The art of Martin Luther King Jr.’s message

Students work on large-scale tape drawings that aim to encourage members of the campus community to reflect on civil rights issues.

St. Olaf College Visiting Assistant Professor of Art Michon Weeks usually spends Martin Luther King Jr. Day listening to sermons and speeches by the renowned civil rights leader.

But this year she wanted to do something more.

So she teamed up with Assistant Professor of Art and Art History Paul Briggs to have their Interim classes — Foundations of 2-D Media and Art Making as Spiritual Practice — install large-scale tape drawings in Regents Hall of Natural and Mathematical Sciences as a creative service project.

The drawings, which aim to commemorate the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. and dramatize his work, will be available for viewing on the third floor of Regents Hall for a week.

Students create a large-scale tape drawing of the Martin Luther King Jr. quote “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

The tape drawings illustrate a variety of social justice movements and aim to encourage members of the campus community to reflect on civil rights issues.

To prepare for the project, students examined political art and discussed readings that included Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail and “Let America Be America Again” by Langston Hughes.

“I want students to consider how working in the visual arts can be a form of service,” Weeks says. “I also want them to consider how artwork can address issues of civil rights.”

See more photos of the project in an album on the St. Olaf Facebook page.