Letters to the Editor

Conversations and relationships create art

Just add water.

For me, a work of art is raw material until it engages individuals and communities and sustains conversations with them. When these conversational relationships emerge, the work truly becomes art. If you want an illustration of my philosophy, there’s one close by.

In summer 2019, as part of its “Revolution 1989” exhibition, the National Czech and Slovak Museum & Library (NSCML) built a replica section of the Berlin Wall in Czech Village, Cedar Rapids. Des Moines artist Jordan Weber used a remnant of that wall in a collaborative project with students from two Cedar Rapids high schools (Metro and Washington.) They created a little free library that dovetails nicely with the African American Museum of Iowa’s (AAMI) current exhibition, “Unwavering: 21st Century Activism.”

According to the work’s description, “This (collaboration) allowed the students to grapple with themes of social justice, social protest, and counteracting systemic oppression with community good.”

This work spans two exhibitions, links four organizations (two cultural centers, two schools), brings dozens of individuals into direct or indirect interaction, and offers a new treasure to the community.

AAMI and NCSML collaboratively and jointly own this work.

Currently on display at AAMI, books may be taken from the library or donated to it.

Water added.

Patrick Muller

Hills

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