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The VCFA MFA in Graphic Design Program Blog

Adam DelMarcelle to be keynote speaker at UCDA Educators Summit

May 3, 2019

VCFA alum Adam DelMarcelle is one of the three keynote speakers at the UCDA Educators Summit: Collaborate in Johnson City, Tennessee.

Can art and design save lives?

This talk will examine the work of Dr. Eric Avery and Adam DelMarcelle as they travel the country asking the singular question… Can art and design save lives? With a focus on the exploding opioid crisis, their collaboration began with the two artists defining a singular word…

“Epidemic” is defined by the artists as a progressive descent from physical, psychological and community wellness which is often ignored until the suffering and death from our human family can no longer be hidden behind the walls of the power structures’ status quo. Successful interventions during epidemics often require all persons within a community to ask themselves what part they play in the landscape to the problems and how they might best participate in reducing harm and restoring wellness.

In the course of trying to cope with core factors in the makeup of tragedy and loss, we often engage our fight or flight modes of instinctive action and defense. This impulse leads to increased apathy and possesses the possibility of quickly formulated emotional rhetoric. It is in this certainty of knowledge that we perpetuate divided community, grow stigma, and bolster ignorance over fact-based data-driven learning. Redirecting our emotional responses to the understanding gained through human connection, interaction, and the power of storytelling are the foundations of Narrative Naloxone as an approach to bridge our individual divides and heal communities. The closer we stand the better the chance empathy and understanding can grow.

“Epidemic” has allowed Avery and DelMarcelle to engage communities through the power of design to consider the role of intergenerational transmission of both trauma and resilience in a hope to understand how an epidemic has the opportunity grow and how we possess the ability to cut away this trauma by activating our responsibility to one another. It is in this resilience of community that we find hope by being the hope we seek. Avery and DelMarcelle will use selected works of art from their exhibition Epidemic to initiate a conversation with attendees about the role art and design plays in awakening the moral imagination of students, educators, community leaders and citizens.