Art As Advocacy

Trinity believes that art – visual and performing – can help people see a social justice issue in a new way. We seek to offer the community art which invites people to consider a vulnerable community’s perspective and to encourage advocacy on behalf of those who are marginalized. Trinity frequently sponsors art installations and exhibitions that have a strong social justice component.

Upcoming Events


Keep It Reel: Film Project and Festival

Saturday, June 1, 2019 at 6:00pm | St. Paul's Chapel

Keep It Reel

In celebration of the 30th anniversary of Spike Lee’s influential film Do the Right Thing, Trinity Church Wall Street is hosting Keep It Reel: Teens Facing Race Through Film, a filmmaking project and festival for neighborhood public high school students.

Join us for the film festival on June 1, 2019 at 6pm, to see how youth use cinema to explore the intersections of race, morality, and their own lived experiences as public high school students in District 2, New York City’s most segregated school district. This dynamic program includes five original short films, a Q&A panel with filmmakers, and the making-of Keep It Reel documentary by Trinity's advocacy apprentices. For more information and to RSVP, visit the Keep It Reel page.

 

Past Projects


Felon: Poems and Other Selected Readings

With poet, author, and advocate Dwayne Betts

Thursday, May 2nd at 6:00pm | Shirley Fiterman Art Center at BMCC/CUNY
81 Barclay Street, New York, NY 10007

Dwayne Betts Poetry

Reginald Dwayne Betts knows the hazards of incarceration firsthand. Arrested at age sixteen, Betts served nine years in an adult prison, coming of age behind bars. Art and education was his pathway to healing from his involvement in the criminal justice system.  Today, Betts is a poet, a scholar, and a nationally recognized advocate for the criminal justice system, juvenile justice, and prison reform. Betts has been featured in The New York Times, The New Yorker, and the Washington Post, and interviewed on NPR’s Fresh Air, The Travis Smiley Show and several other national shows. He has spoken or appeared on panels at Harvard Law School, Yale Law School, Georgetown Law School, the University of Maryland, other higher education institutions and numerous conferences across the country.

His upcoming book Felon: Poems tells the story of one man in fierce, dazzling poems— canvassing his wide range of emotions and experiences through homelessness, underemployment, love, drug abuse, domestic violence, fatherhood, and grace. In doing so, creates a travelogue for an imagined life. Betts confronts the funk of post-incarceration existence and examines prison not as a static space, but as a force that enacts pressure throughout a person's life. Challenging the complexities of language, Betts animates what it means to be a "felon."

The session featured Betts reading selections from his work, examining our troubled criminal justice system and presenting promising ideas for reform from his own experience and personal transformation. Trinity is proud to welcome the author to BMCC as he keynotes the Reentry/Entry Symposium: Pedagogy, Programs, and Policies that Support and Sustain Justice-Involved CUNY Students.

 

Pauli Murray: Imp, Crusader, Dude, Priest

February 17– March 21, 2018, Saint Paul’s Chapel
Opening Reception, March 1

Pauli Murray (1910-1985) was the first African-American woman to be ordained an Episcopal priest. Throughout her life, Pauli Murray was a leading human rights activist, historian, attorney, poet, and teacher. The great-granddaughter of slaves and slave owners, Pauli Murray became an advisor to presidents Roosevelt and Kennedy and a lifelong friend of Eleanor Roosevelt. Fifteen years before Rosa Parks refused to stand, Murray refused to sit in the back of a bus, and 20 years before the Greensboro sit-ins, she organized restaurant sit-downs in Washington, D.C., while a law student at Howard University. She was the first African-American awarded a doctorate of law from Yale University (who recently named a college for her), and a co-founder of the National Organization for Women (NOW).  In 2012, she was named an Episcopal saint.

Trinity Church is joined by the Pauli Murray Center in Durham, North Carolina in presenting an interactive exhibit about Murray’s life and legacy. The exhibit was open February 17-March 21, 2018.

A play about Pauli Murray’s life, To Buy the Sun, was presented in Saint Paul’s Chapel on April 5, 6, and 7 at 7pm and on April 7 at 2pm. More information can be found below.

 

To Buy the Sun

To Buy the Sun: The Challenge of Pauli Murray

Thursday, April 5-Saturday April, 7 at 7pm
Saturday, April 7 at 2pm
St Paul’s Chapel

 

To Buy the Sun, an original play by Lynden Harris, explores Pauli Murray’s extraordinary life and the challenge she offers us all.

The play opens on an evening in 1977, as Pauli Murray returns to the old family home for the first time in decades to reflect on the life and times of America and her place in its history. As Pauli Murray revisits old haunts and old friends, from Harlem to Harvard and Eleanor Roosevelt to Betty Friedan, the purpose of her life takes on a new and unexpected shape. Learn more.

Major sponsors for the spring 2018 tour of To Buy the Sun: The Challenge of Pauli Murray are Trinity Church Wall Street and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. To Buy the Sun is a collaborative effort of the Pauli Murray Project at the Duke Human Rights Center/FHI, the Pauli Murray Center for History and Social Justice and Hidden Voices. Drawn from original works by Pauli Murray with permission of the Pauli Murray Foundation.

Learn more about Pauli Murray herehere, and here.

 

Stations of the Cross

An Art Exhibition across Manhattan in 14 Iconic Destinations
February 14 – April 1, 2018

People of all faiths and spiritualities are invited on a creative and contemplative journey through Manhattan to consider injustice across the human experience.

Stations of the Cross presents a pilgrimage comprised of 14 art stations, from the Cloisters to the 9/11 Memorial. Each location presents a new work of art or adds a fresh perspective to an existing memorial, highlighting the contemporary relevance of the Passion, Jesus’ final hours.

Traditionally, the Stations of the Cross have served to evoke empathy with those who suffer, as Jesus did, at the hands of injustice. This year’s exhibit focuses on the experience of immigrants and refugees, exploring feelings of despair, exploitation, abandonment, and hope. 

Learn more and plan your tour at artstations.org.


Other exhibits include Blood Mirror, a sculpture and video installation protesting the FDA ban on blood donations from non-celibate gay men, the photography exhibit Episcopal Relief & Development: Seventy Five Years of Healing, and Another Day Lost, an installation that evoked the plight of Syrian refugees.