Utah students celebrate Black History Month with art exhibit

Feb 24, 2023, 6:30 AM

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah students are celebrating Black History Month by carrying out the vision of Martin Luther King Jr. through a special art project on display at Salt Lake Community College.

King said, “The aftermath of nonviolence is the creation of a beloved community,” which is the idea behind the exhibit created by students with help from SLCC faculty.

The exhibit showcases art and photos from sixth graders at Whittier and Adelaide elementary schools and seventh and eighth graders at Glendale Middle School.

“The kids are actually given cameras and they get to spend a week taking pictures of anything they feel like represents the love of their community,” said Paulette Nemelka, a sixth grade teacher at Whittier.

Students captured 3,400 pictures. Everything from their family, buildings, a church and signs from a dog park to their pets and sugar cookies.

“I have seen kids take pictures of something as small as a rose petal on a leaf or an insect.”

Spencer Bowman, a sixth grader from Whittier, said, “I just tried taking pictures of buildings, plants and animals.”

SLCC faculty selected those they felt best represented the love of their community. Ed Rosenberger, an associate professor of visual art design & photography, was one of the teachers who worked with students on the project.

“Our young individuals see things for the first time in unique ways and they’re innocent and so I think they express their ideas in an interesting way,” he said.

Bowman showed off his photo.

“I took a picture of the praying mantis on a stick on my patio in my backyard,” he said. “I chose it because insects are part of the community too.”

An empowering project moving them closer to Dr. King’s global vision of a beloved community.

“Their creativity is just so amazing,” Nemelka said. “It makes me so pleased that they care about their community so much they want to show it.”

You can visit the exhibit through March 23 at the South City Campus.

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Utah students celebrate Black History Month with art exhibit