IOWA CITY — Dyemond Pope, 14, doesn’t want to talk about change. She wants to see it happen.
“You can change your hair, you can change who you hang out with, but those kinds of changes don’t affect the community,” says the Iowa City West High School freshman. “It’s just something you did. It doesn’t make anything around you different.”
Pope couldn’t get that idea — what can be done to change yourself and your community — out of her mind. So she approached United Action for Youth’s volunteer coordinator Mickey Hampton, who she’d previously worked with to organize an open mic event in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.
The result of their collaboration is an art show — “Brand New: Creating Real Change in our Community.” The exhibit opens today as part of downtown Iowa City’s last Gallery Walk of the year.
The self-guided public art tour includes Active Endeavors, AKAR, Bella Joli, Chait Galleries, Englert Theatre, Glassando, Home Ec Workshop, Iowa Artisans Gallery/D.J. Rinner Goldsmith, Iowa State Historical Society, MidWestOne Bank, MC Ginsberg, r.s.v.p., the Senior Center’s Old Post Office Gallery, Textiles, The Paper Nest and United Action for Youth.
The exhibit will feature more than 25 pieces created by area youth that focus on real and permanent ways to change a community that also celebrate diversity and supports individuals who are trying to transform themselves for the better.
“The idea for this exhibit is about starting a dialogue about how we can make our community a better place,” Hampton says. “We should be working with the young people in our community to make the change we want to make. This is a conversation that involves all of us. We should all be at the table.”
The show includes artwork from third- and fourth-graders at Grant Wood Elementary School, as well as teen mothers from UAY’s Teen Parent Program.
Other pieces are by middle and high school students throughout Johnson County.
Pope, who will perform a song she wrote called “Make a Change” at the exhibit’s opening reception, is hopeful the exhibit will inspire people to think about how their actions affect the community.
“I think the art show can really make people think, just by the words and the visuals,” she says. “They have that idea in their head and something great can come from it.”
What: “Brand New: Creating Real Change in our Community”
When: Exhibit open from Oct. 5 through Nov. 9
Where: United Action for Youth Gallery Space, 355 Iowa Ave., Iowa City