“Pain & Triumph,” a live art museum by students at UNCSA, will explore how fear motivates people and communities. The free, multidisciplinary event sponsored by the student organization Artists of Color and the School of Design and Production, takes place from 6 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 8, in Catawba Theatre in Alex Ewing Performance Place.
The interactive museum will lead visitors through a four-year timeline ending in 2019 and illustrating – through music, film, visual arts, theater and dance – how communities have overcome or been motivated by fear. One piece deals with the October 2018 mass shooting at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue. Others deal thematically with emotionally charged issues surrounding women’s reproductive health and transgender equality. The final piece introduces the year 2020 and confronts “what-ifs” for a culture divided.
“So often, we are plagued with headlines left and right about what’s wrong today that we start to empty the cache in our mind of where we have come from and what battles have been won,” says Bethany Windham, a senior studying scenic technology and one of the project managers for “Pain & Triumph.” She continued: “With the presidential election coming up, it is important that we remind our community of the motion of history. Our goal is to move the heart through taking a look in the mirror at what we became as a world and nation, and present not only beautiful possibilities but also the messy ones.”
Trey Gray, a senior costume design student and curator of the museum, wants the audience to walk away inspired and empowered.
“We want the audience to become introspective after experiencing the show and think beyond just the surface level of these issues,” he said. “We can change the world with our voice, our work and our daily actions. We want the audience to feel empowered to ask questions, to expand their minds through talking with people who don't look or think like them. We want our audience to continue a sense of community by challenging their beliefs, speaking up and advocating for the future.”
I fell in love with numerous art styles, mainly the unconventional ones. I wanted to break barriers and change the way we see, feel and create art. I started researching more and I couldn't find anything like what I was imagining, so I created it myself.Trey Gray, Artists of Color
Courses in art and theater history inspired Gray to create the live art museum. “I fell in love with numerous art styles, mainly the unconventional ones. I wanted to break barriers and change the way we see, feel and create art,” he said. “I started researching more and I couldn't find anything like what I was imagining, so I created it myself. “
Last year he enlisted the support of Artists of Color, and the concept was introduced on campus, exploring the theme of unity. Windham said that event attracted many people from the community who had never been on the campus. “We became accessible to our neighbors,” she said. “We gave them an opportunity to discuss and reimagine the idea of unity in a safe space built for conversation.”
Windham said “Pain & Triumph” will include more than a dozen pieces, “some you look at, some you watch, and some you take part in.”
That format, with different mediums, makes live art museum a safe forum for addressing social, political and economic issues, according to Gray. “From paintings to sculptures to projections to the emotional soundscapes, to even performance art, the live art museum conveys a story of change,” he said. “This story helps the audience remove themselves from the chaos of the outside world and gives them space to focus on what they are seeing, hearing and feeling in the present. The live art museum immerses the audience deeper into relevant topics, and captivates the audience to be open-minded and yearn for growth.”
The live art museum is self-directed, and participants are free to move through the exhibits at their own pace. Due to strong political and emotional themes, parents are advised to accompany preteens to the event.
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February 03, 2020