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K-State Today

March 21, 2022

K-State Libraries’ Dow Center announces new location, programming and mural

Submitted by Darchelle Martin

After the completion of a multiyear renovation project at Hale Library, the Dow Center for Multicultural and Community Studies is now located on the second floor of Hale Library in Room 240. The new location will allow the center to further its vision as a relevant and useful service advancing a deep and meaningful understanding of multiculturalism and diversity in order to create mutual awareness, respect and open a pathway for dialogue.

A new mural titled “2 Americas” now adorns the ceiling of the Dow Center. The mural is a modern-day response to the “We Are the Dream” mural, which was painted in 1980 by various multicultural student groups in the original location of the Dow Center on the fourth floor of Hale Library. “2 Americas” is a collection of work from photographers Luke Townsend and Doug Barrett, owner of 400 North Creative, which amplifies the Manhattan area voices and those enrolled at Kansas State University during the protests of civil unrest in 2020.

“Dr. Martin Luther King used the phrase, ‘the other America,’ to portray what many other social classes experience,” said Barrett. “Art with purposeful meaning is the backbone of this piece. The emotion in our imagery over the lives lost through unrest is what helped the ‘2 Americas’ piece come together.”

“As artists, it’s important that the work we create, especially around topics of injustice, be used in a way to create actualized change,” added Townsend. “Through combining art with action, our mural can help turn pain into progress by bringing people together to hold meaningful dialogue and create deeper community relationships centered around a visual foundation.”

The project was funded by Linda A. Duke, K-State Innovation Partners and Mary Vanier.

“We are so grateful to both the artists and the donors who were able to envision the impact this artwork would have on the Dow Center’s mission and future programming initiatives,” said Joe Mocnik, dean of K-State Libraries.

One of those initiatives is a civil discourse event series called Perspectives. The Dow Center has partnered with communication studies students and faculty, as well as others across campus, to host monthly conversations on various topics.

“It’s important that we are able to have conversations as a society about difficult topics, and libraries are a prime space for community events like these,” said Melia Fritch, co-coordinator of the Dow Center. “Perspectives provides a chance to share your own truth and learn about others’ experiences as well. That’s what the Dow Center is all about.”

The next Perspectives event is at 6 p.m. March 22 in the Dow Center on the topic of sexism. The event will explore cultural norms and gender stereotypes.

In addition, the Dow Center’s endowment supports cultural programming on campus and in the community that is compatible with the Dow Center’s mission. K-State affiliated organizations and groups that sponsor cultural and educational events can apply for funding online. The endowment was established in 2001 by the Dow Chemical Company. 

Visit the K-State Libraries website to learn more about how you can support the Libraries’ initiatives.