DECLARATIONS: Our Messages to the World
A COD Student Exhibition at the Coachella Valley Art Center
College of the Desert (COD) students currently enrolled in “Gallery Display Management,” are pleased to announce their collaborative exhibition Declarations: Our Messages to the World, April 29 – May 17, 2013, at the Coachella Valley Art Center (CVAC) in downtown Indio.
The students are hosting an artists’ reception on Wednesday, May 8, from 5 to 7 p.m., that is free and open to the public; musical entertainment and light refreshments will be provided, along with a free do-it-yourself craft table provided by The Coachella Valley Art Scene. Visitors are invited to add their own “declaration” to the community wall in the exhibition space, with supplies provided. Students will also be staffing the exhibition on Saturday, May 11 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. as part of CVAC’s Saturday Promenade.
Declarations is the extraordinary product of a unique opportunity in which students had to collaborate and work together in order to conceive, execute, and install an exhibit in a short period of time and with limited resources. From brainstorming about a concept to producing and installing the artwork, this creative exercise in cooperation and compromise unified a group of diverse individuals around a shared vision of expression. The proposition: if given one simple piece of cardboard to communicate a message to the world, what would that message be?
Each answered the call in radically different ways: personal poetry, inspirational passages, reflections on aesthetics and history. Using recycled cardboard—a disposable material used for the roadside statements of the unemployed and disenfranchised—each student produced a personal visual message that transforms this iconography of desperation into a declaration of values, some humorous, some serious, all meaningful. The tactile immediacy of the cardboard is tantalizing, raising questions about social status and our visual environment. We are confronted daily by a barrage of visual noise filled with advertising and slogans competing for our attention but, a hand-lettered cardboard sign has the potential to cut through the clutter, at least momentarily.
The cardboard sign may be the most accessible means of public expression, but is also vulnerable to the elements, physical and social, that render it fleeting. This ephemeral quality creates a provocative tension with the intentions of the artists here—these students want to make their voices heard and their messages last, through interaction with viewers who witness the powerful individual portraits in the exhibition and who are influenced by the written words. Carefully composed photographs capture each sign, held by its creator, declaring, “Here I am. This is my statement to the world.”
Visitors can study the messages individually or consider them as a whole, and respond in kind. An essential component of the exhibition is the opportunity for interaction—each visitor is invited to speak back, to add his/her own declaration to the display using supplies provided by the students. The class waits with anticipation for the call and response of community engagement and meaningful communication.
Located at 45140 Towne Center just south of Miles Avenue in downtown Indio, the Coachella Valley Art Center is free and open to the public. For more information, or to schedule a visit, please call (760) 799-4364 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org; information can also be found online at http://coachellavalleyartcenter.com/ and on Facebook.