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Anderson Gallery poster exhibit advocates for women’s rights


Starting on Sept. 10 and ending on Oct. 18, the Harmon Fine Arts Center will hold a poster exhibit in the Anderson Gallery. 

“The theme of the show is women’s rights are human rights, and it is shown through inequality. There is a lot of discrimination definitely and a lot of the images do show violence,” said Julia Franklin, the Anderson Gallery Exhibition and Outreach Manager. “The reason the committee chose the show is they felt it was a relevant topic and that it is timely. Every day in the newspaper you see within the United States rights being taken away from women, especially in regards to medical care and medical choices.” 

Posters for the show were purchased from Elizabeth Resnick of the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston. Resnick is the Professor Emerita, Graphic Design, at the college.

At Drake University, there is a committee who makes selections on what is shown in the gallery and elsewhere.

“The posters were created by both men and women artists and designers to celebrate and acknowledge the vital role that all citizens should play in protecting and promoting human rights while actively challenging gender inequality and stereotypes, advancing sexual and reproductive rights, and protecting women and girls against brutality,” said Neil Ward, Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at Drake University.

The exhibit did not feature any artwork done by students at Drake University. Though poster creation does happen during the graphic design courses over at Carnegie Hall, the posters for this exhibit came from artists from all over the world. According to Franklin, the international show gave kind of a broad, global idea of what’s to women around the world.

“We have a lot of student exhibitions in the spring. But this show was not put together by us,” Franklin said. “It’s something that we purchased from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, so it’s kind of a touring exhibition to get conversation started.” 

According to Franklin, the Anderson Gallery is meant to be an academic gallery, so students should think of it as another classroom. The whole mission and format of the gallery is intended to be educational, which is why the gallery has hosted classes and programs within the space.

“Yesterday [Sept. 12] we hosted the Women’s and Gender Studies program, which was here for their happy hour. They had 65 people from students, faculty, and people within the Des Moines community who came in support of that event,” Franklin said. “And then we host classes. So we had an art history class come yesterday coming into the gallery, looking at the posters, and then we have classes or lectures in here at least two or three times a week over the next month while the show is up.” 

According to Ward, the Anderson Gallery has shows each semester. The previous poster themed show was Ideas at War: American Propaganda Posters from WWII curated by Associate Professor John Fender back in 2015. Many student exhibitions happen in the spring in addition to the annual student show and the BFA exhibitions. The next poster show is themed Iowa Activist Art and will be from Oct. 21 to Nov. 7. 

“We’re inviting statewide regional or nationally known artists to exhibit works here so that students can see topics and the ways work is presented,” Ward said. “We are really thinking about themes and making work that is meaningful and relevant.”

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