LAKEWOOD, Colo., – In a collaborative effort across several departments at Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design (RMCAD), students were given the opportunity to express their beliefs on the importance of diversity through artistic expression. Students were given a variety of prompts to choose from based on quotes from prominent racial justice leaders and literary figures. The project was driven by our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee, welcoming students from all departments. Winners were voted on by their peers. In this first year of this project during Black History Month, we had some great submissions! Ann Covel from our Art Education department was voted as the first-place winner. We reached out to the online student about why diversity is important to her.
Why is diversity important to you?
Diversity is important to me because I believe anyone who faces any kind of challenge because of differences, is entitled to live in an inclusive society. The reality of its importance is close to home with my own family’s diversity in race, exceptional needs, and sexual orientation. Living in large cities, small towns, heterogeneous populations, homogenous populations, and low to middle income areas only reinforces my belief that there are still enormous disparities.
Why did you decide to participate in this quote project?
I love the simple truth of the quote, “The function of freedom is to free someone else” by Toni Morrison. This connects with who I am, and I instantly envisioned a correlating image. Once that occurred, I knew I wanted to share my visual representation so others could have another way to find meaning in the great words of Morrison.
Why is it important for artists to make diversity a priority?
Art has clearly had an influence upon societies historically. If the artists of today make diversity a precedence in their work, the positive changes will be greater than ever before. Our accelerations in communication allow for an artistic impact potential that is boundless.
What are your key takeaways from this project?
I was able to experience the difference of sharing a project that was solely my visual voice. This was a personally meaningful project, but its creation was voluntary. A different motivation was needed other than having a required project. Along the way, I became more connected to what I was seeing develop and the inspirational words.
What advice do you have for other artists after completing this?
Keep reaching for anything and everything that speaks to your creativity. Do not second guess when you feel that creative “spark.” That is exactly what I did with this piece. While I was creating the work, I had Morrison’s quote right there. It was my little beacon to keep me in the zone.
What do you enjoy most about being an Art Education major at RMCAD?
The broad range of the content and the instructors in the Art Education Program have been amazing! I had no artistic training and barely any personal artistic exploration prior to enrollment. I have especially enjoyed the abundance of practical experiences immensely.