September 14 – October 22, 2021

MSU Union Art Gallery

Hunger is not just a problem in the Midwest or the nation, but rather a global issue with close Midwest ties.  As a major farming region and manufacturer of food products, we are poised to make global impacts on farming and food production, even as Midwest farmers learn from and adapt global models of farming and food production.

But we believe that communities in the Midwest are hungry for more than just food.

As budget cuts and reallocations to continued cuts of music and arts programs in schools and communities, there is a need for community composing outlets and events.

The Community Composing Project, #MidwestHungerIs, was designed to contribute to a global Midwest that better understands and engages with the practices of writing, literacy, creative storytelling, music, and the arts.

#MidwestHungerIs employed a multi-tiered format, enabling robust civic engagement for community members through artistic creation culminating in the following works on display here:

  • The #MidwestHungerIs Anthology, a collection of original works by participants responding to the question “What is hunger?” interpreted broadly.

  • Original chorale compositions made from the #MidwestHungerIs Anthology and authored by Michigan and Michigan-linked composers.

  • The Imagine Flint and Lansing REACH Photovoice projects, made by Flint youth and Greater Lansing Area teens engagements with the questions “What is hunger?” and “What do you hunger for?”

Recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted further and renewed considerations of what the Midwest hungers for in several ways, including who is most vulnerable to experiencing hunger as vital services such as school lunch programs and grocery stores have experienced interruptions, shutdowns, and shortages.

As the Midwest suffers food insecurity at levels unseen since the 2008 economic crisis, #MidwestHungerIs invites viewers to engage with the stories represented in this exhibition and consider what their relationship to hunger is and where those relationships converge or depart from the stories told here.

Please click here for more information about the project and to see the works in the show.

This exhibition is made possible thanks to support from the College of Arts & Letters 2021 Arts Launch and the MSU Writing Center. We would like to extend a special thank you to Trixie Smith, Director of the Writing Center, and Josh Kim for organizing, and sharing this project with us.

Photo by: Amari Wilson