The Rose Art Museum recently announced that it is dedicating its Mildrid S. Lee Gallery as a place to foster conversation about social issues. 

The initiative was inspired by #FordHall2015, a twelve-day occupation of the Bernstein-Marcus Administration Building by students who were calling for expansion of racial diversity and inclusion on campus. 

“The space was conceived as a place of reflection and dialogue, in which works … might serve as catalysts for conversation about issues relating to cultural bias, race, and the intersection of art and activism,” said Chris Bedford, Henry and Lois Foster director and Assistant Curator Caitlin Rubin in an email to the Justice. 

“The museum seeks to create a sustainable space and program that our community can rely on, in times of both peace and conflict.”

The space will display pieces from the museum’s permanent collection, in keeping with the tradition of the Lee Gallery. 

The museum’s newsletter states that the space will also be used for “teach-ins, workshops, and close looking sessions related to racial injustice and inequality.” 

Currently on view are works by Al Loving, Melvin Edwards and Ellen Gallagher. 

Bedford and Rubin say,  “We hope that this selection elicits some important questions, such as: what is the relationship between abstraction and the body? Is there a black abstraction?” The works on view are accompanied only by quotes from their artists. 

The Rose was one of the many bodies on campus that issued a formal statement in support of the #FordHall2015 sit-in.