Students Explore Threats to Democracy, and the Future of America

Oct 19, 2022 | Academic, Student Life

On Saturday, Sept. 10th, 19 members of the Art Club traveled to the Weinberg/Newton Gallery in Chicago to experience and reflect upon a diverse range of democracy issues presented through the arts, videos, and sculpture.

The Weinberg/Newton Museum is a non-commercial gallery with a mission to collaborate with nonprofit organizations and artists to educate and engage the public on social justice issues. Through artwork and programming, the gallery provides a vital space for open discourse on critical contemporary issues facing our communities.

The All that Glows in the Dark of Democracy exhibit is part of the museum’s “Engagement Series on Democracy: We the People.” It is designed to push beyond the rhetoric and the elusive definition of democracy by closely examining fundamental rights including the rights of immigrants. The exhibit encourages museum goers to shift their lens. Instead of asking what they are against, students were encouraged to explore what they support in our nation’s democracy.

“We learned more about other people’s perspectives on democracy and had the chance to listen to and share our opinions,” said CRSM student Miley. “I enjoyed playing the game ‘Which one is better?’ and arguing to understand why the other group and our group felt the way we did about democracy issues.”

Students also were able to cast their votes in real-life-like voting booths for global changes they would like to see.

“I personally enjoyed doing this because our voices were able to be heard about issues we felt are important, including immigration and health care,” said Brenda G.

The exhibit is co-sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) with the goal to drive change and cultivate a culture of consciousness through artwork and programming.

The purpose of this field trip was to enable students to explore, through the arts, what it is like when fundamental rights – the right to vote, the rights of immigrants, etc. – are threatened.

“Like the nation’s founders, the high school students– the citizens of tomorrow –need to practice disagreeing, debating, and then moving forward together, whether their views won or lost”, said Brian Weinberg, director of the Corporate Work Study Program who accompanied the students along with John Geis, art teacher.