CHAMBERSBURG – On December 8, graphic designer Adrianna Broome hosted an opening reception for her “Capstone Exhibition: Women Creating Change” in Wilson College’s Bogigian Gallery (Lortz Hall). The reception, which ran from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m., included an introductory speech by gallery director Philip Lindsey, a brief artist talk, and a steady flow of students and faculty attendees.
According to the description on Wilson College’s website, “Women Creating Change” consists of 10 pieces that celebrate and promote “women around the world from a variety of fields and disciplines, honoring their goals, movements, and accomplishments.”
In an interview before the reception, Broome elaborated on her inclusion of diverse voices.
“I think in the states we tend to focus on women in our own country,” she said, “so these pieces have women who are from the US, but also ones from Somalia, and there’s one from Bangladesh. There’s a bunch of different countries. They work in a bunch of different fields as well.”
Some of the names and occupations represented in the exhibit include: Greta Thunberg, a Swedish climate change activist, Nina Gualinga, an Ecuadorian activist for indigenous rights and climate justice, Phyll Opoku-Gyimah – better known as Lady Phyll – a British LGBTQ activist, and Alice Wong, an American activist for people with disabilities.
“I consider myself an intersectional feminist, so I wanted to focus my work on a similar subject, and I decided to focus it on women that break glass ceilings,” said Broome.
She explained that intersectional feminism acknowledges the voices that had too often excluded from traditional feminism and that there are multiple narratives to consider based on diverse backgrounds.
The capstone exhibit is the culmination of Broome’s studies at Wilson College where she will be graduating with a major in graphic design with a secondary area of emphasis in photography and a double minor in art history and ancient world studies.
Accordingly, the project is steeped in research.
Philip Lindsey, in addition to being the gallery director, was also the primary faculty member overseeing the two-semester capstone project.
“The first semester is formulating the questions, getting ideas together and developing a research method,” explained Lindsey. “Then she starts making work. By the time we’re into the second semester, she’s well on the way of answering the questions that she created, developing her research topically in terms of coming up with that statement of conclusion. Then it all tops off with the exhibition of her work in this space.”
He added: “You can see her interest in women’s studies. You can see her interest in current events and social justice. All of it comes through, I think, very clearly in the work. One does not need to have an advanced degree in art history to be able to extract that sort of content from the work. It’s pretty clear.”
Broome explained the process in greater detail: “I would research the artist, and then I would create the bio, and then I created an aesthetic I hoped would suit them.”
While, as Professor Lindsey points out, Broome’s interests in the subjects might be immediately apparent, the graphic design details require more attention. Everything from the fonts, the picture placements and the background textures have been carefully curated and coded by Broome with elements representing the women’s careers.
Greta Thunberg has her yellow jacket. Lady Phyll has a rainbow background. Amal Clooney’s piece was given a classic font. Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarian’s piece has coding brackets around the bio. And so on.
Broome had actually created 12 pieces, but only 10 made it onto the gallery walls. The first piece she made for the series was of Kamala Harris, but she decided to cut it from the exhibit to give more attention to women who were less well-known. Broome had also created a piece inspired by Tarana Burke, who started the #MeTo movement, but she wasn’t satisfied with it design-wise compared to the other pieces.
“For me, [the exhibit] is a celebration of different women who have done really great things, that are doing really great things,” said Broome.
She added: “I hope that when people go through the gallery, people see [the pieces] and maybe it piques their interest in some of these movements.”
The exhibit will be on display through December 17. The Bogigian Gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Admission is free.
[Featured image caption: Graphic designer Adrianna Broome poses in front of her biographical portrait of Greta Thunberg during a reception held on December 8 for her exhibit “Women Creating Change.”]