Statement on “Relevant / Scrap” Exhibition

In accordance with our values as an inclusive, student-centered campus community, we take seriously the concerns about an art exhibition by two Richmond-based artists installed earlier this week in Hunt Gallery. As a result of student concerns and discussions with the artists, the installation has been removed as of last night (November 7).

To allow students an opportunity to share their feelings in response to the exhibit and their hopes for inclusive community, a series of listening sessions organized by the Office of Inclusive Excellence will be held next week. Also, history professor Dr. Amy Tillerson-Brown will offer a presentation for the campus community, “Memory, Monuments, and Meaning,” in Francis Auditorium on Tuesday, November 13, 7-8 pm, followed by a question and answer session.

Here is the sequence of events related to the exhibit:

  • The artists were booked for the gallery space approximately three years ago, which is typical for the scheduling of Hunt Gallery. At that time, the body of work that became “Relevant / Scrap” had not been produced.
  • The exhibit opened Monday evening, November 5, and students were given an opportunity to express their views and respond to the exhibit through an interactive display.
  • The following afternoon Tuesday, November 6, at the weekly meeting of the Student Senate, students further shared their concerns about the exhibit with members of the faculty and administration, including Dean Martha Walker, Associate Provost Andrea Cornett-Scott, and art faculty member Professor Jim Sconyers.
  • Following the Student Senate meeting, the faculty engaged the artists on Tuesday, November 6, to express concerns raised by the students and members of the MBU community. As a result, it was determined late that afternoon that the exhibit would be removed at the earliest opportunity.
  • The exhibit was removed late in the evening of Wednesday, November 7, approximately 48 hours after it opened.

Moving forward, Mary Baldwin will review its policies and procedures for selecting and booking cultural exhibitions on campus, including facilitating student input.

Mary Baldwin’s commitment to being an inclusive, accepting community is a defining feature of our university:

We, the community of Mary Baldwin University, strive to celebrate humanity in all its wondrous and complex variation. Because we value diversity, it is our mission to sustain a community where all may flourish. We are safe to embrace our shared experiences and our differences. To this end, we treat all with respect and compassion.