical and cultural spaces from small-scale drawings of everyday observations to performative spectacle to on-going community workshops. In her teaching and studio practice, she is committed to expanding access to the arts to people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds.
Putnam was born in Chicago; she received a BA from UC Berkeley and an MA from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She served as a US Peace Corps volunteer in South Africa; she was the artist in residence at San Jose State University in 2012; has been a teaching artist with Young Audiences of Northern California since 2013, and designed the program “Reflect” a middle school girls’ art group.
She joined the Department of Art Practice at UC Berkeley in 2013 when she developed Art 196, a course that prepares university students to teach art in underserved bay area schools. She is also the program coordinator for the UC Berkeley Bridging the Arts program.
Putnam lives and works in Oakland, CA.