UMD graphic design students auction art to benefit NAACP

 At least half of the proceeds from the Freedom Fund Dinner were donated to the Duluth NAACP. Photo by Tyler Schendel.

At least half of the proceeds from the Freedom Fund Dinner were donated to the Duluth NAACP. Photo by Tyler Schendel.

UMD graphic design students created pieces to be sold at the first Freedom Fund Dinner in 20 years on Feb. 23 at Clyde Iron Works. Half of the money raised from the art show was donated to the Duluth NAACP, although some students opted to donate their entire proceeds.

UMD Assistant Professor Terresa Hardaway created the assignment, “The Movement Imprinted, Music of the Revolution,” in which she had her students create works of art based on a song about the African-American experience while emulating an African-American graphic designer.

Hardaway said that she created the assignment last year when she was inspired to do something based around the African-American experience for her students. She said that she wanted her students to understand other people's experiences are different from their own while interacting with members of the Duluth community.

“I think we miss that community connection between UMD and Duluth even though we’re in the center of it,” Hardaway said. “I think that a lot of the students don’t really get that interaction with community members, so I’m hoping that they get that.”

 Hardaway wanted to give her students the chance to connect with different people in the Duluth community. Photo by Tyler Schendel.

Hardaway wanted to give her students the chance to connect with different people in the Duluth community. Photo by Tyler Schendel.

With the increase of posters and other advertising for the Freedom Fund Dinner and the fundraising for the NAACP, some of the pieces were being bid on days before the event. Other changes included placing longer tables at the dinner to encourage students and community members to interact with people that they did not know.

Hardaway said that the community interaction often has a positive impact on students and members of the community that they may not have initially seen.

“A lot of the community members were really touched and I think the students don’t even realize the impact and the positive effect that they’re going to have until they actually see the community come to them with tears in their eyes,” Hardaway said.

The Freedom Fund Dinner featured artist Seitu Ken Jones as the keynote speaker, who served as the first artist-in-residence for the city of Minneapolis. Hardaway said that she thought the fundraising for the NAACP at the exhibit was a success in the past, and she was especially pleased that some students gave all of their proceeds to the NAACP.

“It’s pretty cool to see that they understand the community impact that they’re having and then some of them really kind of take it to the extra step and decide to give more,” Hardaway said.

 

Correction made on Feb. 28, 2018: Description of the Freedom Fund Dinner was incorrect and has been changed.

NewsTyler Schendel