Join the Westport Arts Center for a timely conversation, “Art As Activism” on Friday, March 31 at 6:30 p.m.

Led by Pamela Hovland, the artist behind the current As We Are! installation at the Westport Arts Center, the conversation will also include Thomas Starr, Hovland’s long-time collaborator in an activist collective she helped found in the early 1990s.

Both Pamela Hovland and Thomas Starr teach in university design programs (Hovland at Yale University and Starr at Northeastern). They will share their experiences and views on the role of visual artists in political protest and social activism and how that practice can be part of a professional methodology and a pedagogical approach. Hovland will share an exciting recent project where her design students have made a public statement regarding today’s highly-charged political environment.

Hovland and Starr are members of the artist collective ‘Class Action,’ known for their activist work related to gun violence, women’s reproductive rights, domestic violence and AIDS awareness, as well as other social issues. They will share examples of their work and discuss how visual art can act as a catalyst for change. The event will also include a Q&A session and opportunity to meet the speakers.

The backdrop for the conversation is the As We Are! full gallery installation, on view at the Arts Center through April 1, 2017. The exhibition presents a local perspective on identity and stereotype, and features portraits of community leaders, students, business professionals, artists, immigrants, religious figures, cultural influencers and elected officials who have contributed personal material to express their individual views and experiences with labels and the power of words. Following the MORE Than Words fall series exploring the same themes, a postcard prompting a response to “I AM MORE THAN ___” was answered by more than 1000 participants who contributed their declaration, often after considerable thought as to how they believe they are perceived.

Tickets for the event are $15 for non-members and $10 for WAC Members.  Students currently enrolled in WAC’s Winter II or upcoming Spring session can attend for free. Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling 203/222-7070.  Tickets are also available for purchase at the door.

For more information, please contact the Westport Arts Center at 203/222-7070.


More About the Speakers

Pamela Hovland

Pamela Hovland is a principal at Pamela Hovland Design and a Senior Critic in Design at Yale University School of Art. She received a B.S. in design and communications from Bemidji State University in 1983 and an M.F.A. from Yale University in 1993. She has worked extensively in the areas of identity, print communications, signage and Web design for corporations, nonprofit organizations, and cultural institutions. Hovland is a founding member of Class Action, the art collective that uses design to effect social change, and a recipient of the prestigious Rome Prize Fellowship in design.

Thomas Starr

Before joining the Department of Art + Design at Northeastern University where he is Professor of Graphic Design, Thomas Starr taught at the Rhode Island School of Design and Massachusetts College of Art. He holds a BFA in Industrial Design from Parsons School of Design and a MFA in Graphic Design from Yale University. His creative projects focus on graphic design as a means to engage with civic, social and political issues. His design practice for clients is focused on nonprofit institutions. Starr’s work has been published in the US, UK, Holland, Switzerland, and Japan, and is in the collections of the Library of Congress and the Zurich Design Museum.


About Westport Arts Center

The Westport Arts Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting community through the arts, reaches more than 11,000 people annually through outstanding programs in visual arts, arts education, and the performance arts of Chamber and Jazz music.

The Westport Arts Center also receives philanthropic support from the Katherine and Howard Aibel Foundation; Artur and Heida Hermanns Holde Foundation, Inc.; AB Bernstein; the Brant Foundation; CBP; Cohen and Wolf, P.C.; Connecticut Cigar Company; Connecticut Office of the Arts; Delamar Southport; Disney Worldwide Services, Inc., DanceSport; Dragone Motor Cars; Fairfield County Bank; Finn, Dixon & Herling LLP; Fleishers Craft Butchery; 4th Row Films; GWAY Marketing Gymnasium; Hal Prince Music; the Hall Art Foundation; The Hofstetter Baron Group; J.P. Morgan; Land Rover Milford; Lillian August; the Mitchell’s Family of Stores; Moffly Media; Newman’s Own Foundation; Rosenkranz Foundation; Saugatuck Wine & Grape; Shack Sackler Foundation; Sontag Advisory LLC; Stamford Tent; Sun Hill Foundation; Verde Energy USA, Inc.; Vespa Restaurant; Wells Fargo Advisors; Westport Family Counseling; Westport Now; William J. Rosenbloom Charitable Trust; Xerox Foundation; WPKN; and WSHU Public Radio Group.

For more information, contact the Westport Arts Center at 203/222-7070 or   The Westport Arts Center gallery is open Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. at 51 Riverside Avenue, Westport, CT.




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