We the People | University of Northwestern, St. Paul
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artwork for We The People webpage

We the People


A three-part exhibition focused on elevating underrepresented UNW voices.

Exhibition Description

We live in a broken world. This is no new reality but it is a truth that became much more real and intimate for many in 2020. This summer, in particular, was a season of reckoning. For as the world, captive from the pandemic, sat watching from the indoors, we witnessed the unjust deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others. In response, there was an overwhelming cry for justice, one which echoed around the world.

Unfortunately, the marginalization and discrimination of Black Americans and people of color is not a new phenomenon. Racism was familiar for far too many before it started trending in 2020. It persists now. What we should be asking is where are there still problems? What needs addressing? What needs to be changed? And how can we be faithful in this time? It can be easy to look out at the world and see its faults, but are we willing to first examine ourselves? Or what about the people and places within our proximity? Are we willing to become undone in order to undo systems of oppression for the sake of the gospel? Unity and diversity are frequently discussed as end goals, however, achieving these aims means first addressing the challenges that stand in their way.

Pressing into this sort of work will take courage. Not everything will be easy. Entering into these conversations will take grace and humility. There will be failures along the way and a need to stop and listen. Change will involve participation and perseverance. God calls us to be collaborators in his kingdom work and to run this race with endurance. But most importantly, this labor will require love.

The aim of this exhibition is to elevate underrepresented voices, spark conversation, and serve as a campus catalyst for change. This exhibition will place work by UNW students of color (both past and present) front and center. Members from this community are invited to submit art (in all its forms) on topics, stories, and perspectives which they believe need to be heard, addressed, shared, and celebrated. This may include but is not limited to strengths, struggles, hopes, fears, grievances, frustration, excellence, resilience, and joy. After all, humanity is dynamic and multi-dimensional, and harbored joy can be as much a form of protest as that of anger or fatigue.

This exhibition is one step in the process of growing Northwestern into a safer and stronger community for students of color. We hope you join us.

Call for Artists & Exhibition Layout

This is a call for art* to individuals of color who are or once were a student at the University of Northwestern (formerly Northwestern College). The exhibition will take place over Fall 2020, Spring 2021, and Fall 2021, and be comprised of three parts. Individuals are welcome to submit works to more than one part of the exhibition, as appropriate. All submitted artwork will be reviewed by the "We the People" curation team (see bios below).

*Art in all its forms - visual art, literature, poetry, music, fashion, cinematography, theatre, etc.

PART I: 
Black Voices
The first part of the exhibition focuses specifically on work from members of the Black community. What stories and perspectives need to be heard, addressed, shared, and celebrated? This may include but is not limited to strengths, struggles, hopes, fears, grievances, frustrations, excellence, resilience, and joy. 
PART II: 
Underrepresented Voices
The second part of the exhibition includes Black voices and extends out to other individuals of color. It addresses the same prompt as before: what stories and perspectives need to be heard, addressed, shared, and celebrated?
PART III: 
Community
In the third part of the exhibition, the call for art remains centered on individuals of color but the focus shifts to community. This part of the exhibition addresses hopes and avenues for healing. Because healing and reconciliation are often painful processes, hurt may continue to be present in the work. This final phase is not intended as a tidy wrap-up but as a leaning into the desires and next steps ahead. 

This exhibition will be accompanied by programming in partnership with other UNW departments, offices, student organizations, and student clubs. Programming details forthcoming.

Submission Process

Please email denlergallery@unwsp.edu with your artwork submission(s).

Email Specifics

  • In the subject line please list "We the People" followed by what “PARTS” of the show you are submitting work for review. Artists are welcome to send more than one submission email.
    • Example: We the People – PARTS II & III
  • Please attach or include a link to your artwork submission(s).
  • In the body of your message include the title, year, material or medium, and dimensions (if applicable) of your piece(s).
    • Example 1: Anthony of Padua, 2013, oil on canvas, 72 x 60 in
    • Example 2: Voyage of the Sable Venus, 2015, poetry (audio clip and/or written text)
  • Artists can include statements or descriptions about their work in the email. This text can remain private, for only the curators to read and consider, or be presented publicly alongside the work in the gallery. Please specify your desires if you include a statement or description.
  • Please include your name, UNW graduate year, and hometown or current city location.
  • If you could use support in making your work "exhibition ready", both our curators and creative team are ready and willing to assist. We have budget set aside to prepare and imagine works (art, poetry, film, etc) for the gallery walls.

Submission Deadlines & Exhibition Dates

* UPDATED DATES (as of June 2021)

Submission WindowExhibition Dates
PART I:
Black Voices
Now - Nov 24, 2020Fall 2020
Dec 7 - Dec 18, 2020
PART II:
Underrepresented
Voices
Now - Mar 15, 2021Spring 2021
Mar 19 - Apr 9, 2021
PART III: 
Community
Now - Oct 8, 2021Fall 2021
Oct 20 - Dec 12, 2021

Curators


portrait of Falicia

Falicia Nichole is a UNW alumni and works professionally as an actress, singer, and advocate with churches/the community regarding racial reconciliation. She studied psychology, bible and theatre at UNW so that she could better understand people emotionally, spiritually, and physically. She is passionate about people, healing wounds, and bridging gaps particularly the one caused by racial injustices. “I hope through this exhibition we are able to find new ways to heal hurts and move forward as one body of Christ while simultaneously embracing the distinct complexities God has created in us through ethnicity.” Soli Deo Gloria.

portrait of Qashr

Qashr Middleton is a UNW senior who will graduate in May '21 with a B.A. in Ministry (with an emphasis in Non Profit Leadership) and complete an M.A. in Ministry Leadership (with an emphasis in Organizational Leadership) in December '22. He currently serves as the UNW Student Body President. "I am excited to get to work with some amazing artists this year. I have come face-to-face with that which has oppressed me, and I will not back down. I am excited for the opportunity to be a curator for this project, as it is near and dear to my heart. As an artist myself, I’m ready to walk alongside those who are ready to have growth starting conversations."

portrait of Michelle Turner

Michelle Turner is the UNW Denler Gallery Director, Art & Design Office Coordinator, and an Adjunct Instructor. She is a generalist art historian but has worked to broaden UNW's Art History offerings by developing new topics courses like "African Art" and "Women in Art." Before transitioning to teaching, Turner worked for three years at a commercial art gallery and volunteered at a number of Twin Cities art institutions. While pursuing to lead with love, Turner is someone who admittedly is still working through her own ignorance and harmful unconscious biases.

Creative Team


Portrait of Angelica

Angelica Bare
Art Major, '21

portrait of Adam

Adam Smith
Graphic Design Major, '20

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