Tuesday, May 24, 2016

FWS Student Highlights: Olivia Vita

For my OSCAR work-study I worked with the School of Art on the “Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here” (AMSSH) project. The project is an international art show created in response to the bombing of a famous bookselling district in Bagdad, Iraq. Artists from all over the world have created books of their art celebrating the diverse cultures from which they came as well as the freedom to read and express. Helen Frederick and Nikki Brugnoli headed up Mason’s participation in this global event. On a weekly basis I worked with one of the art galleries Mason partnered with called McLean Project for the Arts. The artist books created for this project travel to different galleries around the world so throughout late February til the end of March, the DC metro area got a taste.

My work specifically involved helping McLean Project for the Arts bring bookmaking workshops into local schools in senior center. The idea was to encourage expression and celebrate diversity through storytelling. This looked like trying out different paper-folding and bookmaking techniques as well as brainstorming what would work for each group ranging in age and ability levels. I also helped with in-gallery tours elementary schools took at MPA and made a short film showing the work and faces of all the different communities we spent time with.

I am currently a Social Justice major through New Century College in GMU and am interested in exploring the personal aspects of local and global issues, ie. how each person makes up the big picture and what lasting positive change looks like. From an academic standpoint, this project was perfect for that in that it took a traumatic event from overseas, explored it personally, and made it into a celebration of culture creating hope for the future. This project also subtly tackled the Western issue of associating Middle Easterners and Muslims with terrorism and made the focus sharing of culture and art. From a more personal standpoint, it was amazing in that it’s really beautiful to see people proud of something they make, plus I met great people and learned a lot.