Skip to main content

'NannyVan' is latest artist-in-residence at ASU Art Museum

February 10, 2014

The ASU Art Museum presents artist Marisa Jahn and the NannyVan as the next artist-in-residence at the museum’s International Artist Residency Program. NannyVan, which will be with the museum through Feb. 22, is a bright orange, mobile design studio and sound lab that accelerates the movement for domestic worker rights.

With its pull-out seats, colorful design and acoustic recording booth, the NannyVan convenes domestic workers and employers alike to produce and provide new fair care tools. The project began in 2012, when Jahn created a “public art nanny hotline” to inform the more than 200,000 domestic workers in the State of New York of their rights. Then in 2013, after the birth of her son, Jahn recognized the need for new ways to talk to her mom friends – domestic employers – about fair labor practices, and the NannyVan was born.

“Project NannyVan is informed by groups like The National Domestic Worker Alliance, the Massachusetts Domestic Worker Coalition and Hand in Hand: The Domestic Employer Association,” explains Jahn. “While advocates have a certain way to discuss the issue with workers, I have found that oftentimes the public needs a different way in to the issue. My goal as an artist is to use craft, humor and playfulness to dismantle apprehensions about a difficult topic.”

During her residency, Jahn will partner with students and faculty from across the university, including the ASU School of Art in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, the School of Transborder Studies, the School of Social Transformation and the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.

About the artists

Jahn is the lead artist and co-founder of REV-, a nonprofit studio created in 2009 whose public art projects combine creativity, bold ideas and sound research to address critical issues. They are a self-defined “women and minority-led team of artists, techies, media-makers, low-wage workers, immigrants and teens producing work to impact the issues we face.”

In 2012, REV- created New Day New Standard, a “public art nanny hotline” produced with MIT’s Center for Civic Media that informs the 200,000 domestic workers in New York State about their newfound rights. Users can call using any kind of phone and hear humorous episodes about topics like paying your taxes, overtime wage, trafficking and more. To date, the hotline has received 400 to 1,200 calls a month, media attention from BBC, GOOD magazine and parent blogs, and has been presented at Tribeca Film Institute, The White House and more. Through this, REV- saw how an otherwise sensitive topic was made appealing via the project’s cultural hook.

For more information on REV- and the NannyVan, visit

Related events

All events are free and open to the public.

Artist's Talk with Marisa Jahn
6:30-7:30 p.m., Feb. 11, ASU Art Museum, 10th Street and Mill Avenue, Tempe

ASU Art Museum Season Opening Reception
6:30-7:30 p.m., Feb. 14, ASU Art Museum, Tempe campus 
The NannyVan will be parked outside the museum and open for visitors.

Third Friday Gallery Reception
6-9 p.m., Feb. 20, Combine Studios, 821 North 3rd Street, Phoenix
Presentation of new collaborative work developed with community organizations and ASU students.

About the International Artist Residency Program

Established Feb. 14, 2011, the ASU Art Museum International Artist Residency Program brings accomplished professional artists from around the world to develop new work in partnership with the intellectual resources of Arizona State University and the diverse communities within Arizona. Through the program, artists develop work in collaboration with scientists, technologists, social agencies and community organizations that investigate the pressing issues of our time.

The residency program is housed at Combine Studios in downtown Phoenix, located at 821 N. 3rd Street. Gallery hours are from 6 to 9 p.m. on the first and third Fridays of every month; additional hours are available by appointment. For more information or to make an appointment, call 480.965.2787.