The area-wide art show "Hands Up, Don’t Shoot — Artists Respond" opens this weekend. The show was conceived by Salon 53 owner Freida L. Wheaton and will feature national and local artists’ responses to the shooting death of Michael Brown and subsequent protests in Ferguson.
“All art galleries, especially ones located on universities, have a responsibility to address topical issues that are going to be important to their community and their students,” said Gallery 210 Director Terry Suhre, 61. He chose photography for display at the University of Missouri-St. Louis’ Gallery FAB.
“The opportunity to engage in this dialogue is something that is just hard to pass up,” he said.
Surry believes student body and wider creative community reactions will be varied.
“We have an incredibly diverse student body so I think some will be engaged with it, some may find it somewhat challenging maybe to the point where they disagree with it, others will agree with it totally,” said Suhre.
Carleton Mitchell, 51, is an engineer who runs Exodus Gallery. He said the show is an opportunity to boil down the reactions of people who witnessed the events.
“A picture is worth a thousand words, so it will capture in photos and videos the feelings of some of the people who either witnessed it or experienced the events that are happening,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell also sees the show as an opportunity to expand the influence of the Alliance of Black Art Galleries. He thinks they have a special roll in highlighting work produced surrounding Brown’s death and the subsequent protests.
“I think they should be at the forefront of making sure the art is made available to the people in different communities that the art galleries are in,” said Mitchell. “A lot of the major art galleries are open to everyone but they may not be in a community that is accessible to the average person.”
The show will run through Dec 20. To find out more about the art and the venues, go to www.facebook.com/events/777406265639681/.