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Spotlight on the Arts: Examining Democracy in America

Traveling Smithsonian exhibit explores government ‘of, by and for the people’

By wmadministrator

A traveling art exhibit presented by the Smithsonian Institution that explores American democracy is making its way across the commonwealth this year.

“Voices & Votes: Democracy in America” is part of the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street program in cooperation with Kentucky Humanities. The exhibit – which is based on an exhibition currently on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History called “American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith”—examines the nearly 250-year-old American experiment of government “of, by and for the people” and how each generation since continues to question how to form “a more perfect union.”

The exhibit began its tour through Kentucky at the Portland Museum in Louisville, where it ran from May 8 through June 12. It is now on display at The Center for Rural Development in Somerset, where it will be located through July 24. Subsequent stops will include: The Oldham County History Center in Lagrange (July 31-Sept. 11); The Glema Mahr Center for the Arts in Madisonville (Sept. 18-October 23); and the Wilmore Community Development Board in Wilmore (Oct. 30-Dec. 11).

The exhibit explores the action, reaction, vision and revision that democracy demands as Americans continue to question how to shape the country. Exhibition sections highlight the origins of American democracy, the struggles to obtain and keep the vote, the machinery of democracy, the right to petition and protest beyond the ballot, and the rights and responsibilities of citizens.

Voices & Votes features historical and contemporary photos, educational and archival video, multimedia interactives with short games, and historical objects like campaign souvenirs, voter memorabilia, and protest materials.

“This traveling art exhibit allows us to reflect on our history and explore what it means to be an active participant in the governance of not only the country but also this community,” said Laura Glover, managing director of marketing and events for The Center for Rural Development.

In Somerset, admission to the exhibit is free of charge. The exhibit may be viewed 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday and during extended evening and weekend hours when the building is open to the general public. The exhibit can be viewed on the weekends by calling (606) 677-6000 for an appointment.

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