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Students Examine Media Bias in Recent Art Installation

Since the beginning of its existence, Northwest has displayed student-art around the school. The walls have featured self portraits, watercolor projects, and photography. Recently, however, a new kind of art has been added to the walls; two of the senior humanities classes joined together to work on art pieces inspired by the artist and journalist Alexandra Bell. Bell is known for dissecting news articles to expose racial bias. Bell is able to do this through highlighting the parts that exhibit prejudice and then juxtaposing it with what she believes to be an unbiased version. 

In this new project, students were sent to find an article that exhibited bias. The students were given multiple copies of their article and some art materials. Following the lead of Alexandra Bell, students highlighted parts that they wanted to stand out, while scratching out parts they thought shouldn’t be included. Then, once the first draft was done, students designed a new article which took into account all their notes and removed racial bias. The teachers then took the new articles and printed them onto larger pieces of paper so they could be read from far away. 

Everything about the articles were thought out in extreme detail. For example, even the color of the highlighter was important. Some people chose yellow while others used red. When it was time to figure out where these art pieces were to be posted, students chose carefully. Popular places were in the stairways, around the main hall, and the dining room. The revised news articles were placed next to the old ones in many different ways. Some students decided to use an arrow to show the change between the articles while some let them speak for themselves. Each piece includes an artist statement which explains the thinking behind the pieces and gives credit to the original artist, Alexandra Bell. These art pieces have gained a lot of traffic. You can see students and teachers stopping in the halls to take in the art and read the articles. If you haven’t seen these pieces yet, make sure to stop by when we return to the Haus!

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