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RACISM

A Multimedia installation

PREJUDICE TOLERANCE ACCEPTANCE

ART SPACE LIMA | NOVEMBER 8 - December 21, 2013 | For more information please visit RP-TA.COM & ARTSPACE/LIMA.COM


“This work is aimed at provoking a deeper level of discourse regarding coming to terms with racism and prejudice, while leading the viewer towards tolerance and acceptance of others.� - Mike Huffman


THE GENESIS In the Spring of the 2008-2009 school year, a group of eighth graders came into the Art classroom laughing and jostling, telling jokes. That is nothing unusual. What was unusual was that they were telling, as they called them, “Jew Jokes”. Here was a group of working class, guileless white and black kids, who more than likely picked this stuff up from the neighborhood, the internet, or maybe even the dinner table. They had never had even as much as a 30 second conversation with a Jewish individual. In their ignorance, they were demonstrating an all too typical prejudice. I stopped this practice instantly and did the requisite 10 minute lecture about prejudice due to a lack of understanding. I also realized there was a greater need. We needed to develop and execute an extended unit of study that looked at these issues in much more depth with specific objectives. We needed a study that provided authentic learning with multiple layers of content, all aimed at effecting change. That proved to be the genesis of the project titled: “Racism Prejudice Tolerance Acceptance”. A project that began with the next school year’s eighth grade group in the Fall of 2009 and eventually became “organic”, morphing into the areas of oral histories, readers theatre, incredible large scale graphic images, and this current 2013 form I would call a bonified “installation”. In this current state of evolution, the project expands and becomes electric via multiple large scale video projections. These projections combine with new versions of the original student developed poster-like images to engage and immerse the viewer in an atmosphere textured by “the voices” of a learning community speaking about Racism, speaking about Prejudice, about Tolerance, and Acceptance. Why is this an important work of Art? Seen through the Common Threads lens, the Arts can be agents of social and political change. Is this piece meant to reignite the Common Threads initiative here in Lima? The answer is no. It does, however, operate from that same platform of using Art to change the way people think. The content of the work in a community such as the one we live in is never out of the continual conversation of the social fabric that makes up Lima. This same content is likewise never out of the weave of the national fabric of politic and debate, (e.g. think Trayvon Martin). This work is aimed at provoking a deeper level of discourse regarding coming to terms with racism and prejudice, while leading the viewer towards tolerance and acceptance of others.

Mike Huffman Arts Magnet


“Racism,Preju Tolerance an Acceptance the perform democracy civic engage - Doug Blandy


udice, nd e exemplifies mance of and ement.�


“A healthy, vital, and sustainable democracy requires a citizenry educated around issues of individual and collective concern� - Doug Blandy


PERFORMING DEMOCRACY In a 1939 essay, “Creative Democracy,� educator and philosopher John Dewey recognized civic participation as an inventive and creative activity. I concur with Dewey’s belief that democracy is a way of life, an inventive and creative performance, with education being a primary source of effective participation. A healthy, vital, and sustainable democracy requires a citizenry educated around issues of individual and collective concern as well as having the capability to consider such issues from a critical perspective. Preparing students to perform democracy requires that citizenship be taken seriously. In this regard, performing democracy requires taking responsibility for learning about the political process, strategies for exercising influence, creating arguments, effective communication through multiple medias, listening, building coalitions, negotiating competing interests, maintaining civility, and finding common ground. Racism/Prejudice/Tolerance and Acceptance incorporates a broad range of art forms illustrating natural linkages that can be made between teaching about the arts as well as the role of the arts in society. Racism/Prejudice/Tolerance and Acceptance exemplifies the performance of democracy and civic engagement. It recognizes the importance of being about those issues that might compromise what is held to be important. The teachers and students associated with this project invite us to join with them in thinking differently, and creatively, about the way that life is commonly lived. They have created for us a space in which language, meanings, and futures are imagined anew. By performing with them they provide an opportunity to work with others, build consensus, resolve conflicts, act on common concerns, and consider the future.

Doug Blandy

Professor, University of Oregon


Acknowledgments Mike Huffman, Project Initiator and Manager, Artist/Arts Educator Greg Phipps: Videographer, Video Edit and Effects Martha S. MacDonell: Project Advisor, Arts Advocate Sally Windle: Project Advisor, Director of Arts and Magnet Programs, Graphic Designer: Terran Washington, Little Jacket Design Original Poster Image Suite, Student Artists: Derrick Irons Quincy Livchak Leighton Wireman Ali Diller Claire Deorio Di’A Irons Demaria Thompson Cassie Bicknell Justice Graham Alexis Stapleton Kelly Williams Jacob Hasting

DeShawn Hogue Eli Leiss Austin Baker Malik Cowan Addison Brayton Sydni Winkler Rebecca Fisher John Merkel Kiaysha Ward Kristin Fleck Jenna Weltmer Nick Tarbet

Original Interview Participants, 2009-2010 Marcia Jettinghoff Peggy Ehora Rob Livchak Lois Rubens

Manu Aggarwal Etta Weomtraub Charlie Thomas

Phase II Speakers Dr. Manu Aggarwal Charlie Thomas Michael Frueh Greg Huelskamp Emmanuel Curtis Martha S. MacDonell Sally Windle Derrick Irons

Quincy Livchak Claire Deorio Addison Brayton Sydni Winkler Demaria Thompson Cassie Bicknell John Merkel Jacob Hasting

Special Thanks to: The Martha S, MacDonell Fund For The Arts Longmeier Printing Rhodes State College Lima City Schools ArtSpace/Lima

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