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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Art Gallery ‘Splinter’ to open Thursday in Columbus

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Dustin Vance (left) is  the creator of the project located in an old house in Columbus. The project, which aims to further individual equality, is called ‘Splinter.’ Vance said the project was partially inspired by of exhibitions such as Womanhouse.

 

A push for equality through an art gallery called Splinter will be presented this Thursday at 5 p.m. in an older, traditional house in the middle of Columbus. 
   It all started when Dustin Vance, a Mississippi native from Oxford, created this as a part of his off site studio project from his program at Pacific Northwest College of Art. This project is an addition to his other works that will be compiled for his graduate thesis. 
 The project was loosely inspired by other exhibitions Vance was familiar with such as Womanhouse, an art installation Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro created in 1971 through The Feminist Art Program they founded at The California Institute of the Arts. It heavily focused on challenging the stereotype surrounding women. Vance decided to expand on this concept to target more marginalized people who do not fit the heteronormative stereotype, especially in Mississippi.
 
The nontraditional location of the gallery in an abandoned house on the corner of 3rd Avenue and 14th Street plays a huge factor into the entirety of the exhibition. Vance saw potential in the abandoned house, and requested to utilize the space once learning it was owned by local Columbus lawyer and judge, Wilbur and Dorothy Colom, after reviewing tax records. He felt that many of issues that are not traditionally addressed in a gallery or public setting would be encouraged and discussed through the nontraditional venue.
  Splinter addresses subjects that cover race, religion, gender, sexual identity, disability and even socioeconomic status through numerous mediums of work that include to photography, drawings, painting, and ceramic. Vance student felt the artists who contributed deserved the opportunity to express their individual stories as marginalized people through a larger platform. 
  “For the most part, I fit that white male stereotype, and I have a certain amount of privilege,” Vance said. “The ability to take that, use it and give it to other people to allow a platform and a voice is something that I feel deeply about because I feel everyone deserves a chance to tell their own story.”
 Ruthe Guerry, local Columbus coffee maker at Coffee House on 5th and contributing Splinter artist, who struggled with her image and identity growing up wanted to incorporate a piece that highlighted body image and representation. Her display of dolls and mirrors in the butler pantry represents the image that people not only absorb through social norms, but also reflect to others in society, specifically the youth.
  “It took me a long time to be comfortable in my own skin. I’m glad people are seeing it because it’s an issue I think about often, especially when working with teenagers,” Guerry said. “I wonder what image they are seeing in me, how are they interpreting what I’m doing, are they going to be confident in who they are and do they see that in me?”
 Although there have been numerous volunteers, significant feedback toward the reception date, and an enormous amount of positive support altogether toward Splinter, Vance and other participants are hopeful people will not only show up, but have an open mind during the viewing to start the conversation on the controversial concepts.
 “I think that’s what is special about this. People are just coming in and saying, ‘Hey, here’s my story. Hope you like it. If not, oh well. It’s mine. I can’t change it,’” Vance said. “The rooms are all connected by doorways, and you can easily step from one person’s story to another person’s story. They flow and blend into each other. It’s not just one story, but a multitude of stories simultaneously telling a much bigger story.”
  The show will run this Thursday at 5 p.m. at 1324 3rd Avenue N. in Columbus. Anyone wanting to view or purchase the work may schedule a time throughout the month of April or make a request by contacting an artist through splintercollective.squarespace.com or Dustin Vance at [email protected].
 

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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
Art Gallery ‘Splinter’ to open Thursday in Columbus