Several American University School of Communication (AU SOC) students’ works are currently on display in a featured exhibit at the DC History Center. “DC Home Rule 50” is a collaborative project curated by Nolan Williams, Jr that seeks to explore self-governance, statehood, and citizenship around the 50th anniversary of the DC Home Rule Act. Officially legalized in 1973, the Home Rule Act gave DC the authority to elect its own mayor and city council and was a momentous move towards democratic equality for DC residents.
The exhibit approaches the anniversary by balancing the historic works of the Center with the work of emerging artists and long-time DC photographer Lateef Mangum. To find emerging artists Williams, Jr partnered with professor-artists Iwan Bagus and Leena Jayaswal resulting in photography students from American University, the University of the District of Columbia and Howard University having their works selected for the exhibit. AU’s School of Communication had six students’ works selected: Mar. J Cox, Meghan Dower, Rowan Gjersvold, Katy Grossman, Danielle Lawrence, and Kamryn Olds.
The students took intermediate Fine Art Photography last semester with Jayaswal and were able to leverage their skills to create pieces for DC Home Rule 50. Nolan Williams, Jr., CEO of NEWorks Productions and Creator/Curator of DC Home Rule 50 exhibit, said of working with students:
Alongside students’ works, the photography of Lateef Mangum is featured. Mangum spent over ten years photographing the lives and events of DC’s mayors. His photographs allow unique insight into the city’s governance and movements of the late nineties and early 2000s. Mangum’s work, and the historical archives from the Center, give viewers a visual timeline that traces DC’s fight for self-governance all the way to the current perspectives of the city’s Gen Z students. Friday, April 7, the exhibit opened to the public with AU students in attendance. The students had the opportunity to see their works on display, speak to viewers about their process, and even mingle with the Secretary of DC, Kimberly Bassett.
The B.A. Photography program is a partnership between AU’s School of Communication and College of Arts and Sciences. This multidisciplinary approach allows students to build their foundational knowledge in the history and practices of photography while gaining practical experience with the camera.
For more information about the exhibit, including details on how to plan a visit, go to NEWorks.us.