James Rojas

James RojasArtist’s Statement

Combining visual arts with my urban planning knowledge and skills, I aspire to create responsive cities through an inclusive, socially conscious art practice that taps into the basic human need to create. Through facilitated workshops, I provide a level playing field and safe space for public dialogue and creative collaborations. I give participants the tools and knowledge to take control of the world around them by reflecting upon, exploring, participating in and crafting urban communities.

Participants experiment with everyday objects—choosing from thousands of small, colorful, non-representational objects—to build three-dimensional interactive models of cities that create a sense of place and community. The improvisational exercise taps into their everyday experiences, emotions, imagination, and problem-solving skills to develop a deeper understanding of urban environments.

The hands-on activities make urban planning accessible to the public and bring urban planning principles and practice to unconventional spaces like parks, sidewalks, streets, schools, galleries and train stations. Through their own creative and collaborative process, participants document and re-imagine the shape of urban communities and articulate their individual and collective needs and desires to improve their environment. This process culminates in a temporary installation that mimics the dynamic and collective nature of urban life.

Website: placeit.org


Select Solo Exhibitions from 2009-2012

Making Spaces and Places, Family Day, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston
Hollywood Urban Planning Pop-Up Shop, Woodbury Gallery, Hollywood, Calif.

Re-Imagining Boston, Family Day, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston

Re-Imagining Chinatown, Fifth Floor Gallery, Chinatown, Los Angeles

Select Group Exhibitions from 2011-2012

Spontaneous Interventions: design actions for the common good, 13th International, Venice Architecture Biennale, Venice, Italy
Deconstructing Chinatown, Chinese American Museum, Los Angeles

Urban Utopian Project, The Collaborative, Long Beach, Calif.
Leimert Park, Folk Art Every Where, Esowon Book Store, Los Angeles


American Planning Association Los Angeles Educational Project award


Masters of City Planning & Masters of Science in Architecture Studies, 1991
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass.

B.S, 1982
Interior Design, Woodbury University, Burbank, Calif.