This exhibit of artists’ books and art displayed throughout the library explores the topic of civic engagement, an issue that has impacted our national character from its earliest days. Civic engagement, or advocacy for the public good, is addressed within these works through a variety of themes: issues of immigration, voting rights and civil rights, human rights, inequality, the environment, gun control, and politics are all invoked. Many of the books represent a “call to action” to understand your rights as prescribed in historic documents such as the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Other books lay bare the absence of rights many groups in the United States have suffered — African Americans, immigrants, women, and others. It is our hope that all the works implore you to get involved with inherent human rights such as access to health care and clean water, and to “be the change” that improves the country and the world.
An example of such change and the title of this exhibit is found in one of the works on display, a broadside or poster entitled “Seeding the Vote”, by Jessica Spring and Chandler O’Leary. It documents the role that African American activist Fannie Lou Hamer played in connection with expanding voting rights in Mississippi. Her work, along with that of other activists, helped pass the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which prohibits racial discrimination in voting. Over 50 years later it is still difficult for some to vote due to voter registration requirements. This especially affects college students, the homeless, and people of color.
The November Midterm elections offer an opportunity to exercise your Constitutional right to vote, a powerful form of civic engagement. The Kohler Art Library is partnering with graduate students in the UW-Madison Art Department and the Morgridge Center for Public Service to participate in The Big 10 Voting Challenge, whose goal is to achieve the highest eligible voter turnout rate and/or achieve the most improved voter turnout among all the Big Ten institutions. Plant the seed and encourage your friends to register and vote. Let’s win the Big 10 Voting Challenge!
Co-curators: Art Librarians Lyn Korenic and Anna Simon, and UW-Art Department graduate students Sarah Stankey and Mariah Tate Klemens, with the assistance of Prof. Derrick Buisch.
Graduate student art by: Adriana Barrios, Anwar Floyd-Pruitt, Simone Doing, Mariah Tate Klemens, Anna Lehner, Lesley Numbers, Max Puchalsky, James Pederson, Sarah J. Stankey, and Chelsea Thompto.
Reception: October 25, 5:00-700 pm at the Kohler Art Library. Held in conjunction with “VoteFest”, a weeklong series of campus events to rally the vote, artists will be on hand to talk about their work. Make your voice heard by composing a speech bubble for a card by UW-Madison alumna Tracy Honn called Speak for Liberty. Students with the Morgridge Center for Public Service will be present to answer questions and to encourage your vote.
Exhibit runs: October 1 – December 31, 2018