Frankie Potochick, a senior Studio Art major, received the “Most Inspiring” award at the Second Annual Social Justice Art Festival for her painting, Innocence Lost, which focuses on the issue of gun violence in America.
Potochick’s painting depicts an anatomically accurate heart covered in newsprint that reads the names of children ages 1 to 18 who passed away in early 2018 due to gun violence. By the time Potochick completed the painting in March 2018, 158 children had already lost their lives due to gun violence in their communities.
“The March for Our Lives Protest in Washington, D.C., really inspired me since a lot of young people were standing up for themselves,” Potochick said. “A lot of our leaders are not doing anything, and losing 158 children in three months is an outrageous number. It’s a huge problem more so now than it was in the past.”
The painting features five gunshots through the heart, symbolizing how the leaders of our country continue to put the lives of young people in America at risk by refusing to act on the issue of gun violence.
“These are our children and the future of our country,” Potochick said. “We are ignoring that so many of them are dying because of our neglect.”
Potochick currently is working with Associate Professor Nancy DeJoy in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures to get Innocence Lost into the Lansing Art Gallery as an interactive exhibit. which would add another panel where viewers would have the chance to write the names of loved ones they have lost due to gun violence.
Potochick will graduate in December 2019 after which she plans to take a gap year as she decides where to apply for graduate school.
MSU’s Social Justice Arts Festival, co-hosted by James Madison College and the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities, was held on January 25 in Snyder-Phillips Hall. This day-long festival featured a variety of student artworks centered on social justice issues.