BAR HARBOR, MAINE — How to engage audiences with contemporary visual art, inspire creative thinking, and educate a new generation about artists will be the focus of the next Human Ecology Forum at College of the Atlantic.

Susan Dowling, co-creator of Art21, a national prime-time Public Broadcasting System series that features contemporary visual artists, will speak about engaging the public using art. The program begins at 4:10 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 11, in McCormick Lecture Hall. As with all Human Ecology Forums, the talk is free and open to the public.

Now in its seventh season, Art21 is a national prime-time PBS series that features contemporary visual artists. The COA event will include presentation of segments from Season 7, which features 12 artists from the United States, Europe, and Latin America, and transports viewers to artistic projects around the world.

The event is part of Art21 Access ’14 — a global initiative bringing public access to the work and words of contemporary artists through free film screenings. With the help of hundreds of partners, four new one-hour episodes from “Art in the Twenty-First Century, Season 7” will be shown at “access events” across the United States and around the world.

Access events are hosted at museums, libraries, universities, community-based organizations, art spaces, coffee shops and elsewhere worldwide, in partnership with Americans for the Arts, the YMCA, and the National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture. Major underwriting for Season 7 of Art21 was provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Public Broadcasting Service, Agnes Gund, Bloomberg, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation, and Toby Devan Lewis.

“Art21 Access ’14 provides an opportunity for organizations around the country and the world to experience contemporary art,” said Susan Sollins, executive producer of Art21. “We hope that participating organizations find ways to utilize Art21 materials in their communities and that audiences take full advantage of the events in their area. These events are intended to spark new, innovative conversations and expose viewers of all types to the important work of the artists profiled in the series.”

Before her association with Art21, Dowling had been a television producer in the field of visual arts for 25 years. She was originally with the WGBH New Television Workshop in Boston, which produced historically important work in the early years of video art. Subsequently, she was the co-director of the Contemporary Art Television Fund, then served as executive producer of New Television, a program that presented a wide range of experimental work by independent artists and filmmakers from around the world.

Dowling, of Southwest Harbor, now serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Art21 and as a consultant to nonprofit arts organizations nationally.

An updated list of Art21 Access ’14 events and venues worldwide can be found at Details of the Season 7 episodes are listed below.

College of the Atlantic was founded in 1969 on the premise that education should go beyond understanding the world as it is, to enabling students to actively shape its future. A leader in experiential education and environmental stewardship, COA has pioneered a distinctive interdisciplinary approach to learning—human ecology—that develops the kinds of creative thinkers and doers needed by all sectors of society in addressing the compelling and growing needs of our world. For more, visit

Season 7 of Art in the Twenty-First Century on PBS

Episode 1: Investigation; PBS premiere 10 p.m., Friday, Oct. 24

Episode 2: Secrets; PBS premiere 10 p.m., Friday, Oct. 31

Episode 3: Legacy; PBS premiere 10 p.m., Friday, Nov. 7

Episode 4: Fiction; PBS premiere 10 p.m., Friday, Nov. 14

Season 7 will be available on DVD from or by calling 1-(800) PLAY-PBS