The Arts @ Large Freedom EXPRESSions initiative is a program that uses the arts to explore the history of the Civil Rights Movement in America while challenging students to discover what it means to be a leader in their community.
This program gives MPS youth the opportunity to be active researchers in the often over-looked history of Milwaukee's African American Civil Rights Movement.
CLICK HERE to download the Freedom EXPRESSions Information Sheet for an in-depth look at the project!
The Arts @ Large Civil Rights Program is a program that uses the arts to explore the history of the Civil Rights Movement in America while challenging students to discover what it means to be a leader in their community.
This program was born when a member of Arts @ Large staff joined Cardinal Stritch and Carroll University students on a bus for a 10-day Civil Rights Pilgrimage down South to visit locations and people that played pivotal roles during the Civil Rights Movement in the 50s and 60s. Participants returned to Milwaukee, and with the help of local artists and activists, began to discover the important and resounding Civil Rights Movement that took place in their own city.
The Civil Rights Program consists of multiple visits from a variety of artists, activists and University students participating in the Arts @ Large Mentorship Program as well as supplemental materials and curriculum that help classrooms teachers integrate the arts into this vital history of America.
The program is usually partnered with some form of artist residency in which students take the idea of being a community leader, and through the arts, discover how members of their community have achieved social justice. These projects can take many shapes, from photo galleries to poetry workshops.
The first Civil Rights Program visit consists of a discussion session with students in which they observe a short video from the Civil Rights Pilgrimage and visit with University students that participated in the trip to facilitate a talkback about the experience and its impact on their life.
The second session includes a visit from active participants of the Civil Rights Movement in Milwaukee, which has included Margaret Rozga, activist, poet and widow of one of Milwaukee’s most celebrated Civil Rights activists Father James Groppi, and Shirley Butler-Derge, activist, author and former lead-member of Milwaukee’s NAACP Youth Council.
The third session is typically in the form of a gallery, performance, or celebration in which the students display the work they have created with the artist-in-residence or classroom teacher in connection to the program.
By connecting creativity to social history, this program allows young people the opportunity to be active participants in their own social movements.
For more information about involving your school in the Civil Rights Program, please email email@example.com.