Tenacity Challenge 2022’s major thesis question, “Are the new voting laws (e.g., in Texas and Georgia) intended to prevent voter fraud, as their supporters allege, or impede African-American and Latinx voting, as their opponents allege?” was explored by each of the participating teams.
Bedford’s Scholarly Six team captured Art Challenge’s top prize. Other teams in the top 5 included the Natick High Dreamers; Methuen’s We Have a Dream; Furious Four, another team from Bedford; and Lexington’s Sondering Scholars.
Scholarly Six created a 3-D exhibit, a walk-in voting booth that illustrated some of the struggles encountered by Black and Latinx voters.
The booth’s exterior is wrapped with banners quoting democratic ideals about voting, the right to vote, and the importance of voting. The booth’s interior belies the quotes.
Three curtains—Are you lost?; Speak English!’; Go Back to Your Own Country!— had to be lifted to enter the claustrophobic booth. A ballot box wrapped in stars and stripes was chained to the back of the booth.
The team’s artists’ statement concluded, “We have heard the questions and statements we put on the curtains. As we have learned about voter suppression, we have been so disheartened by how people are being disenfranchised and disregarded by the very government they looked up to. Although we are not yet of voting age, we are realizing that this is our issue as much as it is anyone’s, because it threatens the entire system America was based on.”
Sean Hagen, head of the Art Department for the Bedford Schools, worked with all three Bedford teams. His most takeaway was the different ways the teams approached the Challenge’s prompt. “We had a traditional painting, a large interactive board game that you could actually play, and a three-dimensional voting booth. It was fantastic to see the creative ways our students approached the prompt and make their work exceptionally unique.
“The overall experience seems to get better with each passing year…we fine-tune each event and find places for improvement,” Hagen continued. “I’m fortunate to play a small role in this event, and marvel at the work of Patti Messenger and Sarah Kane, the head coaches, as well as Patrick Morrissey, Jen Ilchuck, and coordinator Akil Mondesir,”
Brittany Carbone, Heather Falardeau, Taylor Gibson, Jennifer Harrington, Marc Holland, and Sarah Scoville judged the Art Challenge, both online and in-person on April 30.
Waiting for their session with the Art Challenge judges ~ Image, JMcCT (c) 2022 all rights reserved