The Daily Tar Heel

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Wednesday February 1st

UNC summer reading program doesn’t stop with the book

And fortunately for visual learners —or for those who did not read the memoir — the discussion is far from over.

That’s the hope of the New Student and Carolina Parent Programs and the Ackland Art Museum.

Yesterday, the Ackland debuted an exhibition curated around the best-selling memoir by Bryan Stevenson.

The memoir explores themes of poverty, injustice, racism, discrimination and the ramifications of the legal system.

This year, the works of art in the annual exhibit were chosen by Carolyn Allmendinger, the director of academic programs at the Ackland Art Museum.

From the 17,000 works that the museum owns, Allmendinger chose approximately 30 pieces she thought best related to the themes of the book.

Some works include photographs, paintings and prints, presenting the memoir’s themes in a different medium.

The exhibition, which will run through Sept. 27, is coordinated as a part of the Carolina Summer Reading Program, which is planned by the New Student and Carolina Parent Programs.

In addition to the show at the Ackland, singer-songwriter and activist John Flynn will perform songs and interactive art on Sept. 14 at the Student Union.

The exhibition held its reception nearly three weeks after the initial small-group discussion led by UNC faculty and leadership across campus.

Alison Spannaus, associate director of the New Student and Carolina Parent Programs, said she believes the exhibition will help students better engage with “Just Mercy.”

“By presenting themes of the book through various mediums, it is our hope that students may consider a topic from a new perspective they hadn’t previously considered,” said Spannaus.

“Some of the connections to the book are direct and will be easy to understand,” Allmendinger said. “Others are more indirect and suggest rather than describe. I think that having a variety of media, style and subjects makes the experience a little richer.”

According to Allmendinger, many professors are incorporating the exhibit into their syllabuses for freshmen students. However, she said she expects other members of the community to engage with the exhibition as well.

Micah Stubbs, a sophomore journalism and communication studies major from Charlotte, enjoyed “Just Mercy” and was excited to see the exhibition.

“Seeing something visually can be really powerful and impactful,” Stubbs said.

“I want to see how the themes of race and the criminal justice system can manifest in an artistic way.”


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