University of South Florida

College of The Arts

University of South Florida

USF CAM Club Sparks Dialogue on Freedom with Lawn Sign Installation

Monday, October 08, 2018

USF students Jordan Sparks and Dylan Bheem stand next to their signs in front of the Marshall Student Center

USF students Jordan Sparks (left) and Dylan Bheem next to their "For Freedoms" signs at Bull Market.

The USF Contemporary Art Museum Club invites the community to participate in the 50 State Initiative, a part of the national For Freedoms platform to activate public spaces and start discourse centered on freedom.

CAM Club completed its first lawn sign activation as part of the 50 State Initiative on September 26 at USF's weekly Bull Market event outside the Marshall Student Center.

USF art student and CAM Club member Marty De La Cruz speaks with students at Bull Market.

"I think this is a safe way to be able to express thoughts, feelings," said CAM Club member and USF art student Zoe Morrison.

She says there is no agenda at the event, aside from getting people involved and creating a constructive conversation.

As one of 200 organizations participating in the project nationwide, USF CAM Club members invited students and other members of the USF community to write on lawn signs printed the words "Freedom to" and "Freedom for."

The signs allude to Norman Rockwell's 1943 paintings—Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear—to spark meaningful discourse. Nationally, three hundred artists are participating in the 50 State Initiative, what For Freedoms calls the largest creative collaboration in U.S. history.|

The completed signs are now installed on the south side of the Contemporary Art Museum near MLK Plaza.

USF advertising student Jordan Sparks met with CAM Club members at Bull Market to share her voice on a lawn sign as part of the 50 State Initiative.

"I think it's important to be able to express yourself and be able to voice what you want in freedom, what freedom means to you, because the definition of freedom can have different meanings to everyone from different backgrounds," said Sparks.

Dylan Bheem, a USF student studying finance, also stopped by the CAM Club table to engage in the public art project. His sign calls attention to colorism and racism, persisting social issues that continue to challenge the nation.

Sparks and Bheem agree the 50 State Initiative is a convenient way for USF students to anonymously share their voice.

Two students interact with Marty De La Cruz, a member of USF CAM Club, at the club's table at Bull Market

USF art student and CAM Club member Marty De La Cruz speaks with students at Bull Market.

Sarah Howard, curator of public art and social practice at the USF Institute for Research in Art, helped bring the project to USF. It is her job to facilitate public art and socially engaged initiatives in the USF community.

"I'm always looking for ways to engage public space at the university in new ways," said Howard. "Tapping into national platforms is a great way to kind of garner content and get more people involved."

Ashley Jablonski, a mass communications student and president of CAM Club, is excited about this project. As someone who calls Parkland, Florida home, she has a personal connection to the city where the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting occurred and where young student voices started a political movement.

"Seeing that kind of thing, being able to give this platform to people in a very outspoken but also very subtle way ... I love it," said Jablonski.

Jablonski, who also works as an intern at the Contemporary Art Museum, has been with the club since its launch in the Spring of 2018. Since then, the club has attracted nearly 150 members on the online USF student organization platform Bullsync.

The club has already hosted numerous opportunities for students and the community.

Past activities the club has been involved with include art symposiums, a successful Salsa Social alongside the CAM Climate Change: Cuba/USA exhibition, a screening of a film on the Louvre Museum, and the installation of the Fall 2018 Contemporary Art Museum exhibition Miki Kratsman: People I Met.

Upcoming opportunities at CAM Club include outdoor film screenings, and a new student docent program, and a trip to Miami's Art Basel—a renowned international art fair spanning five days.

These all contribute to the club's mission: to build community, facilitate exchange, and expanding appreciation of the arts across the campus.

"We really want everyone to feel welcome and realize the museum is for them," said Howard. "It's a free space, and they are welcome."

To participate in 50 State Initiative, visit the CAM Club table at Bull Market on October 17 and 24. The signs will remain installed on the south side of the USF Contemporary Art Museum until November 1.

For more information, see the CAM Club on Facebook.

Press coverage

WMNF: USF art installation asks: What is freedom?