“Be the Art You Want to See in the World,” a student art exhibition centered on global race- and class-related issues, opened at Zilkha’s South Gallery last Thursday, Feb. 5.  The show of more than 20 student artists was organized by the “Skittles team,” which has put together similar art shows for the past two years.  While previous “Skittles” galleries featured the work and preoccupations of students of color, “Be the Art” shifted its focus to broader questions of identity and oppression.  “We were trying to open it up and really look at the critical issues that are in the art world that face more than just people of color,” said organizer Julius Crowe Hampton ’09. “We wanted to bring attention to issues of classism and racism and any elements of exclusion that prevent people from doing art.”  The exhibition, Hampton says, was less concerned with showcasing overtly political works, as it was with a general mindfulness of the issues “Be the Art” explores.  “Not all works had to be political or deal with those issues. Whoever joined the show just had to do so consciously and be aware of what we were trying to achieve.”
The pieces featured in “Be the Art” span a wide range of visual media, including photography, print-making, sculpture, painting, mixed media, and video installation.  On the opening night, student-created beats (a mix of jazz and hip-hop) and refreshments added to the homegrown eclecticism of the show.  More than 225 people showed up at the reception to taken in the music, food and art. Altogether, Hampton says, the opening was a success. “The turnout was great. Absolutely beyond our wildest imaginations.”

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