Hicks Art Center Gallery presents ‘And this is how you are a citizen…’

Works by three artists explore gendered citizenship and society Jan. 23-March 12

The Times

Michelle Angela Ortiz’s “Playing in the River” (acrylic on wood panel, 16” x 20”) is featured in “And this is how you are a citizen…” from Jan. 23 to March 12 at Bucks County Community College’s Hicks Art Center Gallery in Newtown

Bucks County Community College’s Hicks Art Center Gallery invites the public to “And this is how you are a citizen…” Jan. 23-March 12, as well as related theater, poetry and musical events with the intention of generating dialogue and understanding.

“And this is how you are a citizen…” brings together three artists — Catherine Pancake, Michelle Angela Ortiz and Imani Roach — whose work reflects on gendered citizenship, family, identity and belonging.

The exhibition’s title is a line from Citizen, An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine. Guest curator Maria Dumlao said in the book-length poem, Rankine explores the realities of what it means to be a black citizen amid the everyday acts of racism in our contemporary “post-race” society. The artists borrow from Rankine’s lyricism their ability — both as an individual and as part of a collective group of citizens — to speak, perform, and stay alive in the midst of adversity.

“Each of the artists poeticize one’s relationship to place and one’s connection to history with its inherited trauma,” said Dumlao, an associate professor in the college’s arts department. “Then — taking into account a broader notion of citizenship as a second-class citizen, a gendered citizen, a non-identified citizen, or a laborer citizen — each artists’ work considers personal history and citizenship as a multi-tiered construct, one that applies to membership, position and relationship between the individual, community, state and society.”

“And this is how you are a citizen…” will host an artist panel from 3 to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 6, in Grupp Hall room 257 on the Newtown Campus. That will be followed by a gallery reception from 5 to 7 p.m., including a curator’s talk at 6 p.m. Admission to the gallery, reception and artist panel is free.

In conjunction with the exhibition, the college presents “The Vagina Monologues” at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 22, in the Zlock Performing Arts Center on the Newtown Campus. The event commemorates the 20th anniversary of both Eve Ensler’s award-winning play and the founding of V-Day, the global activist movement to end violence against women and girls (cisgender, transgender, and those who hold fluid identities).

After the performance, a discussion will take place with the cast and a representative of A Woman’s Place, the Bucks County shelter for abused women. General admission tickets are $10 and $5 for students age 18 and older. Tickets are available at tickets.bucks.edu/ or at the door. Proceeds benefit A Woman’s Place.

In addition, three poets who have been published by the independent press Bloof Books will read from their works at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 6, in the Presser Room of the Music and Multimedia Center on the Newtown Campus. Jennifer L. Knox, Nikki Wallschaleger, and Shanna Compton will share their poetry, followed by a book signing and discussion of the intersections of feminism, literary arts, and small-press publishing. Admission is free.

Finally, the college presents “Creatrix — A Celebration of Women Composers” at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 11, in the Presser Room. The free concert features the Bucks County Community College Concert Choir and Percussion Ensemble performing music that honors the value of a single citizen, male or female, in modern society.

Bucks County Community College is located at 275 Swamp Road, Newtown, where there is ample free parking. For more information about “And this is how you are a citizen…,” including a list of gallery hours, visit bucks.edu/gallery or call 215–968–8425.