The Challenge Your Lens, #ThisIsPlattsburgh, art project grew from a class discussion on the arts and social change in the context of social work research. The project was inspired by an original creative idea for a photographic mural put forth by Molly Aznoe, a junior in the Bachelor of Social Work program at SUNY Plattsburgh. It was brought to life by the junior BSW class, directed by Arnold Barretto, supported by the Student Association, and it quickly evolved into a dynamic campus-wide participatory community mural.

This project began in mid-February 2018 and is a proactive response designed to express and capture people’s feelings associated with racism and other forms of oppression, along with our feelings about future: one that rejects all forms of hate, embraces diversity, and promotes solidarity within our college campus and beyond. Participants from across our campus community were invited to express their feelings associated with racism, oppression, and social injustice, which were then captured in a photograph along with the reporting of one single word. The participants then expressed, in the same way, their feelings about our future - as a campus, community, and culture.

Sincere gratitude goes to Molly Aznoe for generously sharing her original idea and allowing it to evolve along with our creative energies. Special thanks, also, to the Social Work Student Association, for sponsoring and recruiting for this project; to the Student Association for their support, with particular appreciation to Arnold Barretto, for his leadership, technical operations and artistic skill; to the photographers for their time and expertise; to our campus administration for their encouragement, especially Provost Morgan, Cori Jackson, Dean Simard, and Dr. Marty Frost. Last, but not least, thank you to all the volunteers and participants who made this project possible!

This project is most heartfeltly dedicated to those students and citizens who have felt unsafe and have suffered in the face of social injustice and oppression, due to the recent oncampus turmoil. We, as a campus and community, will continue to work toward creating a better future for us all.

Photographic Mural on Vinyl 

5' x 12'

Spring 201

Using Format