The Moss Arts Center celebrates the creativity and diversity of perspective of Virginia Tech students with its Student Arts Spotlight. Originally presented as an online exhibition featuring the work of the university’s undergraduate and graduate students, the program has expanded to include a selection of works that can be viewed in person.

Currently on display in the center’s Miles C. Horton Jr. Gallery and the Sherwood Payne Quillen '71 Reception Gallery, the exhibition includes more than 60 works of art created by over 50 Virginia Tech students. From collages, sketches, photography, and paintings to digital works, sculpture, and textiles, explore a range of work created by students from various academic disciplines.

Presented by the Moss Arts Center Student Ambassadors and Meggin Hicklin, Moss Arts Center exhibitions program manager, the Student Arts Spotlight is on view through Wednesday, Nov. 18.

As with the first iteration of the Student Arts Spotlight that debuted over the summer, all of the works on display in the Moss Arts Center galleries can be viewed online.

The work "Four Freedoms" shows a collage of people from various backgrounds and ethnicities practicing their freedom to worship.
Hank Willis Thomas and Emily Shur in collaboration with Eric Gottesman and Wyatt Gallery of For Freedoms, “Freedom of Worship,” 2016-present, (detail), digital print on PhotoTex. Courtesy of the artists and For Freedoms Federation.

“Four Freedoms"

Hank Willis Thomas and Emily Shur in collaboration with Eric Gottesman and Wyatt Gallery of For Freedom

Also currently on view in the Frances T. Eck Exhibition Corridor is an installation of photographic works by renowned art activist Hank Willis Thomas and photographer Emily Shur, who re-envision Norman Rockwell’s “Four Freedoms” paintings of 1941. Rockwell is well known for his iconic depictions of American life and culture, particularly his cover illustrations for the Saturday Evening Post from the 1930s-1950s. His “Four Freedoms” paintings were based on Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1941 groundbreaking State of the Union address during World War II, where he outlined a vision of what Americans deserve: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.  

In re-envisioning these paintings, Thomas and Shur redress the absence of multiple peoples and cultural narratives in the Rockwell works, offering a more inclusive and just representation of what America is and can be, while opening up, exploring, and encouraging deeper discussion of freedom and core values.

Thomas and Shur’s work is in collaboration with For Freedoms, an artist-led, non-partisan platform established to deepen public discussions on civic issues and core values and to advocate for equality, dialogue, and civic participation. For Freedoms includes more than 800 artists whose work has appeared in exhibits and billboards across the U.S., offering varied views on issues like campaign reform, racism, gender equality, gun control, and reproductive rights.

Curated by Margo Ann Crutchfield, Moss Arts Center curator at large, and coordinated by Hicklin, “Four Freedoms” is on view through Saturday, Nov. 21.

“Four Freedoms” is part of “Art and Social Conscience,” a sequence of Moss Arts Center installations curated by Crutchfield that call attention to sociopolitical issues and the need for change. The grouping also includes the latest version of “22 Steps,” a recurring installation on the Moss Arts Center Grand Lobby Staircase that celebrates the written word in a spatial and visual experience. The iteration of “22 Steps” currently on display features a statement from “Across that Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for Change” by the late civil rights leader and congressman John Lewis (1940-2020).

Located at 190 Alumni Mall, Blacksburg, Virginia, the Moss Arts Center’s galleries are open on Wednesday-Friday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. The center’s exhibitions and all related events are always free and open to the public. Visitors are expected to wear masks and practice social distancing. Find more information online.

Parking is available in the North End Parking Garage on Turner Street. Virginia Tech faculty and staff possessing a valid Virginia Tech parking permit can enter and exit the garage free of charge. 

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