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The Center for Art and Social Engagement opens with Susan Sterner ESTOY POR AQUÍ / I AM HERE in dialog with The Sister Chapel, commemorating its 40th year.
The Center for Art & Social Engagement, a new program of the Rowan University Art Gallery, serves as a venue for investigating social issues through arts-based methods and presents its first program with photojournalist Susan Sterner’s exhibition, Estoy por aquí / I am here. This exhibition is presented in dialogue with The Sister Chapel, as an historic collaborative feminist installation that anchors programming for The Center for Art & Social Engagement.
The exhibit is on display in Westby Hall on the Glassboro campus. A lecture welcomes the exhibit on March 14 starting at 5:00 p.m. in Westby Hall Room 111, and will commemorate the 40th year of the Sister Chapel. A reception will follow at The Center for Art & Social Engagement, Westby Hall Room 110.
With Estoy por aquí / I am here, is an ongoing project that explores the challenges and contexts of women working in the informal economy of central El Salvador and the political and social upheaval that feeds a multigenerational cycle of emigration and fractured families.
The objective of Sterner’s work is to expand the narrative around working class women of El Salvador, their roles in sustaining communities, and their connections to emigration to the United States. In addition to earning income in public markets and the informal economy, these women are identified by their use of elaborate aprons. The aprons feature layers of ruffled or embroidered lace often in eye-catching colors and textural combinations that accentuate the curves of their bodies. They also signal to potential clients that the women are capable and at work.
Sterner is an educator and documentary photographer, who has worked as both a freelance and staff photojournalist with national and international publications. She has covered domestic issues such as immigration, child labor, and families in poverty as well as U.S. border issues and social change in Haiti, in addition to a fellowship with the Institute of Current World Affairs to photograph and write about women’s lives and access to resources in Brazil. She has worked as a White House photographer and, since 2006, has coordinated the undergraduate program in photojournalism as well as developing and launching a graduate program in New Media Photojournalism at the Corcoran School of the Arts & Design at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
Programming at the Center will encourage interdisciplinary themes that explore diverse and timely social issues through multidisciplinary practices, broadly conceived to include a variety of mediums such as photojournalism, film and video, historical ephemera, faculty and student research presentations, info-graphic presentations, STEM/STEAM installations, and public programming.
The Center is located in Westby Hall room 110 on the university’s main campus, 237 Mullica Hill Road in Glassboro, N.J. Admission to the Center, lecture, and reception is free and open to the public. The Center’s hours are Monday – Thursday, 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Directions can be found on the gallery website. For more information, call 856-256-4520 or visit www.rowan.edu/artgallery.
Support for programming at Rowan University Art Galleries is made possible by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.