Student Union Introduces Artists in Color

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BY CHASE SCHERR chase.scherr@go.mnstate.edu

On September 22, 2020, an event that highlights and celebrates the work by artists of black, indigenous and people of color was showcased in the CMU Ballroom. 

The event, known as Artists in Color, is a seminar that is a part of a three-part series that tackles different subjects related to people of other ethnicities. Some examples of these include Cuisine and the Workplace in Color. 

“The whole reason we put this together was to recognize that black, indigenous and people of color also have a voice,” Event Coordinator Fleury Clark said. “For instance, with the Workplace in Color, we wanted to discuss what it is like being a black, indigenous, person of color in the workplace.” 

Artists in Color was run with three panelists at the stage. Each of those speakers had a variety of talents like music, painting, and theatrical set design and were also graduates at MSUM at some point in their lives.  

“The way that art has changed me is it has made me more aware and more disciplined,” Franklin Ugochukwu said. 

Ugochukwu is a painter who graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts at MSUM last year. Since the murder of George Floyd and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, Ugochukwu has spread the message about how art can express a different kind of message. 

“Art has a way of expressing yourself and that form of expression, regardless of how many people that see it, if that has the ability to reach at least one person, I know I am doing something right,” Ugochukwu said. 

His work has been featured at several art gallery shows in MSUM and the Plains Art Museum in Fargo. 

“[A thing that mainly inspires me with music] is that I can be creative without having any limits to what I can create,” Conor Lee said.

Lee is a guitarist who received a bachelor’s in jazz studies at MSUM and is working for the school’s Commercial Ensemble. He has experience with live performances in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, and teaches guitar to others. 

“My first goal is to produce good work and focusing on music aspects,” Lee said. 

Another one of the artists named Laurie Seifert Williams does a lot of work in set design for the theatre and has freelanced for most of her career. She now works for the Moorhead Public Schools, where she continues her craft for their theatrical productions. 

“Being of indigenous descent has just made me aware of the fact that people have different lives and that we are not all the same,” Williams said. “When you have your eyes open like that, it makes you a better artist.” 

The other two events in the series, Cuisine and Workplace in Color, are slated to be October 15 and November 5. 

“Art can be important because it allows people to see themselves and when you are seeing yourself, you know you are being represented,” Clark said. 

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