“Art is a way to speak our minds!!!” one hand-drawn sign reads. “IB Art Matters!” reads another. These signs hang on the art display boards where art, done by Palmer High School’s IB Art students, once hung. In response to recent censorship by the High School, students have made their voice heard in defense of their work and in support of free speech.
Each year, the school displays the IB (International Baccalaureate) student works in a show in the school’s upper commons. At first, this year’s show was no different: the students hung their art and met with fellow students, artists, art professionals and gallery owners to discuss their work and research.
Then, last week, a parent passing through the school at an after-school event didn’t like what they saw and complained to the school, district and state legislators. Some of the works featured nudes, others referred to issues of violence, homosexuality and transgender identity.
The school principal ordered the art work be covered with red paper the very next day and gave students an ultimatum: move the art to the library, a far less public place space where viewers would “make a conscious choice” to view the art — or remove the work until the opening. Students unhappily opted to remove the work but hung signs in protest.
“The protest was to bring awareness that we aren’t going to go down without a fight and we deserve to have our voices heard,” junior Lindsey Barbee told the Alaska dispatch.
The offending art was put on display temporarily for the public open house last Friday.
As always, its great to see students standing up for their rights when adults expect them to fall in line. Kudos, Palmer students for standing up for your work and refusing to be silenced!