Plenty of Inspiration at “Art & Activism”Back >
June 5, 2017
On Friday, May 26, the Buffalo Arts Studio, and Open Buffalo co-hosted an artist talk with Julia Douglas (Open Buffalo Emerging Artist for 2017) and a panel discussion titled “Art and Activism.” The event took place in the Buffalo Arts Studio gallery space.
During the artist talk, Douglas, a portrait painting specialist, walked a crowd of a few dozen gallery-goers through her “Tinted” exhibition. Those in attendance discussed the deep implications of Douglas’ exhibition, and the complex social conditions that motivate her. Douglas’ current body of work developed as a response to the media’s repetition of racially biased imagery in the wake of the Trayvon Martin case. She rejects the hyper-sexual, violent, and sinister portrayal of men of color that saturates contemporary media, and uses traditional oil paint and classical portraiture to show people of color as sensitive, honest, loving, and human.
Shirley Tokash Verrico, Curator for the Buffalo Arts Studio, and Max Anderson, Communication Director for Open Buffalo, moderated a panel discussion between painter Julia Douglas, Professor Henry Louis Taylor, author Gary Earl Ross, poet Bianca McGraw, and filmmaker Korey Green.
The hour-long panel covered topics including:
- Racial and socioeconomic polarization in America
- “Slacktivism” and online social action
- Roles that artists play in justice movements
- Inclusion and openness in arts spaces
The assembled panelists engaged in a number of back and forth exchanges, and fielded questions from the moderators as well as the audience. They talked about the capacity of the arts to:
- “Give voice to people who normally don’t have a voice.”
- “Help show people’s true depth.”
- “Awaken those who are asleep.”
- “Help people see things differently, and reimagine things.”
“The discussion was lively and the crowd was both diverse and highly engaged,” said Anderson. “It was a great event, and we hope to do more like it in the future.”