Unity and Diversity Through Art: My Independent Study

At Susquehanna University, senior Studio Art Majors and Graphic Design Majors come together to create a show in our on-campus art gallery, The Lori Degenstein Gallery. We like to call this our "Senior Show". This is something us art majors look forward to from the second our 17/18-year-old feet touch Kurtz Lane. We have been thinking up ideas as to how to illustrate our growth and talent for four years. I, however, am not a senior...yet. But, I'm starting my senior show prep early with an independent study. My concept and my techniques that I have chosen haven't been done before. I am a photographer who grew up going to art academies for painting since I was twelve, but I began painting much earlier than that. I often don't get a lot of time to paint so I've spent the past three years dreaming about combining my two artistic loves.

In my three years on this campus, I've observed a lot of things that are...more or less, NOT cool. I've seen a radical conservative speaker, who spews hate on POC and LGBTQ+ peoples, come to campus who needed added security because so many students were against his coming to campus. That added security made students of color extremely uncomfortable due to the current political climate. I've seen antisemitic symbols scribbled in bathrooms and sidewalks. I've seen armed campus safety being brought to a campus with a POC number lower than 200 and an LGBTQ+ number that is even lower than that. What I am race-wise and sexuality-wise has been a question since I have stepped foot on this campus. I'm a Hispanic woman, but I, however, have white-passing, something I've never asked for and therefore many people do not count me as a person of color, but I'm also not...not of color. So what am I? I like to believe I'm a window to both sides. I feel as though I can do my best to get people who see each other as drastically different to see each other through the other's eyes. This inspired my senior show Idea.

I call my show "Celebration In Color". My goal is to paint my images in a bright vibrant color. I encourage my models to dance in front of the camera, be themselves and celebrate their individual uniqueness. I want my audience to see that color, size, shape, religion, and sexuality should not divide us and "other" us. It should bring us all together because everyone has their own story that their peers can learn from. I'm super excited to see this project come to life. I feel as though It will bring a little bit of positivity to this campus after three years of some pretty big changes and struggles.