Q: Any notable reactions?
Buttacavoli: Nothing controversial. Two things – I think we did a good job building support before the exhibition. We did an open house with the students, parents and faculty at the STEM school to explain why we thought this was important as part of a bigger issue, and we reached out to the organizations that work in social justice locally, such as the NAACP and the National Conference of Community and Justice. Interestingly, the most surprsing reactions were from the parents – they were equally excited about seeing their childrens' artwork in a contemporary gallery and it being the thing the other artists responded to — but in the larger arena, it also made them slightly anxious.
Q: Is that why you decided to not mention the specific names of the student artists anywhere in the exhibition or the gallery materials?
Buttacavoli: Along with the faculty and administration of the STEM school, we decided to identify the students by initials only – our foremost concern was not to exploit their experience, but point out that they were censored, after all.
Q: What would you like visitors to take away from the show?
Buttacavoli: I think that the arts can be an imiportant catalyst to conversation about hwat is happening in our world, whether it is pleasant or celebratory. Artists have a way of expressing the complexity of a situation in ways sometimes words fail.