Exploring the Art of Diversity: Virtual Art Exhibits

Diversity is represented through art in a variety of ways. Over the past semester, students in Mr. McLean’s Art of Diversity class looked at the many ways artists communicate diversity. This served as a basis for developing their own exhibits, individually or in a group. The resulting exhibits showcased below illustrate the many ways artists understand and express diversity. While students originally intended for these to be shown in different spaces on the APH campus, COVID-19 required shifting their strategy to developing virtual exhibits. Research into online platforms and actual online galleries allowed students to select from a variety of virtual formats. Each exhibit showcases one idea that encompasses a particular aspect of diversity. 

As students developed their projects, they were lucky to get feedback via Zoom from a museum expert in Florence, Italy — Valentina Zucchi, curator of the Museo delle Terre Nuove in San Giovanni Valdarno and head of cultural mediation for MUS.E Firenze. Doctoressa Zucchi encouraged students’ exploration of building relations with viewers through art by highlighting emotion and provided tips on how to structure exhibits that include a narrative logic leading viewers through the works. 

The following student themes explore ways that art expresses diversity formally (through composition, color, etc.), through content (subject matter i.e., ethnicity, gender, etc.), or both. Exhibit topics include: the Art of Dance, The Diversity of EmotionPeople of the WorldThe Art of Emotion: Color, and Diversity in the Abstract, Nature through SocietyNature vs. TechnologyNature Prevailing Over the New WorldDiversity of the Girl, and Light in Darkness. Through these lenses, students have showcased their own work as well as work by classmates, APH art students, and other artists connected to or outside the APH community. Students invite you to explore this art, to come up with your own understanding of diversity, and to share it with us via social media using the #APHArtDiversity.

Diversity of the Girl, by Hannah V. ’20

View exhibit on the Penguin Hall Blog

Exhibit Overview

Diversity of the Girl is an art gallery highlighting the variety in women. As the curator, I asked myself and each artist, “Do the women you see in the media look like the women you know?” The answer was no; where are the women with curves, acne, disabilities, dyed hair, colored skin, tattoos, and body hair?

My project’s purpose is to defy the societal imagery we are presented every day. Diversity of the Girl encourages the audience to accept and admire the array of women we know on their own terms, not through portrayal by the media. 

*Please note some pieces include nudity

Artwork #1: Reflection, 2020
Angela M. ‘20
Linocut print on plastic

Artwork #2: Fool, 2018
Autumn M.
Watercolor and crayon

People of the World, by Juliette C. ’20

View exhibit @_people.of.the.world on Instagram

Exhibit Overview

Being part of a small, close-knit community is a privilege that not everyone gets to experience. But seeing the same group of people that we’ve gotten to know so well every single day often allows us to overlook the fact that there are people just like us on the other side of the world. We tend to view people from foreign places as “other,” and we don’t realize that there are people our age from all over the world that love the same TV shows, music, and foods that we do.

It’s important to recognize that we are all humans with thoughts and feelings, even though we may all live in different places. My exhibit focuses on the unity in diversity and finding similarities despite major geographical differences. The presentation features multiple small black and white photographs showing ordinary scenes from many places all over the world. Each photograph, in black and white, is “hung” on the same color background to represent harmony and equality.

Artwork #1: Tony Day, 2007
London, United Kingdom

Artwork #2: “Sunday in Mexico is for Salsa”
Frederik Trovatten, 2018
Coyoacan, Mexico

The Nature of Color, by Avery B. ’22, Carling B. ’20, and Rowan B. ’23

View exhibit @the.nature.of.color on Instagram

Exhibit Overview

We have chosen to focus on the theme combination of color and nature for our art exhibit. We’ve enlisted a few artists to create works that follow the theme in whatever way they chose to interpret it, and the illustrations will be displayed virtually on the APH blog. Our exhibit represents diversity by using color to evoke emotion from the viewer as well as encourage them to consider a world where nature and society come together in unusual ways. 

One of the works that influenced us in developing our creative process was Garden Boy. Garden Boy is part of Salem’s walkthrough art exhibit and illustrates the idea that even if technology takes over the world, nature will prevail. The main goal of the artwork displayed is to evoke thought about how color and nature are constantly affecting our day to day lives. 

Artwork #1: ‘São Paulo to New York: 100 Years’, 2020
Bridget M. ‘22
Paint on Canvas

Artwork #2: Overwhelmed, 2017
Angela M. ‘20
Acrylic on canvas

Diversity in the Abstract, by Keira H. ’23 

Virtual exhibit via Artsteps

Exhibit Overview

Abstract art is a unique way to express diversity, different people can interpret abstract art in a variety of different ways, all as a result of their diverse backgrounds, interests, and characteristics.  The mood of the piece, title, and even just the colors of the work can influence people to perceive the art work differently. Abstract art depicts diversity of representation, because it can mean widely different things to different people.

Near right: Incoherent Clouds, 2020, Acrylic
Keira H. ’23
Danvers, MA

Far left: The Effective Beginning, 2020, Watercolor
Caroline M. ’20
Wakefield, MA

Light in Darkness, by Nachelle D. ’21

Virtual exhibit via Artsteps

Exhibit Overview

The goal of this exhibit is to shed light on situation, occasions, object, anything that might not necessarily be “ideal.” I want people to leave with a new resounding sense of appreciation for what they have. These images are not meant to be as a look down, but more as an equal opportunity for those to read and understand small snippets that really make us reflect and accept what it is that we have and need. It represents a diversity of ideas. I wanted to make this exhibit a demonstration of different places, people, feelings, and thoughts that truly make you think. All of the pieces of art are open to your own diverse train of thought.

Images of virtual exhibit 

Photo by Nachelle D., 2020

Diversity of Emotions, by Alex L. ’21 

View exhibit presentation

Exhibit Overview

“Diversity of Emotions” is an interactive virtual print, composed of diverse pieces, across all mediums, made by young artists in the New England area. This is an invitations to expand your own perspective, and create new connections, as artist share their venerable stories. This print uses, QR codes, scan them by taking a picture using any smart phone to unlock new information!

Alex L. ’21, 2020

The Art of Movement, by Eve P. ’20

The Art of Movement Blog

Exhibit Overview

The Art of Movement Blog is based around showcasing different dancers. I feel dance is important because it’s really a window to the soul. Whatever you are feeling, it’s so easy to open your heart, move your feet, and let it out. Whether it be informal or formal dance, I feel that it is so important for everyone to be able to explore that distinct dance feeling.

Eve P.’20, 2020

The Trailing Plants, by Alexis P. ’23

Virtual exhibit via Artsteps

Exhibit Overview

The Trailing Plants is a photograph collection showing the diversity between nature and society and reflecting how nature overcomes the world and, ultimately, takes over.

Alexis P.’23, 2020
Beverly, MA