One of Marquette’s guiding values is to “nurture an inclusive, diverse community that fosters new opportunities, partnerships, collaboration and vigorous yet respectful debate,” according to the university’s website. This Saturday, the Haggerty Museum of Art strives to do just that, with the debut of Community Day: Art and Verse for All this Saturday from noon to 4 p.m.
Community Day aims to connect the Marquette and Milwaukee communities through many different forms of art and literature, all centered around the Haggerty’s newest art exhibits: “Ben Shahn: For the Sake of a Single Verse” and “The Ariel Poems.”
“Ben Shahn: For the Sake of a Single Verse” is composed of a series of illustrations based on a single passage that Shahn read from a 1910 novel by Rainer Maria Rilke, “The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge.” According to the Haggerty’s website, Rilke’s novel made a long-lasting impression on Shahn, who read it in the 1920s. The illustrations were created in 1968, a year before his death. “Ben Shahn: For the Sake of a Single Verse” breaks down phrases from the passage and depicts them in a visual form.
“The Ariel Poems” is a collection of various poems and drawings stemming from a collaboration between a large selection of poets and artists, among them poet and playwright T.S. Eliot.
The day will feature many different interactive activities for all ages. There will be a station for typewriter poetry with a local artist where people can learn about the history of the art form and create their own poetry, a station for creating and learning the techniques of blackout poetry (a form of poetry in which words are blacked out from a page of literature and the remaining words create a poem of its own) and a station for letterpress printmaking with Bay View Printing Co.
Additionally, there will be a registration station for the Milwaukee Public Library. All students in the Milwaukee Public School system have their own MPL account, and the station will help the students access their accounts or register if they do not have one.
In addition to the exhibitions, there is a performative art element to the day. Destinny “Deolinda Abstrac” Fletcher is a local spoken word artist who will be choosing specific pieces of art from the “Ben Shahn: For the Sake of a Single Verse” exhibit to perform. The event will also feature a Drag Queen Story Hour, where local drag queens will read stories about Shahn, Eliot and artist Keith Haring.
The Haggerty used to hold Family Days once a semester, but this is the first time the event is being held after being rebranded to Community Day. Family Days was also based around an exhibit on display at the Haggerty at the time, but the activities were targeted toward a different audience.
Christine Fleming, manager of community engagement for the Haggerty, said she is excited for her first ever Community Day.
“We kind of rebranded it as ‘Community Day’ to try to also tap into the student body and make everyone (feel) like the Haggerty and Marquette and the community area are open and available,” she said.
Susan Longhenry, director and chief curator at the Haggerty, said the community is important in the mission of the Haggerty.
“We really see ourselves as the nexus of the campus and Milwaukee communities,” Longhenry said. “I mean, we’re kind of just physically here on the boundary of campus but also in terms of the programming that we do here. We’re inspired by what’s happening at Marquette in terms of the intellectual resources, but we really want to engage the community in that so it’s really about bringing those two communities together.”
The Community Day is co-sponsored by a plethora of Marquette organizations, including Marquette University Student Government, Art Club, the Department of English, Gender Sexuality Alliance and the LGBTQ+ Resource Center.
MUSG President Sara Manjee, a senior in the College of Business Administration, says she is excited for the event and the opportunities it brings to Marquette students.
“MUSG likes to co-sponsor campus events that the Haggerty Art Museum hosts to show support and drive student engagement with these types of programs,” Manjee said. “The Haggerty Community Day is an awesome opportunity for many campus and community partners to come together and celebrate different styles of art with members of the Milwaukee and Marquette community. ”
Fleming said she hopes visitors leave the event inspired by the fluidity and cooperation that can happen between the campus and the community.
“Art can move you in a way that nothing else can,” Longhenry said.
Community Day: Art and Verse for All is free to the public and registration can be found on Eventbrite. Full details for the event can be found on the Haggerty’s Community Day website page.