Chicago Artist Responds to Flint Water Crisis with Exhibit

By |2016-11-03T09:00:00-04:00November 3rd, 2016|Lansing, Neighborhoods|


EAST LANSING –The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University (Broad MSU) is gearing up to present an exhibition on the Flint water crisis by Chicago-based artist Jan Tichy as part of the MSU Federal Credit Union Artist Studio Series.
The Flint water crisis entered national consciousness in 2014 after the Flint water supply was switched to the Flint River. The results of this change led to high levels of contamination and health problems for many residents including 6-12,000 youth living in the area. Still today, the crisis remains a daily reality for many affected citizens who no longer have direct access to clean, safe water.
Tichy, a contemporary artist and educator working in video, sculpture, architecture and photography, is well known for his large-scale, community-based initiatives that respond directly to local and contemporary issues like his works “Project Cabrini Green” in Chicago and “Heat Light Water” in Gary, Indiana.
In September he embarked on a four-month residency with the museum during which he will facilitate a collaboration between 80 students from Carman-Ainsworth High School in Flint and Everett High School in Lansing. The collaborative art project will result in an installation that will occupy the Broad MSU’s Alan and Rebecca Ross Education Wing.
During the collaboration, Tichy will work closely with the students and orchestrate joint workshops in both schools that will explore how different forms of creative expression can be used to communicate ideas and messages, while also touching on themes of social and restorative justice. These monthly workshops will include activities ranging from presentations on the role of art in society, the artistic process, informational sessions on the Flint water crisis, and writing and art-making exercises that will allow participants to explore and develop their own expressive approaches to the topics. Through these engagements, Tichy and the students will generate content for the exhibition that will be launched January 21 at the Broad MSU.
“While we recognize that a wide variety of initiatives have been launched in response to the Flint water crisis, this residency provides a unique opportunity for Jan Tichy and the Broad MSU to join together in a shared belief in the power of art to offer more nuanced and poetic ways of coming to terms with the situation in Flint,” said Broad MSU Assistant Curator, Steven L. Bridges. “One objective of this partnership is to further bridge these two neighborly communities and use artistic forms of expression to give voice and visibility to new perspectives generated by our shared work.”
All the programs held in association with the MSU Federal Credit Union Artist Studio Series will play a vital role in giving a voice to different community groups and raising awareness for the ongoing situation in Flint. The programming planned for this exhibition will offer opportunities for lasting inter-city, campus and regional connections ranging from K-12 school interactions, campus conversations, classroom visits and connections with a leading contemporary artist. Highlighted programs include: an artist lecture on the Flint water crisis project on Nov. 3; a public reception on Jan. 21; a family day on Feb. 4 that will feature hands-on activities and project-based community partnerships; and an altered tour on March 3 offering access points to exhibitions from a multitude of disciples led by community members, scholars, and experts through a non-art centered approach.
For more information contact Whitney Stoepel at 517-884-3909 or by email at [email protected].
The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum is located at 547 E. Circle Drive in East Lansing.

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Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.