MSU College of Law

Art Exhibitions at MSU Law

In December 2002, Michigan State University College of Law began showcasing the work of visual artists who raise important questions and issues confronting society. In so doing, these exhibitions have enhanced the facility as a welcoming space for students, faculty, staff and the community-at-large. The exhibits are showcased in public spaces on the 3rd and 4th floor of the Law College Building. The Law College also hosts artist lectures and receptions for the Law College community and the general public to meet the featured artists.

Following is a brief chronological overview of past exhibits, starting with the most recent exhibition.  For more information, contact the exhibition coordinator, Professor Nicholas Mercuro at or 517-432-6978.

Child Soldiers: Forced to Be Cruel

by Proof: Media for Social Justice

The Lori E. Talsky Center for Human Rights of Women and Children presented this exhibit in an effort to personalize and make more accessible the plight of child soldiers around the world. The exhibit was on display from mid-January - March 2016. The freeze-frames traumatized children in crisis. It shows them in the clutches of cruel mental pain and suffering, sometimes masked by bravado or insolence. Do not be fooled by the mask; it is the child's pathetic defense mechanism to hide a lost self inside. This exhibition is co-sponsored by MSU Project 60-50 and the MSU Residential College of Arts and Humanities. For more information about the Talsky Center's work to end child soldiering, please visit our website.

Flyer (PDF)

Art for Charlie Foundation Exhibition

The Art for Charlie Foundation is a 501(c)3 that raises money through art events to support children in hospice and families bereaved by the death of a child. The Foundation also promotes advancement of pediatric palliative care in Michigan.

With the generous participation of the Broad Art Museum, artists across Michigan were invited by the Foundation to submit entries (in digital form) for a 2D art competition that were judged (on October 28, 2015) by the Broad Art Museum’s curator - Caitlin Doherty. From some 80 entries, 20 pieces were selected for the final judging. The Art for Charlie Foundation exhibition featured all 20 pieces including the winners – 1st, 2nd and 3rd, the runners-up, and three additional entries by an artist expressing grief through art.

The exhibition was on display at the Michigan State University College of Law, 4th Floor Atrium from November 4, 2015 - December 15, 2015.

Flyer (PDF)

We Animals: Examining the Human Relationship with Animals

Photography by Jo-Anne McArthur

We Animals is part of a larger project that includes a moving photography exhibition that focuses on how animals are used in the human environment for food, clothing, research, experimentation, work, entertainment, and companionship. The project spans over a decade’s worth of work from award-winning Canadian photojournalist Jo-Anne McArthur. It uses photography to document human interactions with animals in an attempt to change the perspective of how humans view animals from simple objects or items of property into sentient beings worthy of moral significance. The We Animals project has spawned the book (We Animals) and a documentary (The Ghosts in Our Machine). The exhibition was on display at the MSU College of Law gallery area March and April 2015. As part of the show, MSU College of Law Student Animal Legal Defense Fund hosted a screening of The Ghosts in Our Machine on April 2, 2015 featuring special guest Jo-Anne McArthur.

Flyer (PDF)
Photo #1
Photo #2

Bought & Sold: Voices of Human Trafficking

by Kay Chernush, ArtWorks For Freedom

Bought & Sold: Voices of Human Trafficking speaks to the experiences and suffering of the millions of men, women and children caught up in slavery's web. By drawing on personal experiences from human trafficking survivors, Kay Chernush has created a thought-provoking, beautiful ensemble of photographic artwork. Each layered, constructed image reveals the story of a survivor of human trafficking. The exhibition challenges all of us to imagine the daily horrors, tedium, desperation, and ambiguities of their lives. It also includes impactful narratives from those who lived through the ordeal of modern slavery. Listening to their stories and looking outward through the victims’ eyes, the ensemble of work hopes not only to give voice to survivors, but to transform public attitudes and inspire anti-trafficking action.

On display from February 15, 2015 - March 31, 2015. As part of the exhibition, Kay Chernush gave a public lecture: About Human Trafficking: A Photographer at the Intersection of Art & Human Rights on March 17, 2015 at 4:00 p.m., MSU College of Law Boardroom.
Panel (PDF)
The Exhibit (PDF)

Canada’s Arctic: Vibrant and Thriving

October 19 – November 20, 2014
MSU Law, 3rd floor gallery area

The exhibit captures Canada’s North – a region as vast as it is diverse. Modern conveniences exist alongside thriving traditional cultures in a region that faces both challenges and opportunities. In light of the region’s rich natural resources, Canada’s North is poised for an unprecedented economic boom. Careful planning, however, will be necessary to achieve economic and environmental sustainability. To that end, Canada is working hard with its partners in the Arctic Council to ensure that its economic and natural resource development will be sustainable throughout the circumpolar region and that the benefits to the health and well-being of Northerners and Northern communities will be lasting.

This exhibit was organized by the Royal Canadian Geographic Society and Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada, with support from the Consulate General of Canada-Detroit. It was on display at the MSU College of Law in conjunction with the 2014 Midwest Association for Canadian Studies Conference – Common Problems, Working Solutions Across Borders held at Michigan State University College of Law on November 13th-15th, 2014.
Pic Michelle Valberg

“One of Michigan's Own: Viola Liuzzo: An Exemplary Woman in Extraordinary Times”

March 2-April 30, 2014
MSU Law, 3rd floor gallery area

Viola Liuzzo was the only white woman murdered in the civil rights movement yet we hear so little about her. She was a 39-year-old Detroit teamster's wife and mother of five, who, in 1965, joined thousands of people converging on Selma, Alabama for the March on Montgomery led by Martin Luther King, Jr. But shortly after the historic Voting Rights March had ended, while driving on a deserted highway, she was shot in the head and killed by a car full of Klansmen. This exhibition helps bring back memories of one of our own – Detroit’s Viola Liuzzo. The exhibition was on display in the third floor gallery area of the MSU College of Law from March 2014 through the end of April 2014.
Poster (PDF)
Panel (PDF)

“Black in White America”

By Leonard Freed (1929-2006)
February 25-April 30, 2014
MSU College of Law, 4th floor atrium

This is a powerful and evocative photographic essay on African American life during the Civil Rights movement. Freed's photographs present a composite of the daily lives of black people in the north and south, on the city streets, in housing projects, and in rural communities, living joyously, peacefully, and defiantly during one of the greatest social struggles of our times. The exhibition was on display in the 4th floor atrium of the MSU College of Law from February 2014 through May 2014.
Poster (PDF)
Panel (PDF)


Peckham, Inc. is a nonprofit vocational rehabilitation organization that provides job training opportunities for persons with significant disabilities and other barriers to employment. As part of the Peckham Community Partnership program, Peckham is presently in collaboration with MSU's Residential College in the Arts and Humanities and the MSU College of Engineering. This innovative program is creating a dynamic public arts project entitled Art@Work. In the fall of 2013 (October 11, 2013 - November 30, 2013), twenty five of the Art@Work paintings were on display in the 3rd floor gallery area of the Michigan State University College of Law.
Panel (PDF)
Pic (PDF)

“It Takes a Village: From Gondar to Jerusalem”

The exhibition on display May 19 - June 7, 2013 recounted the resettlement of Ethiopians from Ethiopia to Jerusalem. The striking photos depict the traditional tribal lifestyle that these Ethiopians left behind for life in a modern, high-tech, democratic society in Israel. Most of the Ethiopians emigrated from Ethiopia to Israel during two massive waves of immigration mounted by the Israeli government – "Operation Moses" in 1984 and then again during "Operation Solomon" in 1991.
Invitation (PDF)
Brochure (PDF)

“Time Out .... photographs by Trisha R. Wilcox”

Many can snap a pretty picture. Trisha Wilcox's photographs take us much further than the feelings evoked from beauty. Her work brings us to linger for a while in a state of transition between thought and emotion — a Time Out for solitude. The exhibition was on display in the third floor gallery area of the MSU College of Law from March 2013 through the end of May 2013.
Photo #1, Photo #2
Poster (PDF)

“Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts - Molly Dilworth 36 ° 30'” (2012)

This is a two-part exhibition. The four text panels describe the history and mission of an arts advocacy organization - The Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts. In addition, we have included the works of one of the many VLA Art & Law Residency artists - Molly Dilworth in her show titled 36 ° 30' These eight banner compositions are constructed from visual references to global trade and labor. Each reflects the hybrid iconography drawn from states' flags and emblems as well as the logos of companies with a relationship to the 36 ° 30' parallel, cumulatively weaving together a history of global trade.
Panels (PDF)
Poster (PDF)

“Nora Chapa Mendoza ~ Artist, Elder, Activist”

This exhibition showcases the artistic talents of Nora Chapa Mendoza. Although she began painting as a child, her career as an artist began at the age of 47. A longtime Detroit resident and social activist, Ms. Mendoza’s work often deals with themes such as conditions confronting poor people in Latin America, the plight of American Indians and migrant workers, and women's affairs. This exhibition includes her work with figures, landscapes, abstracts, and a collection of miscellaneous paintings.
Photo #1, Photo #2
Poster (PDF)

“Gardens: From the Backyard to Rooftops” (2012)

Featuring the work of Chicago artist Brad Temkin, this exhibit explored two series of photography by Temkin—“Private Places” and “Rooftop: The Rise of Living Architecture.”
Poster (PDF)

“Hope Against Odds” and “Rules” (2011)

This pair of exhibitions featured paintings of Michigan State University College of Law student Colin Darke, '04, now a practicing lawyer.
Poster (PDF)

“Give Me Your Hands: The Legacy of the Barre Sculptors and Their Stone” (2011)

This photographic exhibition by Leslie D. Bartlett documented the lives and crafts of immigrant master stone sculptors who had labored with the granite stone from the quarries of Barre, Vermont.
Poster (PDF)

“Living Under the Trees: Images from the World of Migratory Labor” (2011)

This photography exhibition by David Bacon revealed the faces of indigenous Mexican farm workers living in California with text panels and photographs of farm workers and their families.
Poster (PDF)

“Suburbia Mexicana: Cause and Effect” (2010)

“Suburbia Mexicana” is an exhibit that explores the urbanization of Mexico through photographs from Dominican-born Mexican photographer, Alejandro Cartagena.
Poster (PDF)

“Year of the Miracles: Austria and the Cold War” (2010)

Curated by Günter Bischof and Lorenz Mikoletzky and underwritten by the Austrian State Archives of Vienna, this exhibit explores Austria’s geostrategic location on the periphery of the Soviet sphere of influence and recounts the role Austria played in helping to open the iron curtain along its borders which ultimately lead to the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989.

“The Presentation of Evidence as Art” (2009)

Curated by Karl Gude, this is a unique exhibition of media images and legal graphics – some were used to tell a narrative in newspapers while others were presented as evidence in trials throughout the nation.
Poster (PDF)

“Faces from an American Dream” (2009)

This collection of photographs by Martin Desht depicts the shift from America’s industrial economy to a modern service-and information-oriented economy at the end of the twentieth century and the impact of that transformation on cities and towns and ultimately on the American dream of skilled and unskilled workers across the nation.
Poster (PDF)
Economic Justice

“Speak Truth To Power: Human Rights Defenders Who Are Changing Our World” (2009)

Curated by Kerry Kennedy and Nan Richardson, this exhibition is part of a larger project underwritten by the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial which brings people face-to-face with 35 women and men from countries across the world who are courageous defenders of human rights. These powerful portraits were taken by the Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist, Eddie Adams.

“The Innocents: Headshots” (2007)

This exhibition of 45 photographs by Taryn Simon featured headshots of individuals who had been exonerated from death row, based on DNA evidence acquired by the Innocence Project through the efforts of Peter Neufeld and Barry Scheck.
Poster (PDF)
Umbrage Editions

“Displaced Sudan: The Cost of Silence” (2006)

Much of South Sudan lies shattered and strewn across the Central and East African landscape. More than two and half million people have been killed and another five million have been internally and externally displaced by the conflict. "The Cost of Silence," a photographic exhibition by Ryan Spencer Reed collates a large body of images in order to construct a narrative of one of the most critical social issues of our time - genocide.
Poster (PDF)

“Building Islam in Detroit: Foundations, Forms, Futures” (2006)

“Building Islam in Detroit: Foundations, Forms, Futures” is a multi-media exhibition designed for public audiences in an effort to help us all understand how Detroit’s Muslim communities have evolved over time. The exhibition catalogues the diversity of Detroit’s Muslim communities as well as documenting and reinterpreting the building of mosques and the creation of Muslim spaces in Detroit as a deeply historical process.

“State of Mind” (2006)

Robert Sestok is a genuine, passionate artist who, working through sculpture and painting, seeks to achieve the realization of his subconscious and creative thoughts. As can be seen in “State of Mind”, his work is responsive to and inspired by his environment and the events of the movement.
Poster (PDF)

“Mich-ART@cmu.wmu.msu” (2005)

This art exhibition featured 46 works by student artists from Central Michigan University, Western Michigan University, and Michigan State University.
Poster (PDF)

“An American Show” (2004)

This exhibition featured the works of Detroit artist Tyree Guyton. The artist, a native of Detroit, is known for his open-air installations and paintings on Heidelberg Street where he was raised. Guyton worked to transform Heildelberg Street into a work of art, decorating houses, cars, and trees.
Poster (PDF)
The Heidelberg Project

“The Bregenz Art Exhibition” (2003)

“The Bregenz Art Exhibition” was jointly sponsored by Hankins Art Gallery and the Michigan State University College of Law in conjunction with the M.S.U.’s Kresge Art Museum and Department of Art and Art History. The show exhibited 59 paintings by Austrian artists who live in or near Bregenz, Austria.

“2nd Overture: MSU Student Art Exhibition” (2002-2003)

The first exhibition, “2nd Overture: MSU Student Art Exhibition”, was on display from December 2002 to May 2003. It included many pieces from the 2002 summer exhibition titled “Overture: MSU Student Art Exhibition” held in Bregenz, Austria. Overture was organized by Professor Nicholas Mercuro of the law college and Dr. Wilhelm Meusburger, the Director of the Association of Artists of the City of Bregenz in Austria. It featured the paintings and photographs of 21 MSU student artists and was on display in the State Parliament Building in Bregenz for six weeks. Upon return to MSU in December of 2002, that exhibition was incorporated into the “2nd Overture” which then included 57 paintings and photographs by 27 MSU student artists. Thus, “2nd Overture: MSU Student Art Exhibition” became the law college's first exhibition.