Cotton says each exhibit has a variety of student pieces from Flint, Ann Arbor and Dearborn in an effort to amplify the diversity of Wolverine experiences.
“Go to each of the galleries and see the student work. You will be impressed. The displayed student works at our venue range in themes from human rights to climate justice to the importance of hope within our daily lives,” she says. “I love how this exhibit builds community and connects students' voices. We come from different backgrounds and experiences, and putting them together adds to the impact of this exhibit.”
UM-Dearborn senior Brianna Bryant’s work “Acceptance Letter” hangs in UM-Ann Arbor’s Duderstadt Center Gallery. The first in her family to go to college, the Detroit resident shares how she’s experienced microaggressions, food insecurity, housing insecurity and transportation concerns on her journey to a college degree.
“When you get that acceptance letter, it is so exciting,” says Bryant, who works as a student employee in the Center for Social Justice and Inclusion. “You have so much spirit and don’t know about the challenges ahead of you. I want to share my story to make students aware of challenges they may experience. And I want people with power to make changes.”
First-year UM-Dearborn student Alyssa Howard created an acrylic painting titled “Break the Past” that includes images reflecting on historic events like the Holocaust and the murder of George Floyd. “I choose events from history that everyone could recognize or connect to personally,” says Howard, whose work is at the Stamelos. “I wanted to show how much history truly does repeat itself, while also leaving a tiny piece of the canvas open to the idea of how the world would be a much different place if none of these events occurred to begin with.”
Bryant says there is power in seeing art that represents lived experiences and she’s proud to contribute to an exhibit that includes a variety of voices.
“We are only here for four or so years — but art lives on,” says Bryant, who will graduate in December. “Art is a universal language that promotes communication, bridges differences and creates change. And I’m here for it.”