First-year members of the Boston and Miami Posse toured the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute (MWPAI) in Utica on Nov. 13 as they sought to learn more about differences in perspective, experience and culture when viewing artwork. The Institute featured an exhibit with works by renowned photographer Steve McCurry, which spurred discussion among the students on the value of spreading cultural awareness through art.
MWPAI's collection includes approximately 15,000 works of art and objects. Overall, the mission of the institute is to enrich viewers on the history of different art and artifacts and encourage understanding of the people and cultures that created them.
Professor of Anthropology and Boston Posse Mentor Chaise LaDousa suggested the trip as a way for students to bond, as well as an opportunity to emphasize the importance of having knowledge and awareness in various, diverse backgrounds, which is one of the Posse Foundation’s major aims.
Professor of Economics and Miami Posse Mentor Christophre Georges emphasized the trip as an “opportunity for the Miami and Boston Posses to get together socially” and “introduce them to this wonderful Utica institution and its permanent collection, as well as the interesting and controversial Steve McCurry exhibition.”
Katherine Barnes ’20, found that viewing the various, diverse artworks in the Steve McCurry exhibition widened her perspective on how art can also be used as a form of news. “The art work in the museum was, from so many different perspectives and mediums, but still had an impact on me and how I viewed things. It opened my eyes to so many different lives that are being lived around the world, especially things that the mainstream media isn’t always willing to report on.”
The students also had to chance to see an exhibit featuring portraits of children from the Midtown Community Utica Center. Barnes commented, “I think a really beautiful touch is the exhibit just outside McCurry’s using portraits of Utica refugees and their stories which makes the artwork become more personal especially when you know and recognize the people from Utica.”
The studentss and mentors plan to continue going on trips that will enhance their perspective as they become aware of the importance of diversity, not only on the Hamilton campus, but in other areas of the community as well.