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Nov. 2, 2016

Artist works with students in response to Flint water crisis

The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University presents an exhibition by Chicago-based artist Jan Tichy as part of the MSU Federal Credit Union Artist Studio Series.

Since September, Tichy has been conducting a residency with the museum that will result in an installation opening on Jan. 21 in the Broad MSU’s Alan and Rebecca Ross Education Wing. During the residency period, lasting until December, Tichy will facilitate collaboration between students of Carman-Ainsworth High School in Flint and Everett High School in Lansing.

Tichy is working closely with nearly 80 high school students to orchestrate joint workshops exploring how different forms of creative expression can be used to communicate ideas and messages, while also touching on themes of social and restorative justice.

The workshops take place once a month during the residency, bringing together the same diverse group of students on each occasion. They include activities ranging from presentations on the role of art in society, the artistic process, informational sessions on the Flint water crisis and writing and art-making exercises that allow participants to explore and develop their own expressive approaches to the topic at hand. Through these engagements, the students and Tichy will generate content for the exhibition in January at the Broad MSU.

The Broad MSU is dedicated to exploring the world through the probing gaze of artists and how art can help to improve and strengthen our communities. Tichy is well-known for his large-scale, community-based initiatives that respond directly to local and contemporary issues.

“While we recognize that a wide variety of initiatives have been launched in response to the Flint water crisis, this residency provides a unique opportunity for Jan Tichy and the Broad MSU to join together in a shared belief in the power of art to offer more nuanced and poetic ways of coming to terms with the situation in Flint,” said Broad MSU Assistant Curator Steven Bridges. “One objective of this partnership is to further bridge these two neighborly communities and use artistic forms of expression to give voice and visibility to new perspectives generated by our shared work.”

All the programs held in association with the MSU Federal Credit Union Artist Studio Series will play a vital role in giving a voice to different community groups and raising awareness for the ongoing situation in Flint. The programming planned for this exhibition will offer opportunities for lasting inter-city, campus and regional connections, ranging from K-12 school interactions, campus conversations, classroom visits and connections with a leading contemporary artist.

Highlighted programs include:

  • Artist lecture on Nov. 3 at the Broad MSU. The artist will discuss his creative process, current work and the project in response to the Flint water crisis.
  • Public reception on Jan. 21 at the Broad MSU that will include activities and informational sessions led by the artist and project participants.
  • Family Day on Feb. 4 at the Broad MSU that will feature hands-on activities and project-based community partnerships.
  • Altered Tour on March 3 at the Broad MSU. The Altered Tour series offers access points to exhibitions from a multitude of disciplines and are led by community members, scholars and experts through a non-art centered approach.