More than 65 UMass Amherst staff members will showcase their creative work at the upcoming Building Bridges Showcase event on Tuesday April at the Bromery Center for the Arts. The variety of work includes 16th century clothing design, stained glass, pencil drawings, poetry, photography and more.
Now in its fifth year, the Showcase event has grown into an annual gathering where the staff and their creative talents take center stage. A group of worker artists meet weekly as part of a Building Bridges course and play a central role in planning the event. In the classroom, creative expression serves as a vehicle for dialogue and building new relationships and, in doing so, creates a cross-campus support network and an empathetic community. The inspiration for this class draws on work done by the Partnership for Workers’ Education in the 1990s through a program called “We Are More Than You See”. The program has brought workers together and supported the development of exhibits by worker artists, publications of workers’ writings, and a radio show hosted by UMass workers.
The Showcasing Worker Artists at UMass class extends that legacy and aims to specifically recognize essential workers — those who can clean restrooms, serve food in dining halls, maintain grounds, or perform clerical duties — and celebrate their artistic talents in a way that enriches the UMass community. In addition to a worker art exhibit, the Showcase event also includes projects created by immigrant workers, oral history projects about UMass frontline workers, food, demonstrations of art, live music workshops, poetry readings and performances.
This year’s participating staff members represent more than 40 different offices on campus. The campus community is encouraged to join in the event, Tuesday, April 5 from 12 to 7 p.m. and show their support for UMass staff members. For updates and details on today’s events, visit the website: https://www.umass.edu/worker-ed/BBShowcase2022 and follow the hashtag #UMassBuildingBridges
To register for a course or to learn more, contact Jacob Carter, director of the Building Bridges Project at the Partnership for Worker Education at [email protected] Building Bridges relies on the power of togetherness and creative expression to bring people together and bridge differences.
It is a collaborative effort between the Office of Equity and Inclusion, the Partnership for Worker Training, the Office of Human Resources and Civic Engagement, and Service Learning.