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UMD RESPONDS TO BALTIMORE UNREST WITH COLLABORATIVE ART EXHIBIT

By Darcy Costello and Lexie Schapitl, The Diamondback

Photo by D.J. Akisanya

As professor Audra Buck-Coleman watched news coverage of the April unrest in Baltimore following Freddie Gray’s death, she felt increasingly disturbed.

The media narrative, she said, focused exclusively on violence and destruction in the city, negatively portraying all high school students and ignoring the peaceful protests also taking place.

“It implicated all high school students, when in fact it was a small core group,” Buck-Coleman said. “They were focusing on the sensational, on the violence, and completely ignoring the challenges and circumstances of the students.”

In response, Buck-Coleman, who works in the University of Maryland’s graphic design program, contacted the Reginald F. Lewis Museum in Baltimore with an idea: an art exhibit by city high school students to give them the voice they had lost.

“I see art as a way for the students to reclaim their narrative,” said Buck-Coleman, whose class will partner with Baltimore’s Augusta Fells Savage Institute of Visual Arts to create the exhibit. “Along with University of Maryland students, it’s a collaborative way to look back on April’s events and tell the story using their own voices.”

This initiative is just one response by this university’s faculty, students and administrators to April’s unrest.

Read more here.

Date of Publication: 
9/29/15