The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Thursday December 2nd

Canvas

Student artists tell the stories of Chapel Hill residents

A new art gallery by Painted Voices — a collective of Chapel Hill and Carrboro student artists — is telling the stories of the community in a whole new way.

Painted Voices will open their second annual final exhibit Friday night in collaboration with the group Sacrificial Poets and the Chapel Hill High Arts Academy with an evening of poetry, performance, painting and photography inspired by the stories of Chapel Hill residents.

The event is the culmination of Paint Voices’ 15-week residency at the Teen Center facilitated by Sacrificial Poets — a local spoken word poetry group — and it will be presented as a Downtown Art Project by the Town of Chapel Hill’s Public and Cultural Arts Office.

Will McInerney, a poet with Sacrificial Poets, said the goal of this event is to help youth engage with their community and learn from it.

“We encourage youth to be clear, respectful and diligent in their community outreach,” he said.

“We are not there to exploit powerful stories of community members — we seek to train youth to understand and learn from community members is a way that is respectful and properly contextualized within their own experiences.”

This will be Chapel Hill High student Mara Klem-O’Connor’s second year participating in the show, and she said the project has exceeded her expectations.

“This year, I’ve seen a huge spike in interest, dedication, and just raw talent,” she said. “The kids in our group are awesome — I think they have all really gotten to experience the process of engaging with different community groups in such a way that has taught them a lot and let them grow closer to the community as a whole.”

Hannah Hodge, a student at Chapel Hill High who worked on the project, said community interaction and outreach is an integral goal of the project.

Hodge also said students go out and interview community members to try and tell the stories that otherwise go untold.

“The untold stories of a community are no less important, and they sometimes need help being heard,” she said. “We are simply revealing truths about our community in a creative way that allows us to put artistic interpretation into the telling of stories.”

Each student had to put together an artistic project for the show, and Hodge’s project focused on untold stories of racism in the community through her writing.

“As a participant in the program, I have interview others, heard stories, brainstormed, created art and connected with community members,” she said.

“We shaped the program into exactly what it is, and that’s what we needed it to be.”

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