Deadline Extended for New Art Initiative

A black and white image overlaid with green, yellow and red tint, of a protest. A person is holding a sign that says "Racism is the biggest pandemic"

The deadline for artists’ participation in this year’s art exhibition, “Don’t Look Away: Because Mattering is the Minimum,” has been extended to 11:59 p.m. on Feb. 1.

This allows more time for western Pennsylvania artists, as well as any Pitt faculty, staff, students or alumni, to submit a piece of art that answers the question: “What does the phrase Black Lives Matter mean to you?”

Thirty works will be selected for the exhibition and will be reproduced onto large canvas panels to be erected in September 2021 on the lawn of the Cathedral of Learning. For each selected piece, the artist will be awarded $500. The event’s organizing and selection committees include Pitt students, faculty and staff as well as members of the community. 

“We extended the deadline in order to increase the engagement of students and the local community, to encourage a wider range of artists to apply, and to build a more multitiered approach to the exhibition,” said Sylvia Rhor Samaniego, co-organizer and director of the University Art Gallery.

Rhor says the exhibition will help to build community partnerships and will be integrated into campus life, including course curricula. After the exhibition is shown on the Pittsburgh campus, it will travel to all four regional campuses.

“Don’t Look Away” will also incorporate various performance components. In-person and virtual performances by local artists will be happening throughout the time the exhibition is up on all campuses. Locations will be announced later this year.

“Engaging with our community through performance will allow all of us to experience the power of this cultural and political moment in a visceral way,” said Bria Walker, co-organizer and head of the MFA Performance Pedagogy Program in the Department of Theatre Arts, part of the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences.

“It can be hard for people to articulate how they feel about a moment or idea, but when they engage with a performance, they’re able to have an experience that goes deeper than any words they could have spoken,” added Walker.

More information about the exhibition, as well as complete directions for submissions by Feb. 1, are available online.

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