Sharing Stories of Inspiration: Kent State’s “We the People” Exhibit

Artists, Educators and Volunteers Collaborate to Create the Outdoor Art Exhibit

A group of artists, educators and volunteers worked together to produce “We the People,” an outdoor art exhibit at Kent State University that pays tribute to refugees from around the world who have made Northeast Ohio their home.
 
The exhibit spanned the Lefton Esplanade throughout the spring showcasing large photographs of individuals who fled their home countries and now live in Northeast Ohio.
 
Françoise Massardier-Kenney, Ph.D., professor of French translation in the College of Arts and Sciences' Department of Modern and Classical Language Studies and co-director of the Global Understanding Research Initiative (GURI) of Kent State, organized the project in collaboration with photographer Erin LaBelle of Ohio University. Several Akron-based refugee programs and some Kent State students also aided in the effort.
 
The refugees featured in the photo display fled to the United States to avoid war, oppression or the threat of grave danger in their home countries. 
 
“The stories are heart-wrenching,” wrote David Dix, in an editorial appearing in the Record-Courier. “‘We the People’ effectively illustrates that the refugee problem is not a political issue confined to America’s southern border, but a worldwide issue that requires the attention and good will of every person around the globe.”
 
Because of the its high impact, “We the People” will be on display again at the same location in September.
 
Read the Record-Courier editorial on "We the People"