State of the Art: Spreading Political Awareness Creatively Among Students

By ALEXIS OJEDA-BROWN

With the 2016 Presidential elections heating up, it seems like the perfect time to talk politics on campus, and the UMD chapter of the NAACP took advantage of this moment and did just that.

Bringing political awareness to students across the campus with an artistic twist, on Wednesday, February 10, the UMCP’s NAACP chapter held its very first State of the Art event in the Art Learning Center located in Stamp. The State of the Art was a mixture of an art gala and a political informational, where student artists were able to showcase their work while also mingling with local and state candidates for the upcoming election.

There were appearances by Warren Christopher and Terence Strait, both candidates for Maryland’s 4th Congressional District, Adrian Petrus, who is running to represent the 7th Congressional District, Chrys Kefalas, a Maryland Senate Candidate, and many others.

“The purpose of this was to decrease student voter apathy and to allow students to express current issues that are prominent in their community through their art,” explained Trey Huff, sophomore biochemistry major, who was also a volunteering artist and the Political Chair for the event.

“This is the first year we’ve held this event, and it definitely won’t be the last. The team and I worked tirelessly planning and executing the event. Our hard work definitely paid off.”

The topic of conversation varied from homeless veterans, police brutality, to global warming and drug policy reform. While engaging in political conversations with the guest speakers, attendee’s were able to walk around and view the artwork that Maryland Student’s donated for the event.

“If a picture’s worth a thousand words, a painting’s worth a million. Within the past year, alone, many issues have come up concerning the community of the people of color. So many that words cannot describe the emotions of the people of this community. By allowing student artists to display their work, we provided them with a medium to illustrate their views on issues affecting their community,” Says Huff.

Eight student artists volunteered to participate in this event: Lambert Aryee, Candace Hood-Bey, Nichole Goodman, Sierra Sigmone, Yanet Amanuel, Adewale Seye-Alli, Ventura Anarosa, and Trey Huff.

Sierra Sigmone, freshman studio art and material science engineering major, admitted originally she didn’t make her art to tie into political aspects.

“I didn’t intend on having or creating my pieces for political purposes but in a way you can definitely interpret some pieces as representations of certain issues that are going on in our country. It really depends on the perspective you have. This event let me see my art in a new way while also making me politically aware of what’s going on in our community.”