‘Through Your Looking Glass’ Student Social Justice Art Showcase Opens at Carriage Barn Arts Center


Through Your Looking Glass

The number of students contributing their work to an annual social justice art exhibition doubled in its second year, organizers say.

L-R: Susan Borst and Fatou Niang of S.T.A.R., Kristen Peterson Edwards of The Carriage Barn Arts Center and Christa Carr of The Glass House. At the opening reception for “Through the Looking Glass,” a student social justice art showcase. Credit: Michael Dinan

Launched by Stand Together Against Racism or “S.T.A.R.,” in partnership with The Glass House and Carriage Barn Arts Center, the exhibition— titled “Through Your Looking Glass” —saw student contributors increase from 21 in its inaugural year to 45 this year, according to S.T.A.R. Founder Fatou Niang.

“I’m amazed,” Niang told NewCanaanite.com amid the buzz of an opening reception held Saturday at the Carriage Barn, where crowds of people took in dozens of paintings, drawings, photographs, sculpture, mixed-media pieces and other art work contributed by students and professional artists brought in as a special part of this year’s show.

“I’m amazed because we all know art has a power of reflecting society,” Niang continued. “And the mirror that these kids have sent us through their art is just stunning. Because we only asked them to tell us what social justice means for them. But the subject that they have chosen, it’s beyond their maturity, beyond their age. The six-year-old who is submitting an art piece and talking about how we all have to be nice up to the point we die. It’s breathtaking. You have women’s rights represented. You have social justice represented. You have gender equality represented. You have recycling …. We have all kinds of subjects that we adopt, things that kids are not perceiving as being an issue. And when they reflect that in their artwork, it’s telling us how deep understanding of society they live in they have.”

Kristen Peterson Edwards, the director of special projects at the Carriage Barn, said it was “wonderful for us to be able to bring in the local mentor professional artists that are featured within the student art showcase.” 

She referred to Tara Blackwell, Lauren Clayton, 5ive Fingaz, Butch Quick and Jahmane West, whose work hangs on the walls along with the students’. 

The exhibition is open through Nov. 11. 

“We’ve really been expanding our outreach within New Canaan and Fairfield County communities and this is a perfect example of what we’re trying to do with the Carriage Barn,” Peterson Edwards said. (The Carriage Barn also hosted S.T.A.R.’s popular ‘Soul-Féte” party earlier this year.)

Christa Carr, communications director of The Glass House, said that this year, the exhibition opened up to children as young as elementary school and even up through college for the student portion.

“The idea is really to collaborate among all cultural institutions, to work with our students, to hear their voices and to provide a wonderful space for dialogue about what is important to students,” Carr told NewCanaanite.com

She noted that The Glass House also has offered all of the contributing local and student artists a chance to visit the world-famous New Canaan property, under the partnership with S.T.A.R.

Niang acknowledged the boost that the Carriage Barn and Glass House brought to this year’s exhibition.

“Thanks to our partnership with The Glass House and the Carriage Barn, we were able to expand our reach when it comes to communication,” she said. “So now this year we had kids participating not only from New Canaan, but Darien, Greenwich, Stamford, Bridgeport and Norwalk.”

NewCanaanite.com is local media partner of S.T.A.R. and media sponsor of “Through Your Looking Glass.”

3 thoughts on “‘Through Your Looking Glass’ Student Social Justice Art Showcase Opens at Carriage Barn Arts Center

  1. Thus looks wonderful, I can’t wait to see it. Thank you Carriage Barn, the Glass House, and most of all STAR for bringing this project to our community.

  2. I was so moved to tears by these young voices of social change, curiosity and truly profound understanding portrayed in each art piece I took in at S.T.A.R.’s Through My Eyes exhibit at The Carriage Barn Art Center. Once again, both of these incredible organizations made me feel so fortunate to raise my children in New Canaan, CT. It is events, like this, that remind me of how standing up for what you believe, & learning about the whole world around you makes this a safer and more peaceful place for everyone to reside. Look around!! Here’s to creating safe spaces and homes for every man, woman and child. Bless the artist in each and every one of you who reads this Monday morning note. “We are the music makers and dreamers of dreams!”

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