Moore students collaborated with the Leeway Foundation on a special research project in anticipation of the foundation's 25th anniversary exhibition, which will be presented in The Galleries at Moore in Fall 2018.
On November 28, 2017, three groups presented proposals on how to address critical issues facing this real-world exhibition project as part of a liberal arts class focusing on curating art and activism titled 'Exhibitionism," taught by Daniel Tucker, Moore's assistant professor and graduate program director in Socially Engaged Studio Art.
The students were asked to consider innovative ways to present 25 years of social history for female and trans-identified artists in Philadelphia alongside the foundation's 10 social justice intent areas, including cultural preservation; disability justice; displacement, migration and immigration; economic justice; ending war (militarization, criminalization, mass incarceration); environmental justice; feminism; indigenous sovereignty/rights; LGBTQI social movements; racial justice; and transgender justice/gender self-determination.
"This was to address some of the exhibition design questions Leeway was facing," said Tucker. "Many of the ideas that were presented by the students were incorporated into Leeway's planning and they are already being implemented as the group meets with the Galleries and prepares for their exhibition."
One group, made up of students Sarah Hormanski, Abigail Dangler, Aliya Pooser, Katherine McElroy, Jade-Rose Green and Virginia Pollock, created a brochure that incorporated tactics from their Field Studies class visits to see local exhibitions like Speech/Acts at ICA, Philadelphia Assembled at the PMA, and Monument Lab presented citywide by Mural Arts Philadelphia, and ideas that showed a sensitivity to the organization's specific character through mapping and videos.
The second group, comprised of Minh Nguyen, Chandler Israel, Jasmine Herring, Molly Olshin, Shoalyn Brown and Kirstyn Kellogg, presented a floorplan and postcard handouts that used “intent” areas as an organizing principle alongside 2017 Leeway grantees that embodied those values. They provided attention to hospitality within the exhibition space that showed an appreciation of the user experience.
Caitlin O'Connell, Graciela Vasquez, Lauren Niedelman, Kelsea Henson, Deanna Emmons and Taylor Baldwin presented a floorplan that focused on the table as a metaphor for the organization. It was a thoughtful decision that helped to structure the time portion of the project. They focused on grantees of different years as a means to represent a complex history with various case studies and examples of the kinds of artists Leeway supports. Their description of the "art of the process" helped to resolve the need to represent values of the organization. The group talked about other predecessors and inspirations who had used community “tables” as a central feature in exhibits.
Tucker said representatives from the Leeway Foundation visited Moore multiple times to get to know the students.
"It's really a part of them beginning their process of connecting with Moore," he said. "They offered their project as a kind of case study for students to learn from, and they could learn from the students about the culture of Moore and how they'd like Leeway to fit into that."
The Leeway Foundation supports women and trans artists and cultural producers working in communities at the intersection of art, culture, and social change. Through grant-making and other programs, the foundation promotes artistic expression that amplifies the voices of those on the margins, promotes sustainable and healthy communities, and works in the service of movements for economic and social justice.