For Assistant Professor of Fashion Design Cheryl Pope (BFA 2003, MDes 2010), art is a form of activism. Using sculpture, installation, and performance, Pope engages her community to tackle social issues.
In 2013, Pope collaborated with more than 400 teens across Chicago to create Just Yell, a series of installations responding to gun violence. Rather than proposing solutions, she created a space where outsiders could confront lived expereinces in a more direct way than offered by media outlets. Just Yell included performances from Pope's poetry troop, Poetry as Self Defense. In 2015, Pope and her Just Yell/Poetry as Self Defense collaborates performed at the White House in honor of National Juvenile Justice Awareness Month.
Most recently, Pope had a solo show titled Watch Your Step. Inspired by her work as an artist-in-residence at SAIC's Homan Square site, Pope created installations that explore how pain is inflicted, experienced, and recovered from. She also worked on a collaborative project with Homan Square residents called Sometimes I think I be dreamin', the result of community art workshops, that show the neighborhood's history and resilience. Pope's gift for confronting challenging issues and involving the community through art making is truly Beatiful/Work.