Thanks to the arts advocacy of a large group of Bethel College students and some faculty colleagues, our campus woke up to a constellation of black shrouds. An exhibition in the Fine Arts Center Gallery, the distinctive fountain on the green, and many other pieces of publicly visible art around campus have been covered in black, a gesture that protests Governor Brownback’s executive order to abolish the Kansas Arts Commission. Statements accompanying the veiled artworks invite viewers to imagine Kansas (or at least Bethel College) without art and provide information about the many tangible benefits of arts funding. Through this action, arts supporters at Bethel and in Newton and North Newton are standing in solidarity with arts advocates around the state, whose work is documented on such sites as imaginekansaswithoutart and Kansas Citizens for the Arts.
See local media coverage here.
Covering the artworks is a great way to draw attention to the impending art funding crisis. What type of response did the gesture receive from the students and visitors at the college? Americans for the Arts is working hard to prevent federal cuts to the NEA and art education programs. http://www.artsusa.org. Check out their site if you haven’t already.
Thanks, Susan! Overall, we heard positive responses to this gesture and good coverage from local media. It still feels like there is lots of work to be done, though.