University museums and galleries such as Pitzer are unique entities as they serve both external and internal constituencies and are not beholden to the market. This advantage is also a commitment—one that allows institutions like ours to maintain their ethical rigor in education and to promote social equality through exhibitions that are intellectually provocative, justly diligent, and visually compelling. These exhibitions function as teaching tools by encouraging interdisciplinary approaches to pedagogy and providing alternate lenses through which to examine diverse fields of study. Regardless of the disciplinary focus, this image- and object-based approach can expand students’ critical observational and interpretative skills and increase not only visual literacy, a skill employed in most aspects of our lives, but provide a wider cultural understanding and connectiveness to disparate subjects. Pitzer College Art Galleries is a critical conduit of educational, cultural, and social enlightenment for our students. Whether virtual or in person, the Galleries’ will continue to program artist and faculty lectures, cross-disciplinary symposia, in-house produced videos, as well as socially-conscious exhibitions that examine racial and gender equity.
For more than a decade Pitzer Galleries exhibitions have explored critical social justice and racial and gender equity issues. Building on this foundation, Pitzer Galleries will be foregrounding the College’s Racial Justice Initiative in everything that we do. In collaboration with Associate Dean Adrian Pantoja, the Pitzer Galleries are developing a committee titled The Ministry of Culture—inspired by Emory Douglas’ role as artist for the Black Panther Party—which will:
- Develop effective ways of addressing critical issues of racial inequity through art/culture on campus
- Amplify voices of artists and cultures who have been conventionally marginalized by the overtly White art world
- Work to create and promote standards and systems that actively support equity in creative practices
- Actively question how programming created under the banner of The Ministry of Culture can challenge inequality, privilege, and access
- Pitzer College Art Galleries will provide a virtual platform for discussion and programming for underrepresented and entirely non-represented members of the community
The students, faculty, and staff of The Ministry of Culture will facilitate productive and creative conversations about how art can be used as an effective tool for social change.