October 4, 2023
There’s something roguish about being in a museum after hours. And, even though none of the Mesoamerican jade came to life, the art from the Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Exhibit has a magic of its own.
Last night, the evening of Sept. 26, the doors of the Museum of Peoples and Cultures swung open at 6:30 p.m. when they are usually barred by the 5 p.m. closing time.
The prompt for this year’s competition was, “What is your vision of a zion-like community?” Nathalie Brawer, who won second place overall, said zion is a place, “where people feel like they belong, where they feel listened to, heard, and safe.” Judges agreed that her song, We All Belong captures a sliver of Zion. Inspired by friends from all different walks of life, and one special lost loved one, Nathalie put together an inspiring song that you can hear by scanning a QR code in the museum.
The various other works across the exhibit’s walls come in all different mediums: oil paint, pencil drawing, writing and even embroidery. The Museum of Peoples and Cultures displayed art from the past two years of this competition in addition to this year’s 2023 winners. This is an incredible opportunity, since this is the first year there’s been a public exhibit at all.
Through the art room and past the cookie table there is a reflection wall staring at the attendee like a mirror. The exhibit offers attendees the opportunity to engage with the art through use of sticky notes. “I love seeing other perspectives and insights into humanity,” an anonymous sticky note read. The feelings and thoughts on the wall were touching much like the art itself was touching. “More than anything, I feel hope,” reads another sticky note. The reflection wall really exhibits how the Museum of Peoples and Cultures is a place of listening, and listening the only way learning can take place.
Much like the small thoughts contained on the sticky note’s highlights, we can only learn about other peoples’ lives in little snippets- an idea reflected in the asymmetrical cuttings that make up 3rd place winner Brittyn Brianna Gerber’s collage art piece.
“I pieced together different cultures and what I saw as beauty.” Brittyn said. Her cutouts all come together to form one face with two beautiful eyes staring right at you. It’s something you have to see for yourself.
So if you get a chance in the future, make the time to see the top three art pieces: Bleeding Colors by Sienna Stevens, We All Belong by Natalie Brewer, and Remarkable Related Royalty by Brittyn Brianna Gerber next year; And keep an eye on the Museum of Peoples and Cultures so you don’t miss next year’s exhibit.