Counterspaces is a collective healing project for Rochester community members who have been impacted by the existing and increasing acts of racialized violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). This space is dedicated for listening to the stories, thoughts, and feelings of marginalized community members. This space is also for all members to creatively share their thoughtful responses. Counterspaces are “safe social spaces… which offer support and enhance feelings of belonging” in marginalized individuals existing in spaces that are not made with them in mind. A counterspace is much more than just one of safety. It is a place of possibility for empowerment and transformation. And it is more than just a space of survival; as it is a space where critiques of and understandings on how oppression operates at the local level are collectively understood and acted upon at the larger, structural one.
The artwork that will be displayed has been created by students that have attended guided workshops led by Professor Yuko Taniguchi and Dr. Angie Mejia. These workshops have been intentionally designed to provide a counterspace for POC at the University of Minnesota Rochester. In addition to showcasing the students’ works, the Counterspaces Participatory Community Display at the Rochester Art Center invites visitors to contribute to a Poetry Wall and to an Origami Wall by reflecting on the themes of the project and sharing with others.