Fontbonne University art show displays boards used during Stockley protests | St. Louis Public Radio

Fontbonne University art show displays boards used during Stockley protests

Nov 9, 2017

As he drove down Delmar Boulevard in September, Tony Borchardt was struck by what he saw. Numerous painted boards lined the street in anticipation of more protests over a judge's decision to find former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley not guilty of murder in the death of Anthony Lamar Smith.

Hours earlier, a dean at Fontbonne University asked if Borchardt could organize an exhibit of art related to the event.  Looking around him, Borschart knew he’d found his show. 

The exhibit “Protest and Peace,” at the Fontbonne University Fine Art Gallery, features those painted boards from the Delmar Loop.

“My thought directly was, you know, ‘that’s it; if I can get that together, that’s a show,” Borchardt recalled of that September day. He approached businesses the following day.

The show is reminiscent of other protest-themed exhibits held throughout St. Louis following the 2014 shooting death of Michael Brown, Jr. at the hands of then-officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson. It highlights how people express themselves when confronting an unjust judicial system or unwanted protests. 

Several paintings featured icons or graphic, like the arch, strongly associated with St. Louis.
Credit Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

For Borchardt, the show is about more than the images themselves.

“Its all about context when it comes to art like this," he said. "It’s not always the prettiest pictures on the wall but it’s about the meaning behind them. And I think if you look at the protests and the hurt on both sides that’s the context that we look at.”

The show aims to explore how people in St. Louis come together in moments of severe racial and political division.

Borchardt believes that in displaying work that’s collaborative in nature, contains messages of peace, but acknowledges the anger of people in the streets, he’s capturing a portrait of the city. 

If you go:

What: “Protest and Peace”

When: Until Nov. 17

Where: Fontbonne University Fine Arts Gallery

Follow Willis on Twitter: @WillisRArnold