Actions Speak Louder than Words: The Philanthropy Poster Project
School of Visual Arts presents “Actions Speak Louder than Words,” an exhibition of work by MFA Illustration as Visual Essay alumni and second-year students. Curated by faculty member and alumnus Viktor Koen, “Actions Speak Louder than Words” will be on view Saturday, January 20, through Saturday, February 10, at the SVA Gramercy Gallery, 209 East 23rd Street, New York City.
Each year since 2014, MFA Illustration as Visual Essay students have been asked to research and choose a quote about philanthropy, and to interpret it in poster format, with the resulting work submitted to be considered for the Philanthropy Poster Project exhibition at the annual Stavros Niarchos Foundation International Conference on Philanthropy in Greece.
The SNF Conference on Philanthropy brings together internationally renowned speakers from the fields of academia and science, as well as representatives of other foundations and institutions. The conference aims to present best practices and discuss new developments in philanthropy. Each year’s theme varies depending on current challenges, keeping at its core the four program areas of the foundation: arts and culture, education, health and sports, and social welfare. The conference is addressed to representatives of other foundations, nonprofit organizations and institutions, as well as to all those who are interested in the role of philanthropy and social giving.
The body of work developed by MFA students, along with contributions by select design students and summer illustration residents at SVA, showcases the way young artists and designers-in-training perceive the subject of giving through literal, symbolic or purely aesthetic expressions that expand beyond the cliché and commonplace. The talented and international makeup of SVA’s student body generates a multicultural approach to the theme of philanthropy—a global sampling of ideas, quotes and expressions.
This assignment is different from the call for entries for a typical group show. In the course of preparing their submissions, the artists undertake continuous discussions about the essence of philanthropy, how to use familiar and unfamiliar quotes to reflect the concept, and how best to visually express the ideas behind the quotes. These discussions are a unique opportunity for future generations of illustrators and designers to consider the importance of philanthropy and civic responsibility, and how their talents might best be applied for the greater good, in an academic setting.