Brett Cook is an interdisciplinary artist and educator who uses storytelling as a vehicle to distill complex ideas, and creative practices to transform outer and inner worlds of being. Cook’s objects feature painting, drawing, photography, and elaborate installations to tell pluralistic stories that reinvent representation. His public projects typically involve community workshops featuring arts-integrated pedagogy, along with music, performance, and food to create a fluid boundary between art making, daily life, and healing.
He has received numerous awards, including the Lehman Brady Visiting Professorship at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Richard C. Diebenkorn Fellowship at the San Francisco Art Institute. Recognized for a history of socially relevant, community engaged projects, he was selected as cultural ambassador to Nigeria as part of the U.S. Department of State's 2012 smARTpower Initiative. His work is in private and public collections including the Smithsonian/National Portrait Gallery, the Walker Art Center, the Studio Museum of Harlem, and Harvard University. In 2009, he published Who Am I In This Picture: Amherst College Portraits with Wendy Ewald and Amherst College Press, and in 2016, Clouds In A Teacup with Thich Nhat Hanh and Parallax Press.
In 2017 he was Director of Social Practice and Pedagogy at San Francisco State University Healthy Equity Institute and a Visiting Professor in Community Arts/Social Practice and Diversity Studies at California College for the Arts. He is currently a trustee of A Blade of Grass: Nurturing Socially Engaged Art.