The University of Portland Artist-in-Residence Program (AIR) aims to create more diversity and representation in educational spaces and amplify student voices and experiences through social justice-related art.
“We thought art is an innovative medium not only to do this, but also to talk about social justice and change minds both at a student level as well as an organizational level,” founder and Executive Director of the program, Jasmine Yee said.
Junior Trysha Pham is in charge of external community engagement for the program. She hopes that this year’s theme “Think Globally, Act Locally” will show students that taking small steps within their communities can help lead to a more inclusive future.
Applications to the AIR are open to all majors and minors, as well as all artistic levels.
“We're looking for people who are very passionate about social justice and willing to advocate for it at an institutional level,” Yee said.
The artists’ works will be displayed in three locations across campus: Shiley Hall, the new Diversity Center (which will be on the first floor of Buckley Center) and in the School of Nursing and Health Innovation’s Simulation Center (the third floor of Buckley).
Junior Kalvin Lee, who is in charge of internal outreach, believes that showcasing the art in these spaces creates an opportunity to get more students involved.
“I’m extremely excited about the Diversity Center opening up,” Lee said. “That's really where we can promote it to anybody who has any kind of background because I believe anybody can truly make art for diversity and for social justice.”
Each location will feature art that adheres to a specific theme. The theme for Shiley Hall will be “Environmental Consciousness.” The Diversity Center’s theme will be “Teach Our Stories in Schools: the Power of Narratives” and the theme for the Simulation Center will be “Social Determinants of Health.”
Yee, Pham and Lee hope to incorporate community outreach into AIR this year. They are looking to partner with community organizations to help inspire their artists and provide mutual aid for them in return.
Last year’s art is currently on display in the Simulation Center in Buckley Center. Program leaders are looking into creating another gallery space to display artwork from last year.
Sydney Gannon is a reporter for The Beacon. She can be reached at email@example.com.