New Social Justice Art Gallery on Campus Aims to Stimulate Social Change

By | September 13, 2022

The walls of Daemen’s Curtis Hall have been transformed into gallery space to showcase art to raise awareness of social justice issues.

Two distinct spaces have been created – a gallery with changing exhibits and a permanent collection of interactive artwork, known as the Amplifier Art Project.

The Social Justice Gallery and the Amplifier Art Project were made possible, in part, through support of the Daemen University Social Work and Sociology Department’s Institute for Government and Non-Profit Innovation, Training, and Evaluation (IGNITE).

Artwork by Mizin Shin. (Photo by J. Adam)

The Social Justice Art Gallery’s inaugural exhibit, Spoken and Seen: Use Your Voice #StopAsianHate, will feature work by artist Mizin Shin will open on Friday, Sept. 30., with a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. The event will feature an artist talk at 6 p.m.

Shin’s works—across many mediums—focuses on racial justice in response to increased documentation of prejudice and violence. 

Her art displays messages in multiple languages and will be sold to raise money for Asian American and Pacific Islander organizations that are justice-oriented and focus on themes of overcoming racism and hate crimes.

Meri Stiles, an associate professor of social work and sociology at Daemen, will serve as both the curator and “artivist” (artists who are activists) for the gallery exhibitions. 

Mizin Shin

“The goal of the gallery is to present work that reflects themes of art as activism and to stimulate dialogue on social justice, raise consciousness, and create social change,” said Stiles.

As a social worker and artist, Stiles explained that art can be used as a vehicle to present complex social justice issues to promote dialogue and raise awareness that leads to positive change. 

Stiles is also working with artist Elizabeth Leader on a spring 2023 exhibition which will focus on environmental justice and how that intersects with economic inequality.

Leader’s work “involves transforming what we would consider garbage, or toxic, into beautiful art,” said Stiles, who indicated that environmental justice is one of the core advocacy areas of social work.  

For more information about the gallery or open call for artists, please contact Stiles at