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Social Justice Expressed Through Art in Dec. 16 Art Show

Posted Dec. 14, 2011

Often, feelings of oppression and inequality are expressed through an art form, and the message is sometimes stronger in these impactful pieces. Dr. Christa Boske, an assistant professor of PreK-12 Educational Administration at Kent State University, acknowledges and embraces this with her Leading for Social Justice class where she offers graduate students a unique opportunity to express their discovered emotions through art.

Students work with local artist-mentors, children, families and community members to understand and communicate social justice and equality-oriented issues through meaningful pieces of art. The students’ work, along with those by local artist-mentors, will be on display at the Kent State School of Art Gallery on Friday, Dec. 16, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

The show, aptly titled “Standing Still is Not an Option,” encourages attendees not to choose inaction when dealing with inequality and “the lived experiences of marginalized populations due to race, class, gender, language, immigration status, ability, religion and sexual identity.”

“Students learn to utilize artmaking for making sense of lived experiences through sensory exploration, which creates spaces for school leaders to consider their actions and reflect upon their impact,” Boske said. “Artmaking plays a significant role in sense-making because the act of knowing is interconnected with affect, intuition and imaginative thinking.”

Students partnered with community artist-mentors and worked together throughout the semester to translate their understanding of social justice issues into artistic endeavors.

“Throughout this course, I have been challenged by my professor, my classmates and the various readings to self-reflect and discover who it is that I really am as an individual and explore ways in which I can lead for social justice by championing for people who are marginalized,” said Beth Mariola, a graduate student studying education administration K-12 leadership. “The art show creates a space to communicate my transformation and journey.”

Guests who attend the show will be challenged to consider how powerful their own beliefs could be when supported by facts, said Susan Hanna, a master’s graduate who enrolled in the course for professional development. “We have all critically studied and researched a social justice topic close to our heart,” she said. “With this knowledge, we've been able to create art that inspires children and educators and up-standers to speak out about an injustice occurring within the walls of their own school.”

Students in the Leading for Social Justice course are committed to transform their sense of self to acknowledge and interrupt oppressive practices and empower underserved children and families throughout U.S. public schools. Their commitment is founded in research and equity audits conducted within Ohio.

The Dec. 16 art show is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served, and the artwork is available to purchase with all proceeds going to charity.

Kent State’s School of Art Gallery is located in the Art Building at 400 Janik Drive. For more information, contact Boske at

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Media Contacts:
Christa Boske,, 330-672-2580
Emily Vincent,, 330-672-8595