Daiana and I felt like fish out of water when meeting with Amanda Roy, community programs manager at the Greater Hartford Arts Council. But when the idea formed for putting on a Weaver High School Redesign-themed art exhibition, we knew we needed a little guidance.
Up until now, engagement efforts around the redesign of one of North Hartford’s great institutions consisted of community forums, panel discussions and meetings. While each of these avenues is instrumental to developing a high-quality school, there are different parts of the Weaver story those forums don’t capture and people who often go unheard and unseen. And yet, the passion and vibrancy around seeking a high-quality education is palpable.
Art as an expression has long played a role in society: It has demonstrated time and again that its messages can spark new ideas and challenge and inspire us all. Art can be a way to expose social justice issues like inequity in education, celebrate the past, or even dream about a brighter future.
So, there we were in the small conference room off the main lobby explaining to Amanda how we hoped an art exhibition centered around Weaver could “weave the past into the future” – celebrating the former Weaver experience and culture, as well as, the promise for Weaver’s future.
From a community perspective, the narrative of urban education is that school based decisions just happen to us, not with us, but the Weaver Redesign Project invites the community to be the authors of their future, creating it, as actors in their own story.
This Weaver art exhibition is making another space for more discussion, introduction of new language, and ways of talking about good schools that help us to make public the uncomfortable and messy conversations that have traditionally been held in private.
Amanda put our minds at ease as she walked us through the process of crafting a call to artists and thinking through curation and other exhibit guidelines. She offered to remain our guide until we reach the end of our goal of celebrating and building energy around the redesign of Weaver High School on exhibition night, February 28, 6pm-8pm at the Artists Collective.
We’re still taking submissions and welcome you to join us “weave the past into the future”.
View the full prospectus at www.weaver2019.com.
Check out this video from Harpers Galleria – What role does art play in society?