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7 Ways to Celebrate Love at Crystal Bridges This February
January 29, 2020
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February 3, 2020
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Join Us for a For Freedoms Community Conversation

We believe citizenship is defined by participation, not by ideology. Through non-partisan nationwide programming, we use art as a vehicle for participation to deepen public discussions on civic issues and core values. ” – from the For Freedoms mission statement

 

What is For Freedoms?

Norman Rockwell (1894-1978), “Freedom of Speech,” 1943. Oil on canvas, 45 3/4″ x 35 1/2″. Story illustration for “The Saturday Evening Post,” February 20, 1943. Norman Rockwell Museum Collections. ©SEPS: Curtis Publishing, Indianapolis, IN.

 

For Freedoms is a collaborative project founded by artists Hank Willis Thomas (soon to be featured at Crystal Bridges in Hank Willis Thomas: All Things Being Equal…) and Eric Gottesman. The project focuses on making space for art and civic engagement through exhibitions and conversation.

The idea was inspired by American artist Norman Rockwell’s paintings of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms (1941)–freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.

As Thomas says, “we need to invest more energy into shaping the public discourse and ask questions that will complicate it. Right now, in our civic discourse, we’re not asking very good questions. It’s not that I believe artists have the solutions but I believe we have the questions that could possibly lead to new solutions. We as For Freedoms have been trying to encourage artists to think about our country as their canvas and encourage people who don’t necessarily engage in the art world to recognize that the work artists do is about all of us.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is the Four Freedoms Project?

In October 2018, For Freedoms launched a photo campaign entitled Four Freedoms. In collaboration with photographers Emily Shur and Wyatt Gallery, Thomas and For Freedoms transformed Norman Rockwell’s classic depictions of the four freedoms to better represent what America looks like today. Celebrities such as Rosario Dawson, Dolores Huerta, Gina Belafonte, Van Jones, Jesse Williams, and more participated in the reinterpretations.

Check out this video for a behind-the-scenes look at this project:

 

Participate in a Conversation with For Freedoms this Spring!

In honor of our newest temporary exhibition, Hank Willis Thomas: All Things Being Equal… and the ongoing efforts of For Freedoms, Crystal Bridges is presenting a series of four community conversations to deepen our understanding of issues affecting Northwest Arkansas communities.  

We invite you to participate in these conversations with a diverse group of local speakers including artists, city officials, and community leaders in the sharing of personal stories and work in relation to the topic. Each event will focus on one of the four freedoms, asking universal questions to spark conversation such as: “What does truth mean to you?  What does an adequate standard of living mean to you?  What does safety mean to you? What does love mean to you?”   

The stories shared in this program are meant to bring different voices from the community together in a shared non-partisan space. All are welcome to participate and we ask you to come with a spirit of reciprocity.

Details and locations are included below for each of the four community conversations (February 29, March 5, 12, and 19). Each event is free with online registration and registered attendees will receive a FREE admission ticket to Hank Willis Thomas: All Things Being Equal… The programs will be moderated by fellows from the University of Arkansas IDEALS Institute.  

 

Here are the upcoming events:

PHOTOGRAPHS BY HANK WILLIS THOMAS + EMILY SHUR. COURTESY OF FOR FREEDOMS.

 

For Freedoms Community Conversation: Freedom of Speech
Saturday, February 29, 1 to 3 pm
Location: Crystal Bridges in the Great Hall | Register here

Freedom of Speech will be viewed through the frame of what it means to “speak your truth.” What does truth mean to you? Speakers and audience members will be asked to recall a time when you first understood what speaking your truth meant, and to reflect on how that experience helped frame the way you saw/see the world. Universal questions may include: How does art challenge or demonstrate truth? What impact does freedom of speech have on someone else’s truth?

This conversation will be led by the following speakers:

    • Rev. Sekou, Memphis-based musician of the Freedom Fighters band and artist from For Freedoms Collective
    • Srividya Venkatasubramanya, President of Ra-Ve Cultural Foundation, a local Indian performing arts organization
    • Stephanie Orman, Mayor of Bentonville
    • Rebecca Ellis, Bentonville High School student who participated in the gun violence walkouts

 

 

 

PHOTOGRAPHS BY HANK WILLIS THOMAS + EMILY SHUR. COURTESY OF FOR FREEDOMS.

 

For Freedoms Community Conversation: Freedom from Want
Thursday,
March 5, 5:30 to 7:30 pm
Location: University of Arkansas, Hillside Auditorium | Register here

Freedom from Want will be viewed through the frame of socioeconomic status and access to basic resources. What does adequate standard of living mean to you? Speakers and audience members will be asked to recall a time when you first understood your socioeconomic status, and to reflect on how that experience helped frame the way you saw/see the world. Universal questions may include: What does affordable housing look like? What constitutes a basic need? Is healthcare a basic need?

This conversation will be led by the following speakers:

  • Eric Gottesman, artist and co-founder of the For Freedoms Collective
  • Lioneld Jordan, Mayor of Fayetteville
  • Simone Cottrell, local theater artist
  • Angela Oxford, director of Full Circle Campus Food Bank
  • Alphonso Grant, W.E.B. Du Bois scholar and Assistant Professor of Art Education at the School of Arts

 

 

 

PHOTOGRAPHS BY HANK WILLIS THOMAS + EMILY SHUR. COURTESY OF FOR FREEDOMS.

 

For Freedoms Community Conversation: Freedom from Fear
Thursday, March 12, 5:30 to 7:30 pm
Location:  Northwest Arkansas Community College, Main Theater | Register here

Freedom from Fear will be viewed through the frame of safety. What does safety mean to you? Speakers and audience members will be asked to recall a time when you first understood what safety meant, and to reflect on how that experience helped frame the way you saw/see the world.  Universal questions may include: When does censorship keep people safe versus infringing on other people’s freedoms? What about those who are afraid of the people that are supposed to keep them safe? Who deserves to feel safe and who decides what that looks like?

This conversation will be led by the following speakers:

  • Gabriela Arroyo, NWACC student and Latin X theater artist
  • Greg Hines, Mayor of Rogers
  • Hayes Minor, Rogers Chief of Police
  • Mother Sara Milford, All Saints’ Episcopal Church
  • Carlos Amargos, Rogers Public Schools ESOL office

 

 

 

 

PHOTOGRAPHS BY HANK WILLIS THOMAS + EMILY SHUR. COURTESY OF FOR FREEDOMS.

 

For Freedoms Community Conversation: Freedom of Worship
Thursday, March 19, 6 to 8 pm
Location:  The Jones Center, Main Lobby | Register here

Freedom of Worship will be viewed through the frame of universal love. What does love mean to you? Speakers and audience members will be asked to recall a time when you first understood what “love your neighbor” / “love others” meant, and to reflect on how that experience helped frame the way you saw/see the world. Universal questions may include: How does love affect your actions? Who deserves love? How does love transcend religious views?

This conversation will be led by the following speakers: 

  • Mama C, artist, poet and civil rights leader
  • Lucy Capelle, Marshallese church pastor
  • Jasper Logan, local youth mentor and hip hop artist
  • Imam Abdellah Essalki, Islamic Center of Northwest Arkansas
  • Doug Sprouse, Mayor of Springdale

 

 

 

Bonus Concert!
Rally to Vote Concert | Friday, February 28, 7 pm | FREE

 

Crystal Bridges presents a “Rally to Vote” free concert on Friday, Feb. 28 at 7 pm by Rev. Sekou and the Freedom Fighters. Raised in the rural Arkansas Delta. Rev. Sekou’s music is a unique combination of Arkansas Delta Blues, Memphis Soul 1970s funk, and Gospel. Voter Registration resources will be provided by the League of Women Voters, Benton County and Washington County chapters. Please save the date for the Arkansas Primaries held on March 3, 2020, and the federal elections held on November 3, 2020.

 

 

 

 

We hope you share your story with us and join us for one (or all) of our upcoming community conversations!

 

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