Elizabeth Kanost
Spencer Museum of Art

'How the Light Gets In' shares experiences of formerly incarcerated women through interactive installation

Tue, 10/25/2022

Rendering of “How the Light Gets In” at the Spencer Museum, Image courtesy of Sarah Newman

LAWRENCE — A multisite exhibition opening Nov. 3 at the Spencer Museum of Art and Lawrence Public Library shares the experiences of formerly incarcerated women reentering society. The interactive installation “How the Light Gets In” was created by artist Sarah Newman in collaboration with Hyunjin Seo and the KU Center for Digital Inclusion in the William Allen White School of Journalism & Mass Communications.

Newman and Seo, Oscar Stauffer Professor of Journalism, collaborated with women in reentry through creative workshops. The resulting project is designed to create conversation about the structural barriers and societal biases that these women experience.

“The work is intended to invert and complicate the normal expectations of knowledge in society,” Newman said. “Who holds knowledge and wisdom, and who is situated to teach or transmit that knowledge to others?”

The women in the program wrote texts that will be displayed through immersive installations at both the Spencer Museum and Lawrence Public Library. Printers in each space will continuously print out statements by these women that visitors can read and take with them. Visitors are also invited to share their experiences by responding to prompts on laptops in both spaces, which will also be sent to the printers’ queues. Informed by the wisdom of the women in this program as well as of the audience, this exhibition encourages viewers to approach others with compassion, curiosity and humility.

“The Center for Digital Inclusion is pleased to collaborate with artist Sarah Newman, the Spencer Museum of Art and Lawrence Public Library on this exhibition providing women in our technology education program an opportunity to offer insights and communicate with a broader public,” Seo said.

“How the Light Gets In” will remain on view at the Spencer Museum and Lawrence Public Library through Jan. 8, 2023. The exhibition and related programs are supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission, the Mellon Foundation and the Linda Inman Bailey Exhibitions Fund.


Related programming

Nov. 3: 4-6 p.m., Spencer Museum of Art

The Return Project: Women in Reentry, Technology Education, and Artistic Collaboration

The opening reception of “How the Light Gets In” will include a panel discussion with project participants and gallery talk with artist Sarah Newman.

Nov. 30: 2-4 p.m., Lawrence Public Library

Teen Zone Expanded: Printmaking

Spencer Museum staff will lead a printmaking activity in the Library’s Teen Zone inspired by the writings of formerly incarcerated women that are included in “How the Light Gets In.”

Dec. 8: 10:15–11 a.m., Spencer Museum of Art

Gallery Talk: "How the Light Gets In"

Spencer Curator Joey Orr discusses themes in artist Sarah Newman’s installation “How the Light Gets In.”

Image: Rendering of “How the Light Gets In” at the Spencer Museum of Art, courtesy of Sarah Newman

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