Sunday, October 11th, 2020
Four artists with PCA&D ties tapped to create Lancaster Votes campaign
A get-out-the-vote effort that’s soon blanketing our region turns out to have some pretty close ties to PCA&D.
All four artists commissioned to create unique works for Lancaster Votes are either alumni, instructors, or tied in some other way to the College:
- Salina Almanzar, an instructor with PCA&D’s Center for Creative Exploration, also is a member of the adjunct faculty at Drexel University in Philadelphia and a photo tech for Franklin & Marshall College. You can see more of her work here.
- Keisha Finnie, a Lancaster-based artist, this summer spearheaded several projects in the College’s Art Garden. She incorporated the College’s “&” sculpture into a collaborative art piece reflecting the Black Lives Matter movement. You can see more of her work here.
- Dyneisha Gross ’20, Graphic Design, is currently the lead graphic designer for Attollo in Lancaster. Named a Student to Watch by Graphic Design USA as a senior, she also led PCA&D’s Student Council during the 2019-2020 academic year. You can find more of her work here.
- Osmyn Oree ’11, Photography, is an Admissions Department counselor for PCA&D and a professional photographer. You can find a portfolio of his work here.
The public artwork is the result of a drive organized by the nonpartisan organization Lancaster Votes. Its mission, according to Stacie Blake, CEO of YWCA Lancaster, is “to promote voter registration in a non-partisan effort.” Nearly 30 local organizations, from the Lancaster Chamber, Lancaster Public Library, and United Way of Lancaster County, to the YWCA of Lancaster, CASA, and NAACP Lancaster Branch, are involved in Lancaster Votes. It’s funded by individual donations, the Lancaster County Community Foundation, and the non-partisan League of Women Voters of Lancaster County.
“I initially commissioned Salina and Keisha for this project, given their artistic skill, and especially because they are Black and Brown women,” says Fran Rodriguez, Senior Program Officer with the Lancaster County Community Foundation. After speaking more with Almanzar, she says, “we both agreed the project would be amplified by adding graphic design and photography.”
Posters of the four artists’ work, Blake says, will be displayed at local businesses, as door hangers in communities, and on yard signs leading up to the Nov. 3 election.
Here’s the art you’ll soon see, plus a statement from each artist about what inspired them:
“La Lucha Sigue” (“The Fight Continues”) is a digital drawing that represents the persistent fight for just and equal voting rights for all peoples. The flowers surrounding the hand are symbolic: the Bird of Paradise, Sunflower, and Blue Tulips represent freedom, suffrage, and hope. When I was invited to submit a piece for the LancVotes campaign by the YWCA, I knew I wanted to honor the uprisings and movements that took place in order for me and my family to have the right to vote.
Often we cite women’s suffrage as a singular point in time that represents justice in the electoral process; however, we know that many marginalized and oppressed people had to wait years and sometimes decades to reach parity. And today there are still many folks whose voices are muffled or silenced by unjust electoral policies. I think it is important to be transparent and honest about how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go.
As a young black man in America today, I find it incredibly important that we as individuals take the chance to get out there and VOTE. Over the past few months, the continued rise and public display of police brutality has sparked nationwide uprisings. These uprisings are informed by a long history of injustice towards Black Americans and this injustice is being upheld in our court system. I see a discrepancy in how Black and Brown people are treated when it comes to the police and it isn’t always a fatal interaction. We are unjustly and disproportionately targeted by law enforcement and I feel like we as voters have the power to change that. With this piece, I was motivated to illustrate why it is important to vote while also telling the underlying story of America. The word vote is placed over the two guns on the American flag and the image reads as “WE THE PEOPLE VOTE”. I felt that the print on the fabric, a pro-gun handkerchief, symbolizes the ways that our Constitution is manipulated to be used in favor of some groups of people while also being used as an oppressive tool over others. I think this coming election will be one of the most important elections in our history, and we have to do our part to make sure we get someone in office who will be responsible and hold people accountable for their actions.