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Student diversity artwork on display at Northeast

Student diversity artwork on display at Northeast

NORFOLK, Neb. – A project that was the brainchild of the Northeast Community College Student Leadership Association (SLA) two-years ago has come to fruition.

Artwork created by three students with a theme of diversity are now on display in the College’s new Union 73 on the Norfolk campus. Members of the SLA issued a challenge to their fellow students to create art pieces on what diversity means to them. The works of two students were selected in 2020 and two more entries were chosen in this year’s contest. 

Hannah Stahl, Potter, and Sam Sousek, Prague, were each awarded $200 gift certificates to the College’s Hawk Shop for their submissions in 2020. 

Stahl said her piece “The Color in Difference” was designed so that anyone looking at it can make their own assumptions about its meaning.

“What it means to me is that if you look under the groups everyone is placed into; you would see the same thing. We are all people looking to the horizon going on another day,” Stahl said. “We all have struggles, and the symbols around the eye are meant to represent those struggles. The symbol of the jellyfish is my own personal struggle that symbolizes the fact I got through in my hard times.”

Sousek said her “Be Free to Be You” work illustrates her interpretation of being free and defining who a person is.

“The human-like figure is walking away from the darkness and looking to a bright future,” she said. “The darkness is a symbol of hate and anger. The sunset is a sign of walking away from the hate, negativity and toxic relationships. Walking away, you are free to live a life of happiness and joy. In the end you are free to be you.”

Shyann Rohloff, Osmond, was selected in the 2021 contest for her piece “Stronger Together.”

“Diversity means to me that everyone who is different is better together than against one another,” Rohloff said. “I grew up being different, and I learned if we combined our differences, things went smoother.”

Stahl was chosen again in 2021 for her work, “Wings of Tranquility.”

Stahl said, “When I thought of diversity, I thought of what everyone was reaching for, peace. This symbolizes the different cultures and ethnicities all reaching for the doves (which are a symbol of peace).” 

Carissa Kollath, director of student activities and co-advisor of SLA, said SLA members created the project to reflect the different backgrounds of students across the Norfolk campus and embrace diversity.

“The students decided to hold the contest seeking submissions to demonstrate diversity as Northeast continues to enroll new students of all backgrounds, Kollath said. “They felt the artwork could be one way to highlight the entire student body with pieces of culture that they can identify with.”


                                                                      PHOTO CUTLINE 

Artwork created by Northeast Community College students is now on display in the institution’s new Union 73 on the Norfolk campus. Hannah Stahl’s “The Color in Difference” is on the left next to “Stronger Together,” by Shyann Rohloff. The pieces and two others were commissioned by the College’s Student Leadership Association to reflect what diversity means to the artists.