Letter from the Director: June - September 2018

The arts are a powerful community connector and a tool for amplification and representation. Both an inclusive visual language and a manifestation of our human experience, contemporary art acts as the compass during turbulent times, provides clarity in moments of celebration, and has the capacity to become the catalyst for meaningful change.

  JANNATUL MAWA , FROM “CLOSE DISTANCE,” 2011. COURTESY BRONX MUSEUM OF THE ARTS, NEW YORK. 

JANNATUL MAWA, FROM “CLOSE DISTANCE,” 2011. COURTESY BRONX MUSEUM OF THE ARTS, NEW YORK. 

We believe that the arts lay the groundwork for the future by acknowledging and responding to the time in which we live, and know that by engaging our broader community, we can ensure that equity, shared understanding, inclusivity, and social progress will be inherent parts of our tomorrow.

UICA’s focus on community cohesion, collaboration, and access extends beyond the galleries this season and challenges the conventions of the traditional gallery experience.

This June, we’ll present Transitions: New Photography from Bangladesh, a dynamic exhibition featuring photography by nine Bangladeshi artists whose works navigate stories related to people, changing landscapes, a shifting economy, and Bangladesh’ position in the world. We’ll focus inward and ask how our West Michigan neighbors connect to both the narratives within these works and to our global community.

Later, audiences can investigate works by Michigan artists as part of our popular Coming Home exhibition series. In this showcase, we’ll learn about how artists connect to and define their heritage, their environment, and the place they call home.

 Ellen Rutt mural commissioned by UICA. Justine Montigny, @justinemontigny, justinemontigny.com, instagram.com/justinemontigny

Ellen Rutt mural commissioned by UICA. Justine Montigny, @justinemontigny, justinemontigny.com, instagram.com/justinemontigny

As the season moves on, we’ll partner with community members and neighborhood stakeholders and go beyond the galleries during ArtPrize Ten. Our innovative exhibition, UICA Outside, is an expansion of our current program,  the Exit Space Project, which connects working artists with public spaces to transform our urban environment. UICA Outside will deepen our commitment to community by elevating the voices of our neighbors through permanent, large-scale public artworks within three distinct neighborhoods that are accessible to all and that bolster and celebrate the diversity within our vibrant city.

 ©2016 Two Eagles Marcus / Women’s LifeStyle

©2016 Two Eagles Marcus / Women’s LifeStyle

As always, UICA will host a range of arts-focused events including free family days and First Friday Studio Nights that offer hands-on art-making activities and guided creative exploration for guests of all ages. UICA’s Movie Theater will present the best in cutting-edge independent cinema and will continue to highlight stories that inspire, challenge, and change us.

We hope you’ll join us  as we continue to expand our impact within our community and we thank you for your continued support. We look forward to welcoming you soon.

- Miranda Krajniak, UICA Executive Director