Kean celebrates diversity by presenting student and faculty artwork at the Human Rights Institute

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By Adrianna Ruffo | Published Feb 8, 2017

From Jan 31st to May 12th, 2017, the Human Rights Institute will be hosting an art exhibit in the Human Rights Institute Gallery, called I Learn America: Explorations into Diversity, Identity and Inclusion.

The exhibit, which was put together by Janice Kroposky, the acting director for the Human Rights Institute and Dr. Joseph S. Amorino, an associate professor at Kean University who specializes in art education, presents the various types of artwork by many Kean students and faculty where they share their personal thoughts and stories through their art.

Inspired by I Learn America, a documentary which tells the story of five teen immigrants whose lives intersect as they learn to adapt and live in their new home, the students and faculty seek to use their talent and creativity to inspire others to celebrate the importance of diversity.

As guests walked through the gallery, admiring the different types of artwork and enjoying light refreshments, two women looked pensively at each piece of artwork.

When asked why did she visit the exhibit, Natasha Jawahir, a Kean graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in studio art had this to share.

“My professor is running [the exhibit] and we’re supposed to do a piece on [the exhibit] said Jawahir. “I’m an artist myself so I love appreciating the art and I just wanted to see what [the exhibit] was about really.”

Phyllicia Bonanno, a Kean graduate student who is also pursuing a master’s in studio art also shared why she wanted to stop by the exhibit.

“I came to visit the exhibit because, well I have Dr. Amarino in one of my graduate classes, and he actually set up this whole exhibit and he wanted us to come and see the student artwork,” said Bonanno. “I’m a teacher as well so it’s fun to see the students’ artwork.”

When asked about her favorite piece of artwork that she has seen so far, Bonanno pointed to one of the images in the corner.

“I like that there’s no words on it. I notice that a lot of the artwork has a lot of words on it and I’m more drawn to artwork that’s not telling me exactly what it’s supposed to say,” shared Bonanno. “I like the abstract quality that there’s no words and I can decide what this could mean on my own terms.”

The exhibition is currently open to the public. guests can also view the exhibit at no cost. For any questions or comments, email the Human Rights Institute at or call (908) 737-4670.

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