Student voices are loud and clear in Building Barriers? Liberty and Justice for All, an exhibit now on display at the 1461 QCC Student Gallery and Resource Center

Published: May 11, 2017

One thousand, four hundred and sixty one days represents the length of a U.S. President’s four-year term. This figure is the inspiration behind Building Barriers? Liberty and Justice for All, an exhibit at the 1461 QCC Student Gallery and Resource Center curated by Gallery and Museum Studies students Abraham Centeno and Eddie Ruiz.

The results of the 2016 election have left many people concerned about immigration, women’s rights, education, LGBTQ freedoms, and more. Ruiz and Centeno wanted to find a way for students to explore their thoughts and feelings on these issues by having them create original paintings, poems, essays, collages, digital artworks, and performances in music or video format.

“It was extremely important for Abraham and me to reach out to as many students as possible, across all areas of study and not just those who are art majors,” said Ruiz. “Not all students with artistic talent have the opportunity to participate in special projects like this.” Ruiz will graduate from Queensborough this spring with an Associate in Science Degree in Gallery and Museum Studies. He will continue his education at Hunter College in the fall of 2017, where he will major in Art History.

Bob Rogers, Professor and Chairperson, Art and Design department at Queensborough, said “It’s really wonderful to see the symbiotic relationship between art students and students from other disciplines who come together to express their feelings through art.”

Leslie Figueroa, one of the participating art students, said, “Queensborough has many professors who help you grow, both in your field and as a person. Professor Griefen has been a huge influence in helping me learn about curating and organizing all aspects of exhibits.” Figueroa is also graduating from Queensborough this spring with an Associate in Science Degree in Gallery and Museum Studies. She will move on to Queens College in the fall to major in the BFA design program.

Professor Rogers added, “This program has blossomed under the guidance of Professor Kat Griefen. “She is a dedicated mentor to her students as well as a gifted artist with vast experience in the gallery world and as an art dealer.”

As part of the Gallery and Museum Studies Program, each student completes two internships on or off campus. On campus students can choose from internships at the Holocaust Resource Center, the QCC Art Gallery and the Student Gallery. The curatorial internship with the Student Gallery is an opportunity to learn how to curate an art exhibition through hands-on experience. Students create an exhibition concept, build an open call for art works, conduct outreach to student artists on campus, write interpretive and introductory wall text, install the art work, create a press release and promote the exhibition with Professor Griefen and the support of other faculty in the department.

The collaborative partnerships between museums and Queensborough’s cultural resources and archives are extensive, encompassing history, special programs and fine art. For example, the Gallery and Museum Studies program—the only one of its kind among CUNY’s community colleges—offers an Associate in Science (A.S.) degree for students interested in pursuing careers in conservatory and curatorial work. The program has collaborated with the Whitney Museum of American Art, the National Academy of Art and Design, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the College’s own QCC Art Gallery. In 2011, students assisted with the installation of Through the Eyes of Our Ancestors, an unprecedented exhibition at the QCC Art Gallery of African ceremonial objects, including masks and costumes. The program is articulated with the Bachelor of Arts program in Art History at Queens College. Students may also choose Hunter College to pursue their Baccalaureate Degree in Art History.


The following Art and Design professors all have students whose work is displayed in the exhibition:

Professor Jules T. Allen

Anissa Mack

Nathaniel Sullivan

Kebedech Tekleab

Annemarie Coffey

Kenneth Yurkovitch

Contributing student artists and writers:

Razieh Arabi

Nicole Archie

Law Artis

Leslie Figueroa

Nick Giraldo

Michael Karhut

Samuel Kwak

Nancy Molina

Bar Niazov

Alejandro Ordonez

Mikael Phang

Polina Pittell

Mary Lin Rivera

Jessica C. Roberts

Claire Rodriguez


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