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The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

‘Diverse voices and stories to enrich our society’: Ulrich highlights human connection in fall opening

With a celebration that included performance art and speeches in several different languages, the Ulrich introduced two of their new exhibits Thursday evening.

Where We Belong: Refugee Stories from Wichita” included photo portraits accompanied by the stories of refugees living in Wichita. The exhibition was in collaboration with the Center for Educational Technologies to Assist Refugee Learners (CETARL). 

CETARL is a project which aims to facilitate digital game-based learning for refugee students in their native languages.

Wilderness: Light Sizzles Around Me” by Lesley Dill is a collection of textile sculptures representing historical figures including Sojourner Truth, John Brown, Dred Scott and Mother Ann Lee. 

During the event, two performers paraded around the gallery drawing attendees attention to the art on display. Additionally, several volunteers were assigned to represent the historical figures depicted by the sculptures. 

“We’ve studied the various sculptures, and so we’re here to answer any questions you might have,” volunteer and WSU alum Craig Thompson said.

In her opening remarks, Vivian Zavataro, the museum’s director, welcomed guests to the event and introduced the exhibitions. Translators of five different languages were invited to speak, addressing the refugee families who were represented in “Where We Belong: Refugee Stories from Wichita,” many of whom were in attendance. 

Along with the two exhibitions featured at the opening celebration, two others, “Karaiw a’e wà (The Civilized)” and “chro•ma” are at the Ulrich this fall.

“A lot of these exhibitions are about connecting with others and about relationships,” Zavataro said in her speech. “This season, we’re proud to showcase four exhibitions that highlight diverse voices and stories to enrich our society.”

The celebration was free and open to the public. Sydney Smetak, a junior art education major, often attends events at the Ulrich. 

“The portraits were definitely my favorite,” she said. “I thought it was very immersive having all the people that were in the photographs standing next to the photographs.”

Wilderness: Light Sizzles Around Me and Where We Belong: Refugee Stories from Wichita,” “The Civilized,” and “chro•ma” will be available for viewing at the Ulrich until December. 

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About the Contributors
Ainsley Smyth
Ainsley Smyth, Reporter
Ainsley Smyth is a second-year reporter for The Sunflower. Smyth is a sophomore communications major with an emphasis in journalism and media productions. Her dream job is to travel back in time 30 years and then be a reporter for Rolling Stone. Smyth uses she/her pronouns.
Nithin Reddy Nagapur
Nithin Reddy Nagapur, Former photographer
Nithin Reddy Nagapur was a photographer for The Sunflower. Nagapur graduated in Fall 2023.

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