Skip to main content

Art Exhibitions onUnderstanding
the Emotional Force of Race


Oct. 29, 2020 —  Northern Kentucky University invites community members to virtually explore the themes and emotional force behind social unrest with its exhibition, “The Emotional Force of Race: An Exhibition and Call for Creative Response,” featuring the Mourning the Creation of Racial Categories project.

Led by Sociology Professor Dr. Joan Ferrante and by poet India Hackle, a May 2020 graduate, the project uses arts' transformative power to challenge assumptions about who we are and seeks to contribute to the national conversation around social unrest and racial disparities.

The ongoing project began as a five-part documentary series. However, with NKU’s blended learning format in the fall semester, the project found a new way to expand and showcase the campus community’s work. Dr. Ferrante, Hackle and NKU’s School of the Arts (SOTA) worked with over 125 student and faculty artists across campus to create an exhibition of collaborative pieces of art that help to understand the sources of implicit bias, spark conversations and enable positive change.

”For many, race is something that just is and has always been. This is a new approach to an important conversation that needs to be had in our communities,” said Dr. Ferrante. “Until we understand why and how racial categories matter and its impact, we cannot address the weight they put on our relationships and communities.”

In addition to NKU’s SOTA and College of Arts and Sciences, the project receives local and national support to produce the films.

“We are at a pivotal point in our history. We must continue working together to address the systemic racism that disproportionally impacts the livelihoods of communities of color. The exhibition is an invaluable opportunity to deepen your understanding and expand your world view with of race,” said President Ashish Vaidya.

Curated by Hackle and Dr. Ferrante, the interactive exhibition is free and open to all community members. To register and learn more about the project, visit NKU’s School of the Arts website.


About NKU: Founded in 1968, we are a growing metropolitan university of more than 15,000 students served by more than 2,000 faculty and staff on a thriving suburban campus near Cincinnati. Located in the quiet suburb of Highland Heights, Kentucky—just seven miles southeast of Cincinnati—we have become a leader in Greater Cincinnati and Kentucky by providing a private school education for a fraction of the cost. While we are one of the fastest growing universities in Kentucky, our professors still know our students' names. For more information, visit