Exploring diversity in art: Diversity Club hosts third annual IDEA Week

Students navigated how identity, power, and representation are used in art, film, and American pop music through time at Diversity Club’s third annual IDEA Week. School Social Worker Lauren Klein believes the week will allow many students to broaden their perspectives and obtain an awareness of diversity in art and the community.

“IDEA Week stands for Inclusion, Diversity, Education, and Allyship,” Klein said. “The main goal is to bring people together, especially people who might not be used to engaging in this kind of learning, to learn about topics relating to diversity, equity, and inclusion to continue building an inclusive culture in North’s community.”

The first day of IDEA Week began with a brief introduction and overview of art from paintings at the DIA. The director of education for the DIA, Jason Gillespie, ran the first day of the event. In the program, Gillespie analyzed the details of the art from a selection of paintings located in the DIA and pointed out how to empower yourself through contemporary art.

 “We try to develop some close-looking skills that help students slow down and really take in pieces,” Gillespie said. “[As well as] thinking about how contemporary art to art from the ancient Middle East can speak to you in a variety of ways.” 

Following an analysis of the fine points of the art, the second day of IDEA Week featured a Q&A session with filmmaker Tinisha Brugnone who discussed her experience in the industry. To start, Diversity Club members gave a presentation on prejudice and stereotypes in film to provide other students with additional information. In the Q&A following the presentation, Brugnone emphasizes the importance of having confidence so you can tell a story the way you want.

“One thing I wanted to inspire in students is to know the power of their own voice, and to be confident in telling their stories in the way that they want to tell them,” Brugnone said. “As a filmmaker, it is all about storytelling and the different ways of telling it with all different collaborators.”

Students and diverse artists alike used their own individual voices during the week. On the closing day of IDEA Week,  Director of Choral Activities Ben Henri presented a lecture, which was concluded by an open mic session. During the discussion, Henri addressed the artists of the 20th century and how race affected music and the artists’ popularity throughout history.  

“Music in and of itself is diverse,” Henri said. “You have musical traditions coming from so many different parts of the world that people probably have never heard of, [but they] bring a new sound palette to the listener that introduces new musical ideas or sounds that you might really be into.”

Diversity was highlighted in all of the presentations and speeches given by instructors, professionals, and students through modern art with music, paintings, and film. According to Diversity Club vice president Asher Balido, diversity and awareness were the club’s main priorities when planning this event. 

“I think it’s just important to realize how diversity has always existed in some form throughout time, especially in America, because none of this is a new thing,” Balido said. “We have always had minorities and majorities working behind the scenes in almost all of pop culture in general throughout our country’s history.”