UAlbany’s ‘Freedom Dreaming' artwork selected for exhibition at Columbia Teachers College

Side by side images of two women posing for a picture inside of an art gallery and two children making art in front of a clothespin display that features handmade postcards answering the question "What do you propose to make our educational system better?"
Scenes from the opening exhibition of UAlbany's "Freedom Dreaming for Educational Justice" project, on display now through Oct. 27 at Columbia University's Teachers College. Kelly Wissman (left), an associate professor at UAlbany, directed the project.

By Bethany Bump

ALBANY, N.Y. (Oct. 18, 2022) — Artwork exploring themes of educational justice and freedom created as part of the University at Albany’s Freedom Dreaming for Educational Justice project is on display at Columbia University’s Teachers College on West 120th Street in Manhattan.

Kelly Wissman, project director and associate professor of literacy teaching and learning at UAlbany, has been asked to serve as a Visiting Scholar in the Teachers College Digital Futures Institute (DFI) for the fall semester. As part of this work, she was asked to exhibit a portion of the artwork at the college’s new DFI Gallery.

The exhibition opened Oct. 13 and will be on display through Oct. 27. The gallery, on the fifth floor of Russell Hall, is open Mondays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m.

Inspired by concepts of freedom dreaming within the work of Robin D. G. Kelley and the abolitionist scholarship of Bettina L. Love, the Freedom Dreaming for Educational Justice project explores the possibilities of designing new educational futures through the arts.

The yearlong project — an initiative of the UAlbany School of Education’s Capital District Writing Project and the Touhey Family Fellows program — brought together K-12 educators, UAlbany students, authors, artists, faculty, K-12 students, and the broader community to create artistic expressions of their own education freedom dreams. 

The artwork was displayed in an exhibition over the summer in the Fine Arts Building. An online gallery can be viewed here.

At the opening, several of the local teachers from the project joined Wissman in giving a gallery talk. Children who created art for the project were also invited, along with their families, to participate in an interactive art-making event at the gallery the next day.

The Freedom Dreaming project was supported with funding from a UAlbany StAR grant and University Auxiliary Services.