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Free the Vaccine exhibition moves students to action at UMaine

The University of Maine’s student newspaper The Maine Campus reported on the Free the Vaccine’s exhibit was on display at the university’s Innovative Media Research and Commercialization Center until April 16.

Director of the Intermedia Program Susan Smith said of the exhibit:

“We brought an international exhibition to UMaine’s IMRC Center as the first location to host ‘Creativity vs. COVID,’ an exhibition of work created by artists, students [and] scientists in over 18 countries,” Smith said.

“As director, it is important to me that students see the potential for their role beyond the classroom in a society in which art can serve to create change, and to bring information to a wider audience,” Smith said. “We are in the middle of a global pandemic, and while they have had to struggle with the challenges that have presented, there exists also the opportunity for them to use their work like never before.”

Rochelle Lawrence a MFA student in the intermedia program said of using art for activism:

“The global pandemic has changed the way we are able to be in the world and as an artist, the isolating effect of the shutdown has opened my eyes to the importance that science has on our lives every day,” Lawrence said. “It has also shown me how such a large part of the United States’ population is skeptical of science. Making artwork that promotes the vaccine has been a chance to use art as a communication device. Art is an amazing tool for grabbing people’s attention so that they might think further about how the vaccine can impact their lives and in turn, move us toward herd immunity.”

The work did not stop with the exhibit. On April 2 intermedia students used projectors to display the message “A Shot in the Dark” on campus buildings. Students used animations and images from the Free the Vaccine logo.

“This work has inspired the students to be involved in their community. We are working on projects focusing on monuments, statues and erased histories, and one of the first projects will be a trail of “monuments” memorializing lives lost to COVID.”

Susan Smith, Director University of Maine Intermedia Program

Read the full article in The Main Campus here.

Image credit: David Jakacky

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