Weitzman faculty members David Hartt and Sharon Hayes are among a group of Philadelphia-based artists participating in Art for Philadelphia, a fundraising initiative to support those protesting against police brutality. The initiative brings together limited-edition prints by seven artists, with proceeds supporting the Philadelphia Community Bail Fund.
Meg Onli, the Andrea B. Laporte Associate Curator at Penn’s Institute of Contemporary Art, is one of Art for Philadelphia’s organizers. “I have immense respect for the abolitionist work that has been happening for decades within this city and wanted to use my skillset, curating, as a means of support,” says Onli. “We can’t lose sight that what we are fighting for is Black lives to no longer be subject to unjust murder by militarized police forces.”
Hartt, assistant professor of fine arts at Weitzman, offered Charles, (2020) a portrait of the filmmaker Charles Burnett, whose groundbreaking film “Killer of Sheep,” (1978) focuses on what Hartt describes as “the lives of working-class black folk in Watts,” the Los Angeles neighborhood where rebellion erupted in 1965 following a confrontation between a Black motorist and white police officers. Hartt explains, “I made the image in February while in Los Angeles working on a commission for the Museum of Modern Art. The subject of my film is Watts, and Charles both appears in and narrates it.”
Hayes, professor of fine arts at Weitzman, selected Shirley Chisholm as the subject of her work. In 1968, Chisholm became the first Black woman elected to Congress, representing New York’s 12th congressional district in the House, and she ran for president of the United States in 1972. “I don’t think political change moves progressively on its own,” says Hayes. “We are all participating in this moment of political change, the question for us singularly and in collective affiliation is how are we participating, what are we doing, what choices do we make.”
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