Inside Out: The People’s Art Project: Face Diversity, Foster Inclusion held their opening reception Monday at the Martha Art Gallery, after about a month after the portraits became displayed on campus buildings.
The exhibition can be seen on display in the Martha Gault Art Gallery from October 28 through November 7. The gallery located in Maltby, is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
With the project beginning in the spring of 2018 the portraits of students, faculty and SRU campus community were installed in the Martha Gault Art Gallery.
148 portraits lined the walls of the gallery, matching the portraits that had been displayed around campus.
The exhibition drew students, faculty and members of the community to see the photographs up close.
Autumn Mohler, a senior geology major with a minor in leadership and a GIS certificate, said that viewing the portraits in the gallery where completely different than seeing them on the buildings around campus.
“[The photos] were extremely detailed,” Mohler said. “My initial reaction was, ‘wow, we all look pretty bad,’ but the thought was humbling, that we look bad together. I saw everyone’s wrinkles and flaws. It was comforting to see everyone in that uniformity.”
Mohler agrees that diversity is important, but isn’t sure if the Face Diversity, Foster Inclusion exhibitions touches on all aspects of diversity.
Similarly to Mohler, students liked seeing the different faces of the campus community displayed, and agreed that it was a stepping stone for diversity on campus.
Araycia Buyers, senior fine arts major with a concentration in painting and sculpture and a minor in art history, liked seeing the portraits on the gallery wall, because she was able to view them all in once place.
Buyers said she never saw all the portraits on the buildings because she follows the same path going to classes. She saw the portraits on the Advanced Technology and Science building for the first time about 3 weeks after the portraits had gone up.
Although, Buyers said she liked seeing the portraits of people she knew, some that were graduated, she also agrees that there is a lack of diversity on campus.
“I am a black woman and identify as queer,” Buyers said. “I know a lot of the troubles in a university like SRU, which is a predominantly white institute.”
However, Buyers said that the Face Diversity, Foster Inclusion project is a wonderful opportunity to shine on students, faculty and campus community that are of different color, gender identity, sexuality or disabled.
“We don’t have the biggest numbers, but to shine on what we do have…..is wonderful,” Buyers said.
The exhibition not only touched students but, professors also loved the portraits.
Pierre Bowins, an assistant professor of graphic design, loved the way the portraits interacted with the students and the way the students interacted with the portraits, he thought the portraits could be bigger.
Bowins, similarly to other students, agrees that there needs to be more diversity on campus, but believes that the Face Diversity, Foster Inclusion project started a conversation.
“It made me feel enjoyable,” Bowins said. “It’s open, to the point and it’s making a statement. Even if it’s good or bad it’s making a statement.”