Beyond Pomp & Circumstance to the Problems of our Time

Though graduation came without the expected pomp and circumstance, this year gave the Class of 2020 plenty to think about.

We graduated remotely, as the pandemic kept Chicago under a stay-at-home order, just two weeks after George Floyd’s murder ignited cries for systemic change across the country, and those are only two of the major events that framed Convocation on June 13th, 2020. Having an unexpectedly historic year as the backdrop to a critical milestone left us with many feelings to explore and questions to ponder. How has this year affected me, my friends, and the world at large? What comes next?

As an intern with the Public Practice department at the Smart Museum of Art, I developed this project to ask a few students from the University of Chicago's Class of 2020 to channel their anxiety, confusion, and optimism into the art pieces gathered here. In their own way, each looked beyond the (missing) pomp and circumstance to confront the problems of our time.

—Brooklyn Jamerson-Flowers, former Museum Educator and Metcalf Intern for Public Practice, Smart Museum of Art