Honoring Dr. King, artistically


Alfred, NY – A small team of Alfred University students, known as the Art Force 5, are spreading a message of equality and non-violence through several unique community-based art projects. These “creativity superheroes” began their tour by building a thousand-plus piece mosaic with University of Notre Dame students before returning to New York to engage youth both in Rochester and their hometown of Alfred.

The invitation to partner with Notre Dame required creating an educational mosaic honoring both Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the recently deceased Father Theodore Hesburgh. Father Ted had served as Notre Dame’s president for 35 years and made significant civil rights contributions as a member of the US Civil Rights Commission from 1957 to 1972. The actual mosaic, created by more than eight-hundred students and staff, depicts Fr. Ted and Dr. King at the Illinois Rally for Civil Rights on June 21, 1964 at Soldier Field in Chicago. A time lapse video of the mosaic’s creation will be posted shortly at www.drawntodiversity.com.

The Art Force 5 will spend the actual national holiday at the Strong National Museum of Play building a smaller mosaic with youth. This mosaic will depict King as a child and will share early facts about the future civil rights leader. The program runs from 11am-4pm Monday, January 18 and be included as part of the museum’s admission fee.

The Art Force 5 will return home to Alfred, NY in time to host their annual Dream Gallery, which showcases aspirational art work of local 3rd and 4th grade children. The highlight of this educational event is a tasty station to build one’s own “dream candy bar” with ingredients such as gummy bears, chocolate chips, marshmallows, or all of the aforementioned.  The event will be held at Alfred University’s Powell Campus Center from 6pm-7pm on Wednesday, January 20. Admission is free.

The Art Force Five is part of Alfred University’s Drawn to Diversity program, which was founded in 2006 by director of student activities Dan Napolitano. The program, which fuses art therapy approaches with social justice activism, has presented workshops at over one-hundred schools and been recognized with various national awards. The program was just announced as one of eighty-nine entries in the Democrat & Chronicle Newspaper’s Unite Rochester Challenge which awards seed funding for projects which address issues of equality within Rochester, NY. Art Force fans are encouraged to vote daily for the program at www.democratandchronicle.com . Inquiries about the Art Force Five may be sent to d2d@alfred.edu and additional information may be found at www.drawntodiversity.com.