Colorful Conversations

The current exhibit at the gallery showcases handmade tissue paper made by the very talented Maya Freelon Asante. Noted as the first person to make art such as this, she uses special paper and dyes to make her tissue paper. She uses the result materials to make grand statement pieces. The gallery is doing something new called AIR or Artist in Residence. The goal was to make art something hands-on and more accessible to the people who visit the gallery. Freelon Asante brought her tissue paper to the gallery and is allowing people to come in and either contribute to a quilt that will fill the length of the gallery, or to add to spiral designs called Peace by Piece



Naturally, I was really interested in the concept of Freelon Asante’s vision for her exhibit in the gallery. Her exhibit is titled Volume; she is emphasizing the importance of the space between the community that is helping with her art and herself as the artist. Almost as if the large scale quilt being made by the community is slowly filling that volume between them and her.

I expected visitors to also be excited in participating in the art and making whatever they want with such interesting material. What I didn’t expect was seeing community form in front of my eyes so organically. I have had people come in who maybe keep to themselves and mediate while adding to the piece, but what has struck me is the conversations I’ve been able to have with visitors that I haven’t had before.

One visitor and I talked about the career fair, his major, and what he wants to do with his life. Another visitor and I talked about the profound nature of secrets, and how she likes to incorporate creativity in her own home using chalkboards and games.

I have not been able to have these same connections with other exhibits we have had at the gallery. People would often quietly come in, look around, and leave at their own pace. Here and there I would have a brave soul who would talk to me about gender during Queer Objectivity, but other than that  this is a brand new experience to me as a gallery worker.

I always like to tell people that art always has a purpose, whether its obvious or not to the viewer, there is always something. With this art, I thought I knew the message behind it, but slowly it has revealed to me it’s true purpose: bringing together people that normally would never have the opportunity.


Credit to one of my great co-workers (sorry I don’t know who exactly took this-whoops)

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