"Beyond Martin and Rosa"
A collaboration with Tri-Town Against Racism
The Marion Art Center has partnered with the grassroots community organization Tri-Town Against Racism to showcase entries to TTAR’s recent Creative Expression Contest held during Black History Month, based on the theme “Beyond Martin and Rosa”. The contest was open to all students, grades 7-12. Entries included visual and performing arts, video, poetry, and more. Check out the entries below. A small selection of works can be viewed in person at the Marion Art Center and in the MAC’s window display at the Marion General Store. Gallery hours are Thursday through Saturday from 10am-2pm each day, or other times Tuesday-Friday by appointment. You can also find out more on the TTAR Facebook page.
Friday, March 12, 5:00-6:00pm (via Zoom)
The Marion Art Center will host a virtual reception for its second show of 2021, the High School Student Art Show. We'll also be sharing works by local students who participated in the Creative Expression contest hosted by Tri-Town Against Racism.
Join a group discussion with student artists, MAC members, and virtual visitors. Depending on the number of guests, the MAC may set up small group "breakout rooms". Executive director Jodi Stevens will give a virtual tour through the galleries, stopping for discussion along the way.
To register, email [email protected] with "Virtual Reception" in the subject line. Be sure to include your name, preferred email address (if different than one you are using), and phone number. We hope to see you there!
Beyond Martin and Rosa
A Poem by Clara Bonney, 8th grade, ORRJHS
Everyone should dream
Like Dr. Martin Luther King.
Everyone should fight back
Against every racist thing.
Rosa simply sat down,
And refused to get up.
She was (and is) an inspiration
To whom many look up.
But it goes farther than
Those who demonstrate their thoughts.
Everyone is the same;
That’s what kids need to be taught.
They need to hear
That the world is more than just bad.
They need to hear
That their words and actions make a difference,
Whether they are made in anger, or when they are sad.
Kids are told about the protests and the marches
And what they represent.
We are told the anecdotes of history
And what their words and actions meant.
But this fight should not have lasted this long
It’s as if it’s time has been frozen.
Kids need to be taught it’s time everyone stepped up
Because the fight goes beyond just Martin and Rosa.
Black History Month Contest Paper
An Essay by Milan Mendes
Black history month is a very important time during the year. This time should be taken to appreciate and celebrate black cultures and communities. As a black person, I feel like we are misrepresented just by the color of our skin. Skin. Something everyone has that covers most of their bodies. Why should we be judged by the color of our skin rather than our personalities? We are all born to love each other. Why is that so hard? Being black isn’t a punishment. It is what makes us unique and different from others. We can’t make everyone like each other. But we can bring each other closer and appreciate one another. Martin Luther King Jr. once said “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” One day, I want future generations to understand the hardships we had to get through to be united. I want the future generations to look back on us and the generations before. I want them to see love and not hate. We are now beyond Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks. Let’s show them what we can do and make them proud.
A Poem by Matthew Rock, ORRJHS
Help your community, make a change
Recognize others, make a change.
Beyond Martin and Rosa, let's all come as one. One person who can help one all.
Beyond Martin and Rosa.Beyond Martin and Rosa
It isn't just Martin and Rosa, there are others too
They don't always get famous, just like you
But you can make a change.
They can too
Let's work hand in hand, make a change
Beyond Martin and Rosa - BLM Movement
An Essay by Lyra Demendonca, ORRJHS
If and when schools talk about issues with racism, they tend to always lean towards Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech, “I have a dream”, or the story about Rosa Parks on the bus. Of course, those are both quite vital parts of history, and it’s good that they teach about them, but they don’t really talk about the more morbid things that happened. The worst they’ve really talked about in my personal experience is the underground railroad, how it came to be, and the history. Of course, again, that’s an extremely vital part of history, but it gets much worse than that. They don’t talk about the things that are discomforting to hear. Things such as the Tulsa Massacre, the Red Summer, etc. Even those incidents, being as terrible as they are, were nowhere near as bad as things got back then.
Not only could they be less gentle with teaching what really happened, but they could also bring up less popular speakers about the cause. Someone who wasn’t as well-spoken could have still supported the cause and still could’ve made a change in the world isn’t as recognized for it. Dr. Martin Luther King was very easy to listen to, he was well educated, a very intelligent man. Other speakers, because of the colour of their skin, may not have been as well educated. Good schools were whites-only at the time. Some black kids couldn’t even attend school, depending on their situation. I think, with that being the reason not as many black people weren’t as well-spoken, it’s a shame that they didn’t get more credit for what they did, despite that obstacle.
Schools could do better with teaching about these sort of things. People of colour, even now, struggle with racism. Thankfully nowhere near as severe, but still, terrible things are happening. I feel that, if people were more educated on this topic, it’d be easier for them to understand it and help in the act against racism.
Beyond Martin and Rosa - A Bin of Crayons
An Essay by Caitlin O’Donnell, Old Rochester Regional Junior High School
When I was a little girl in elementary school, my classmates and I would receive coloring pages, and sometimes, with little people on them. I remember my classmates rushing towards the smeared plastic bin full of crayons. Short and tall. Smeared and pointy. However, I always noticed something odd every time I would see the little hands reach into the pile of crayons. Their little stubby fingers always searching for one specific color. In every palm of their little hands was one, very specific color. One each and every little boy or girl would fight over, and yet would be so disappointed if there were none of that color left in the bin. As with a sigh, they had to choose the darker color.
That crayon was the white skin color crayon. There were black and brown crayons as well, however, they were always left cold in the bin. As an innocent little girl not yet taught the past of racism or the division that is created by a person’s skin color, I thought nothing of it. Now, as a teenager, I see how much that was wrong. How shocking it was that we, as growing human beings, as future influencers, thought that was normal. We go back to the lesson that racism is not somehow decided by the human at birth, but it is taught. It is learned.
How come when a person’s skin color is darker, it is wrong? It is somehow, “disgusting”? It is somehow, when a little boy or girl has darker skin, are then forced to be ignored or ashamed of? When the children go to pick a lighter color of red or a darker color of red to color in an apple, they don’t mind. Or to pick a lighter color of blue or a darker color of blue to fill in water, they don’t mind. However, once it comes to skin color, they choose the lighter crayon. It didn’t cross their minds to even pick the brown or the black skin color crayons at the bottom of the bin.
It should not have to be this way.
From the screams of help, to the tears of exhaustion, the black community has suffered immensely for centuries. From Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream'' speech, to Rosa Parks’ bravery when refusing to give up her seat. From the cotton fields of Mississippi, to the wet bus stops in Louisiana, drenched with rain and sorrow. To the high top mountains of Montana, to the open trees swaying back and forth of Oklahoma. The division between white and black has been with us for years. Decades. Centuries. When we hear Martin Luther King Jr.’s words, or the different racist actions against the black community, it makes us want to change. It makes us want to create unity. It makes us want to move forward. And yet today…
We are moving backwards.
It is not over. Police brutality and racial slurs still attack us today, in a cloud of sorrow and division. A division of color, like crayons in a plastic bin.
One day, we can dream of a future where a black woman can run for president, without any discrimination. One day, we can dream of a future where a white little boy can hug a little black boy without hesitation. One day, we can dream of a future where a black male and a white male can shake hands as one equal shake. No hesitation, fear, or hatred as their fingers touch. One day, we can dream of a future of unity, not division, where we can be as one. Together, it is possible.
Ever since I was a little girl, I have wondered this myself. Why do we hate one another so much, even though we are the same? We bleed the same color of blood. We each have a heart, lungs, bones, muscles, and hair. How come, when it finally comes to the color of our skin, we are considered as two different “species”? We do not treat a rabbit differently if it is red or grey or black or white. We do not treat a toy car differently if it is green or blue or red. Because no matter what color they are, they are the same. Just as you and I. Just as all of us.
A train can not operate without all of its wheels. A pack of wolves can not hunt with half of its pack missing. A pan of eggs can not cook without a hot stove. Just as you and I, as humans, can not unite together without one another. We need each other. We rely on one another. Together, we are all human beings.
Let us give each other a hug.
Let us embrace our differences.
Let us gather around the table.
Let us touch each other without division. But with unity.
Let us fulfill the dream that each and every one of us share. A dream of unity. A dream of a better future. A dream spoken out by Martin Luther King Jr. A dream of one hug. One touch of unity. Because we are all human, no matter what we look like.
And as we continue on the path of unity, let us remember the bin of crayons. Let us have our kids pick up not only the white skin color crayon, but the black and brown skin color crayons as well without hesitation. Let them both be in their little hands. Let them both be used to color in the cartoon people on the page. Let them both be on the top of the bin.
That, is my dream.
Monthly Meetings, currently via Zoom
Next meeting: Thursday, March 25 at 7:00pm (via Zoom)
Would you like to join an informal group chat about art? Or perhaps you would like a better understanding of works that you "just don't get"? Join the MAC for a virtual discussion about art (no knowledge of art or art history required!).
The Marion Art Center's new monthly program, ArtTalk at the MAC, is similar to a book club. Participants will be sent two artworks in the form of images, videos, or links. The meeting host will choose two artworks: one that she or he is fond of, and a second that she or he doesn't particularly like or understand. The host will also provide short artist bios and/or descriptions of selected works to the group, ahead of the scheduled meeting.
Art could be from a private collection, a publication, seen online, or a famous work found in a museum. Art may also include poetry, dance, video, performance, or installation art. The group will meet at a scheduled date and time (currently via Zoom). Participants are invited to make their own cocktails or refreshments! ArtTalk at the MAC may continue on site at the Marion Art Center when we are able to safely meet as a group.
To register, email [email protected] with "ArtTalk at the MAC" in the subject line. Be sure to include your name, preferred email address (if different than one you are using), and phone number. We hope to see you there!
Young Artist Program
The Marion Art Center is pleased to offer a Young Artist Program, a new collaboration between the Marion Art Center and local high schools. Our YA Program features an online exhibit, rotating student artwork on display at the MAC, student art shows, small group student tours, a mentor program to pair professional artists with young artists, free time in the MAC studio for student members, and an emerging artist lab.