Social Media, Social Activism on Display this Summer

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Summer holds the promise of a break from classes, time spent with family and friends and relaxing days at the beach.

Art as education: The exhibit “Women at the Frontline of Mass Violence Worldwide” tells the stories of women across the world who have survived mass violence. “We can either repeat past mistakes or learn from them,” said Kamiki Soulyalangsy, a first-year at Cal Lutheran. Photo contributed by Hamid Moghavem.

Art as education: The exhibit “Women at the Frontline of Mass Violence Worldwide” tells the stories of women across the world who have survived mass violence. “We can either repeat past mistakes or learn from them,” said Kamiki Soulyalangsy, a first-year at Cal Lutheran.
Photo contributed by Hamid Moghavem.

However, California Lutheran University students are in a prime location for another source of entertainment: dozens of museums and galleries can be found within a short drive from campus.

Rachel Schmid, curator of collections and exhibitions at Cal Lutheran, said she believes museums and exhibitions are not only a source of entertainment, but can be educational by illustrating social movements.

“Exhibits are in this unique position where they have… an audience that is already captivated by their authority and their ability to disseminate information, so they have this amazing opportunity to shift the way people feel about specific topics,” Schmid said.

Today, art’s vast definition has continued to expand in the forms it takes as well as its purposes, with many exhibits today seeking to showcase activism and share different cultures. 

“We can either repeat past mistakes or learn from them… I believe the true purpose for the relevance of museums and exhibitions now is to influence future generations to [build] from the new perspectives,” said Kamiki Soulyalangsy, a first-year at Cal Lutheran who is passionate about art museums. 

Museums have continued to evolve in the era of social media, flooding feeds with photographs beckoning a new generation to visit exhibitions.

“In the last five years we have seen a shift among museums and galleries that no matter how big or small, they have…some sort of social media presence which they are willing to use to engage with people…It is changing the way people engage with an exhibition,” Schmid said.

The following exhibitions are open this summer within an hour’s drive from Cal Lutheran.

‘Time Is Running Out of Time: Experimental Film and Video From The L.A. Rebellion And Today’ displays early short works by black filmmakers in Los Angeles following the aftermath of the 1965 Watts riots. The filmmakers, who attended the University of California, Los Angeles School of Theater, Film and Television, became known as the “L.A. Rebellion.” The purpose of the exhibit is to showcase the short works produced by these students from the late 1960s to the early ’80s.

If you go: The exhibit is open free of charge until Sept. 14 at Art + Practice gallery, located at 3401 W. 43rd Place, Los Angeles. For more information, visit artandpractice.org.

‘Women at the Frontline of Mass Violence Worldwide’ showcases portraits and testimonies of international female survivors of mass genocide and violence. The exhibit was curated by Yahad-In Unum, an organization that focuses on uncovering and denouncing genocide, and explores the personal stories of female survivors of the Jewish Holocaust, indigenous women in Guatemala and Yazidi female survivors of ISIS terrorism.

“From our investigations into the victims of genocide and mass violence, Yahad has seen that women have suffered in a distinct way: as victims of sexual violence, forced abortion, sterilization, or sexual slaves,” Yahad-In Unum’s Executive Director Marco Gonzalez said in a press release for the exhibit. “Violence against women during mass killings and genocide is an issue in its own right that needs to be further studied by scholars and better known by the public at large.”

If you go: Located at Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust at 100 Grove Drive, Los Angeles, admission is free of charge until Aug. 11. For more information, visit lamoth.org.

‘Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Rooms’ is an exhibit that has travelled around the country, taking over social media feeds in the process. The exhibit features two mirrored rooms with flashing LED lights that transport the audience to an out-of-body experience, with the feeling of millions of lights flickering around them.

If you go: Admission is included with a free general admission ticket to the Broad, located at 221 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles. However, reservations must be made once inside the museum to view the “The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away.” The other room, “Longing for Eternity,” does not require a reservation. For more information, visit thebroad.org.

Maria Barragan
Reporter