“A Place of Our Own” Spotlights Diverse Perspectives

Place of Our Own Exhibit Reception 2-15-2023
Deidra Dillard (left), first-generation student experience coordinator at Arkansas Tech University, and Marquis Vasquez, ATU Student Government Association president, took a moment to read Romi Anderson's short story "Hum in the Wind" during the reception for the "A Place of Our Own" art exhibit at Arkansas Tech University on Wednesday, Feb. 15.

Thirty-six works created by 15 artists are on display for the “A Place of Our Own” exhibit at Arkansas Tech University’s Norman Hall Art Gallery.

The exhibit features the work of BIPOC — Black, Indigenous, People of Color — Arkansas Tech students. It will remain open weekdays through Monday, Feb. 27, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. in Norman Hall Art Gallery, which is located at 203 West Q Street on the ATU campus in Russellville.

“My parents have always created art, so I grew up with it,” said Jessica Profit of Little Rock, a December 2022 ATU graduate with a degree in graphic design and one of the artists whose work is featured in the exhibit. “I took that love of art and I just kept going with it in college.”

Profit’s contributions to “A Place of Our Own” include a series of portraits spotlighting influential African American women in the field of art.

“I tried to portray them as best I could,” said Profit. “It broadened my art skills because I am mostly a digital artist, whereas these are mostly texture artists, collagists and sculptors. It helped me get more into it and expand my understanding of art.”

Nathaly Marin of Russellville is a sophomore art education major at ATU. She contributed pieces to the “A Place of Our Own” exhibit as part of her continued growth as an artist with a desire and the courage to express herself.

“I feel like art is a way to show people your lens,” said Marin. “No one can ever have the same experience as you, so I think the best thing you can do is show them how you view the world and how your differences have shaped your perspective on the world around you.”

Since enrolling at ATU, many of those experiences have played out at Norman Hall, home of the ATU Department of Art. That’s why it was especially meaningful for Marin to be part of the “A Place of Our Own” exhibit.

“I feel like Norman Hall Art Gallery has always featured a broad spectrum of different individuals,” said Marin. “For me and a lot of my classmates, Norman Hall is our safe place. This is the building I feel comfortable hanging out in. I have classes with other artists, and that’s where I’ve made the most friends. I feel like that’s because we all feel very comfortable in the space of Norman Hall. It’s important for students of color to feel represented in the place where we study. That’s why I thought this exhibit was great.”

In addition to Profit and Marin, other artists featured in the “A Place of Our Own” exhibit include Ronnie Allen, Romi Anderson, Neiah Denney, Jabriel Fleming, Oscar Garcia, Kaliyah Jackson, Ashley Marin, Kientre’ Maxie, Elonna McPeters, Molly Mok, Jason Richardson, Jasmine Romero and Jessica Zelaya.

Visit www.atu.edu/art to learn more about the ATU Department of Art.