I Learn America: Explorations into Diversity, Identity and Inclusion exhibition, student artists

Exhibition Explores Americanism from Students’ Perspectives

Students and educators from 18 schools contribute to exhibit on diversity, identity and inclusion

03.02.17

More than 250 people, including student-artists from 18 contributing schools and their educators and supporters, celebrated the opening of a new exhibition at Kean University, I Learn America: Explorations into Diversity, Identity and Inclusion on Tuesday, January 31.

Each art piece in the showcase, on display at the gallery of the Human Rights Institute at Kean University through Friday, May 12, reflects how the students perceive immigration, cultural differences, selfhood and interconnectedness.

“Kean’s Human Rights Institute provides programs, conferences and other initiatives year round that raise public awareness of human rights violations, challenge stereotypes and celebrate diversity,” said Janice Kroposky, director of the Diversity Council and Holocaust Resource Center at Kean. “Inspired by the I Learn America documentary, the paintings, sculptures and other works in the exhibit explore issues of race, class, gender and identity and encourage dialogue that allows both artists and viewers to learn from one another.” 

Throughout the evening, student-artists proudly pointed out their artistic contributions to the exhibition and discussed their creative processes. One of the participating students, Elise Thomas, a senior art major at Kean, explained that her sculpture, We Brought You Here, Now Eat, comprised of a set table with fragmented flatware, utensils made of wire and cups with holes and spikes––all impossible to use–– is “a reflection of the struggles that immigrants have trying to make a life here in America.” 

This initiative began as a workshop conducted by Kean’s Diversity Council in collaboration with the Department of Fine Arts. The program was designed to help educators incorporate social justice into their classrooms using art. 

“Art helps people to see the world through multiple perspectives, to consider various ways to solve problems, and to formulate powers of discovery to better understand, appreciate and welcome diversity,” said Joseph Amorino, Ph.D., associate professor and coordinator of Kean’s art education program, who curated the exhibit.  

This creative and educational collaboration includes works by students from 18 schools, including Kean University, Wenzhou-Kean University, Union County College, Oaida International in Ghana, as well as the following New Jersey school districts and charter schools: Asbury Park, Bayonne, Bernardsville, Clark, East Brunswick, Ethical Community Charter, Hoboken, Lacey, Learning Community Charter, Monmouth Regional, Our Lady of Victories, Passaic Valley, Scotch Plains and South Plainfield. 

I Learn America: Explorations into Diversity, Identity and Inclusion will remain on display in the Human Rights Institute Gallery through Friday, May 12. Hours are Monday through Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, email humanrights@kean.edu or call (908) 737-4670

PHOTO/CAPTIONS:
I Learn America Exhibition at Kean University

Students-artists of the I Learn America: Explorations into Diversity, Identity and Inclusion exhibition, on display at Kean University's Human Rights Institute Gallery through May 12.
 

 I Learn America Exhibition at Kean University
 

Elise Thomas, senior art major at Kean University, showing visitors her piece "We Brought You Here, Now Eat," which is featured in the I Learn America: Explorations into Diversity, Identity and Inclusion exhibition, on display at Kean University's Human Rights Institute Gallery through May 12.
 

I Learn America Exhibition at Kean University
 

More than 250 people, including student-artists from 18 contributing schools and their educators and supporters, celebrate the opening of the I Learn America: Explorations into Diversity, Identity and Inclusion exhibition, which will be on display at the Human Rights Institute Gallery at Kean University through May 12.

 

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