Art Force 5 partners with Brockport for Dr. Angela Davis mosaic

Brockport, NY – Using the power of creativity, the Art Force 5 led another art project which relied on nearly three-hundred participants. The College at Brockport invited the AF5 to both educate and excite their students for the forthcoming February 21 talk by Dr. Angela Davis. The team has created similar mosaics for the University of Notre Dame, University of Oklahoma, and are currently preparing a five college tour of New York State in March.

A team of five Alfred University students spent the weekend of February 11 engaging Brockport students in art making, each paint a single 2″ square tile to add to an 361-piece portraic (portrait + mosaic). Aside two images of Dr. Davis scrolled her quote “We have to talk about liberating minds…as well as liberating society.” The Alfred team consisted of Elvira Rodriguez, Itan Chait, Ronnie Rosario, Arielle Kallier, and Anastasia (Mulan) Campbell. Additional design support was provided by Jillian Mullen and additional research by Serena Aladina, Bobbi Jo Hooker, and Shanice Ifill.

Upon Dr. Davis’ visit to Brockport, the renowned feminist and prison-reformer signed the artwork and posed for pictures with Brockport students. The work will remain at Brockport as the first artwork in a possible series to coincide with their annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. lecture series. As with other AF5 mosaics, an educational card can be taken off of the work to learn five interesting points about Dr. Davis.

The cards read:

Growing up in Alabama, Davis was involved with the Girl Scouts of America and the Southern Negro Youth Conference, which welcomed communist perspectives in addressing societal struggles.

Higher learning included Brandeis University, University of Frankfurt, UC-San Diego and Humboldt University in East Berlin. During her later college years, she joined the Che-Lumumba Club, an all-black chapter of the Communist Party USA.

In 1969, Dr. Davis taught at UCLA’s philosophy department and was fired by the Board of Regents, twice. The first time for her communist affiliations (which was overturned by California Superior Court) and then again for “inflammatory language.”

Her involvement with Soledad Prison inmate George Jackson and his younger brother Jonathan Jackson’s failed hostage-swap attempt, led Davis to be charged as a co-conspirator to murder, a fugitive on the FBI’s Most Wanted List, a 16-month prisoner held without bail, and the inspiration for countless “Free Angela” protests worldwide. On June 4, 1972, a jury returned a verdict of not guilty on all charges.

As an author and scholar, one of Davis’ most recognized works Women, Race, and Class (1981) explores feminism, racism, and radical prison reforms. In 1991, Davis left the Communist Party and helped start the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism. Davis also cofounded Critical Resistance, an organization dedicated to building a movement to abolish the “prison-industrial complex.”

Requests for future collaboration may be sent to d2d@alfred.edu or www.drawntodiversity.com. Drawn to Diversity is the academic training program for the Art Force 5 and was founded by Dan Napolitano, Alfred’s director of student activities.