The Party in Politics

By Dominique McIndoe

SOUTH ORANGE – The South Orange Performing Arts Center is extending its political art exhibition’s viewing hours on Oct. 7 to host its first ever POLITICO Party from 7 to 9 p.m.

POLITICO Party is a one-night event with free admission that will allow visitors of the Herb & Milly Iris Gallery to view “POLITICO: ARTS & The Humanities” which, according to the SOPAC website, “explores the cultural influence of politics and the humanities through the uses of various mediums of visual art.” This night will give people with every possible political affiliation or non-affiliation to gather together for one night to eat, dance to music, civilly discuss politics and partake in non-partisan celebration with many of the featured artists and fellow art goers.

“Our hope is that it generates a buzz. With politics being an inherently provocative subject matter, the exhibition has provoked fervent reactions and strong opinions,” Linda Beard, the Director of Community Engagement at SOPAC, said.

Beard also said that she believed that the timing for this exhibition was ideal given the current presidential election and the exhibition would appeal to the surrounding community.

The “POLITICO” art exhibit, which had its official unveiling on Sept. 8, showcases up and coming artists such as John Friedland, Cheryl Gross, and Betty McGeehan among many others. Pieces in the gallery include pop art of Donald Trump, a comic book cover imitation of Bernie Sanders, and mock political posters of Hillary Clinton, Ben Carson, and Jeb Bush.

Pictures of artwork attributed to the SOPAC official website and IrisGallery@SOPAC on Flickr.

According to this exhibit’s curator, Micha Hamilton, POLITICO is “a ‘pressure-release valve’ in the examination of the current state of national affairs and should be seen as a safe haven for discussion and expression of the important topics of our day.” This Friday’s POLITICO Party will only continue to support and further that mission.

POLITICO is not just presented at SOPAC, but is a collaborative effort of other art galleries in Essex County: Arts Unbound in Orange, The Baird Center’s Pierro Gallery in South Orange, and Valley Arts Firehouse Gallery in Orange. This expansion was deliberately orchestrated to provide a richer experience for all of its viewers.

“The intersection of art and politics provides an opportunity for exploration of the ideals of truth and transparency versus censorship and political correctness as the tug-of-war between these ideological pursuits rages on,” Hamilton said.

POLITICO will be on display at SOPAC until Dec. 8. Regular viewing hours are from 12 to 6 p.m., Mondays through Saturdays.

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