Accessibility Navigation:


NOVA Art Students Collaborate with Alexandria's Freedom House

Starting on June 20, an exhibit titled Determined in Alexandria featuring portraits by NOVA students from the Alexandria Campus will be on display at the Freedom House Museum. This exhibit accompanies Determined: The 400-Year Struggle for Black Equality, a traveling exhibition from the Virginia Museum of History and Culture in honor of prominent African Americans who provided significant contributions to civil liberties and social justice in the United States from the eighteenth century to the present day. Determined in Alexandria will offer the same examination, but specifically in relation to Alexandria, and includes artifacts, student portraits, historical information and statements from the students about what their participation meant to them.

The initiative to partner students with the Freedom House was led by Professor Stacy Slaten, who teaches art at the Alexandria Campus, along with Dean Jimmie McClellan, in collaboration with Freedom House historian Apasrin Suvanasai and curator Michele Longo.

The portraits that the students created are oils and acrylic on stretched canvas, using a palate knife technique, as opposed to a brush. “That technique,” Professor Slaten explained, “gives the paintings a more contemporary look than most traditional museum portraits.”

The Freedom House used to house a trading firm that trafficked thousands of Black men, women and children from 1828-1861. It was converted to a museum dedicated to honoring and understanding “the lives and experiences of enslaved and free Black people who lived in and were trafficked through Alexandria.”

Determined will showcase the tremendous courage and accomplishments of Alexandria’s African Americans,” said Professor Slaten. “We hope that by highlighting the past through these portraits and addressing past trauma, we change the future.”

Tickets are currently available through the Alexandria Shop. For residents of Alexandria, admission is free.