The students of Professor Gail Gelburd’s Museums Studies Class have partnered with Willimantic’s No-Freeze Shelter to curate the exhibition Displaced: Perspectives from Within. The exhibition is at the Willimantic Public Library through March. This exhibition was first shown at Eastern State University’s Shafer hall.
The exhibition includes art created by our students and some young students from other towns, but the main focus of the exhibition will be the work created by the guests of the No-Freeze shelter in Willimantic. The students in the class met with the homeless men and women at the shelter and gave them cameras and art supplies. This gave the guests an opportunity to share their perceptions of being homeless and their life in Willimantic. The exhibition will be accompanied by information about homelessness in America. The students will also show videos and films about the subject during the opening reception.
The students in the course devised the theme, conducted the research. They were divided into museum departments and curated the works, condition reported, catalogued and labeled the images, prepared accompanying educational programming, promoted the exhibition, managed the budget, and then designed the exhibition, the flyers, didactics, and labels. They worked as a team to carefully install the exhibition and open it up for public viewing.
This project is an example of community based learning—students who participated in the project learned first hand about this issue and the guests shared their creativity.
Gail Gelburd is Professor of Art History.