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Nancy Nowacek is an artist, designer, and educator. Her work focuses on deconstructing and reimagining social forms and systems to both challenge and resist them. In her work, process is a medium, and play is a method for interrogation and intervention. Her practice encompasses a wide spectrum of research: climate change, urban waterways, the built environment, aging, and intergenerational exchange.

Nowacek’s studio practice and participatory works are highly collaborative. Collaboration can occur in the processes of researching and shaping the work and/or in the final realization of the work, especially those that invite participation. She has collaborated with high schools, colleges, community centers, non-profits, engineering firms, mariners, dancers, writers, artists, and architects.


She co-founded the art collective Works on Water in 2016 and serves to strengthen and grow the community of artists committed to making art in the urgency of climate change and increasing advocacy for urban waterways and ecologies.

Nowacek served most recently as Education-Artist-In-Residence at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. She has been a fellow at Eyebeam, as well as a resident in the prestigious Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program, Recess, Pioneer Works, and Montalvo. She has received grants from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the Jerome Foundation, the Brooklyn Arts Council, and Two Trees Cultural Programs. She has shown work in the United States, Canada, China, the Netherlands, and Venezuela.

Nowacek teaches design and design-related courses at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey. She holds an MFA in Social Practice from California College of the Arts, an MFA in Visual Communication from Virginia Commonwealth University, and a BFA in Photography and Design from the University of Michigan.


She is certified in mental health first aid and personal fitness training.


nancy (at) wecanok (dot) com

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