As part of a national conversation on art and democracy, the University Museum of Contemporary Art (UMCA) will host two events: a lecture by Eric Gottesman, artist and co-founder of For Freedoms, and a For Freedoms Town Hall “Art, Activism, and Social (In)Justice?”
Gottesman will speak Thursday, Oct. 11 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. in the John W. Olver Design Building Lecture Hall.
The town hall will be Friday, Oc. 12 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. in the John W. Olver Design Building Atrium. Gottesman will moderate a panel of artists and educators to explore the role of democracy, art and civic action on campus today.
Both events are free and open to the public. Food will be served.
While the Pioneer Valley is typically seen as a very liberal place, it can be isolating and oppressive. The town hall seeks to discuss the ways art can be used as a conduit for addressing issues of social justice in the valley.
Panelists will include Stephanie Shonekan, chair of Afro-American studies; Joseph Krupczynski, director of civic engagement and service learning; Omid Shekari, artist and lecturer in the department of art; Emily Tareila, artist and MFA candidate; and Miatta Kawinzi, multidisciplinary artist and visiting professor at Hampshire College.
There will be a voter registration table.
The For Freedoms 50 State Initiative is a national network of artists and institutions who stage art actions, town hall meetings and special exhibitions to encourage broad participation and inspire conversation during the upcoming midterm elections.
Founded by Gottesman and artist Hank Willis Thomas and inspired by Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms—freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear—For Freedoms uses art to encourage and deepen public explorations of freedom in the 21st century. It is the first artist-run Super PAC
Gottesman photographs, writes, makes videos, teaches and uses art as a vehicle to engage people in critical conversations about the social structures that surround them and him. He was named a 2015 Creative Capital Artist and has won a Fulbright Fellowship, an Artadia Award, a Light Work Residency, the Aaron Siskind Foundation Artist Fellowship, a Massachusetts Cultural Council Individual Artist Fellowship and other grants and awards. His work is in various collections including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. His first book, “Sudden Flowers,” was published in 2014. He is a Mentor in the Arab Documentary Photography Project.