Director Tim Shiell said, “MCSII supports artistic endeavors illuminating civil liberty issues because art can express human ambitions and ideals in uniquely wonderful and powerful ways. UW-Stout has amazing art and design programs, and Professor Bland has done outstanding work throughout MCSII’s existence connecting art students to civil liberty issues. Too often civil liberty folks focus on student essay contests, the written word, so we want to support other avenues for students to connect to civil liberties.”
Standing up for art
Renee Carrell, Furlong Gallery assistant director and coordinator of Gallery 209, curated the exhibit and was part of the jury that selected artwork.
Alum Patrick Loftiness’ “Oh, Potus!,” a piece from the Furlong Gallery collection, depicts how former President Donald Trump was disliked by both Republicans and Democrats. To Carrell, it is a good example of freedom of expression. She believes Loftiness, who died in 2020, would be pleased his work was in a civil liberties exhibit.
“Art and comedy are usually the first casualties of freedom of speech,” Carrell said. “Art especially has been censored or destroyed throughout history when politics changed. Someone needs to stand up for our good friend, art.”
Rosario, of Ijamsville, Md., said the exhibit is interesting. “Overall, I think although it's not the largest exhibition, it does indeed do a good job of getting the conversation started. The pieces included are so thought-provoking, a great start to the conversation, I think the result will have a wonderful shot at being purposeful.”
In addition to Rosario’s work, other students who are part of the MCSII portion of the exhibit, and the name of their works are: Jordan Miinch, of Antigo, “America is Queer”; Ashton Musielewicz, of St. Paul, “I Know Myself”; Alice O’Brien, of Isanti, Minn., “Cycle”; Julia Phillips, of Glenville, Minn., “A Russian in America”; Katie Reeves, of Albertville, Minn., “I’ll Tread Right Back”; Ethan Scholz, of Brookfield, “Gagged,” John Leonard, "Saturn."
Other parts of Bland’s fellowship included a Free Speech Week student panel discussion on Confederate monuments and a student research fellow, Jake Mazourek, studying the Works Progress Administration murals by Cal Peters on campus.