Art Conference 2021

Art Conference 2021

Virtual Proceedings

The aim of this annual event is to showcase the artistic and scholastic activities of the members of the SUNY Oneonta Art Department and/or guests within the School of Liberal Arts and Business during the Art Week. This year’s conference includes presentations from the Art History faculty in the Art Department, a guest artist, and undergraduate students on colonial photography, graphic design, post-war abstraction, public art during the pandemic, children’s cartoons, contemporary art exhibition, and 19th-century European art.

Links to presentations will be added to the following listing as they become available. The program below includes the complete biosketch of each speaker, description of the paper, and acknowledgments. Although this is a virtual proceeding, we are interested in your feedback and the Q&A Session link is designed to accept questions online. Please include the name of the speaker whom you wish to ask your question.

Sponsored by:

SUNY Oneonta Art Department
SUNY Oneonta Communication and Media Department
SUNY Oneonta Information Technology Services
SUNY Oneonta Martin-Mullen Art Gallery
SUNY Oneonta The School of Liberal Arts and Business
The Foundation at Oneonta, Minnie Martin and James Mullen Gallery Endowment Fund

Elizabeth Dunn

Hello! I’m Elizabeth Dunn, Dean of the School of Liberal Arts (SLA) at SUNY Oneonta. SLA houses eleven departments in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. I’m very pleased to welcome you to the Art Conference 2021 of the Art Department.

Art, artist, artistic, artifice, artisan, artisanal—how we define art is constantly changing and altering what both practicing artists and the broader public think of as art. Characterized by creativity and imagination hitched to technique, discipline, deep knowledge, and practice, defining what constitutes art is both an academic exercise and an armchair pastime.

The question immediately leads to other questions that shape our view of art. What’s the relationship between the definition of art and its production? Its consumption? Its commodification? Most recently, we’ve been asking questions about virtual and digital arts, but art has often been ephemeral—in its conception, execution, and reception.

Every generation of artists, every artist grapples with what it means to immerse oneself in artistic production, and our students are no exception. We hope you will participate in the conference as part of the uniquely human enterprise of creation, imagination, and understanding through art.

Please join me in thanking the students, staff, and faculty whose efforts made our virtual conference possible—including Dr. Pearlie Baluyut who spearheaded the effort. This conference moved online in response to public health concerns posed by the COVID-19 virus, but the results are wonderful and point to the persistence, resilience, and excellence of the entire department.

Enjoy the conference!

Dean Elizabeth Dunn, Ph.D. of The School of Liberal Arts


Opening Remarks

Elizabeth Dunn, Ph.D.

Dr. Elizabeth E. Dunn is Dean of the School of Liberal Arts and a Professor of History at SUNY Oneonta. She has always appreciated the arts as part of our overall educational experience and includes all sorts of art as components of teaching about the past. Having taught and worked in higher education at five different universities, she is very impressed with the quality and energy that characterizes the arts on this campus. Dean Dunn finds it a pleasure to be part of a learning-centered community where aesthetic sensibilities, creativity, curiosity, inclusivity, and the pursuit of larger truths shape academic life.

As Real as It Gets: Russian Colonial Photography in Central Asia

Margaret Dikovitskaya, Ph.D.

Dr. Margaret Dikovitskaya obtained her first M.A. in Art History from the Academy of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1991. A graduate of Columbia University (M.Ed.; M.Phil.; Ph.D., 2001), Margaret wrote the first dissertation on theory, methodology, and pedagogy of Visual Culture in the United States. Her first book, Visual Culture: The Study of the Visual after the Cultural Turn, was published by The MIT Press (2005; 2006) and Paideia (in Chinese, 2019). She directed three summer institutes in art history for college faculty and museum professionals at the Central European University (Open Society Foundation, Budapest). Dikovitskaya held a number of research appointments in the US and Canada (The John W. Kluge Scholarship at the Library of Congress, Washington, DC; The Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Toronto; The Izaak Walton Killam Fellowship at the University of British Columbia, Canada) and Europe (Institute for Advanced Studies in Social Sciences and Humanities, Edinburgh the United Kingdom; Collegium Budapest, Hungary; Central European University, Prague, Czech Republic). She contributed essays to the Oxford Encyclopedia of Aesthetics (Second Edition, 2014), the Handbook of Visual Culture (Berg, 2011), Constructing Race on the Borders of Europe (Bloomsbury, 2021), and academic journals.

Behind the Chevrons: The Socio-Economic Impetus and Psychological Content in Kenneth Noland’s Paintings

Samuel Havens

Samuel Havens is a senior pursuing a B.F.A. in Digital and Studio Art at SUNY Oneonta. He has maintained a status on the Dean’s List for the past four years and is set to graduate in Spring 2021. Currently, Havens works as an assistant to master printmaker Dan Welden in his Sag Harbor studio, and plans to continue his endeavors in bookmaking and printmaking. His paper entitled “Behind the Chevrons: The Socio-Economic Impetus and Psychological Content in Kenneth Noland’s Paintings” was written for ARTH 219 (Contemporary Art Since 1945) under Dr. Baluyut in Spring 2020. Havens delves into the socio-economic class struggle in America and the psychological consequence of the Second World War, exploring how these influenced the works of Color Field painter Kenneth Noland.

Illuminating Hope: Using What We Have

Nicole Hixon

Nicole Hixon is a visual artist living in Hudson Valley who works in sculpture-based public art and installation art. She has shown Public Artworks on Governors Island and is now part of the Wolfstein collection after a year-long show on the North Embarcadero, San Diego, California. Hixon’s move to the Warwick, New York was very deliberate because of its local artists and close proximity to New York City. In the summer of 2020, the local non-profit community maker space Wickham Works commissioned Hixon and eight other local artists to address the social upheaval brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic using the written word and art to help their community reconnect. Hixon collected local pieces of Warwick’s history and used the sun to illuminate hope on the local Railroad Green, the subject of her artist talk.

Working Class Struggle: The Role of Painting in Meissonier’s France

Jillian Michael Kolesar

Jillian Kolesar is a Sophomore pursuing a B.F.A. in Art and Design with a concentration in Animation/Illustration at SUNY Oneonta. She has been included on the Provost’s List since Spring 2020 and has maintained this status, along with additional awards for her academic excellence. She hopes to graduate in 2023 with aspirations of working in the video game/animation industry as a character artist. Her paper entitled “Working Class Struggle: The Role of Painting in Meissonier’s France” was written for ARTH 216 (History of 19th Century European Painting) under Dr. Baluyut in Fall 2020. It explores how French art movements were influenced by the shift of attitudes during the 19th century, caused by class inequality and social turmoil.

A Perspective on Death by Symbolist Artists Gustav Klimt and Hugo Simberg

Jan Monchaitanapat

Jan Monchaitanapat is a junior at SUNY Oneonta pursuing a B.S. in Fashion and Textiles with a concentration in Design. She hopes to spend her senior year, attending the one-year visiting program at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) for an associate degree in Textile Development and Marketing. Currently a Resident Advisor for freshmen and a freelance artist, Monchaitanapat has been included in the Provost List 2020, as well as the Dean’s List 2019-2020. Her paper “A Perspective on Death by Symbolist Artists Gustav Klimt and Hugo Simberg” was written for ARTH 200 (Language of the Visual Arts) under Dr. Dikovitskaya in Fall 2020. It explores the concept of death as a cultivator of life rather than a fearful reaper.

German Identity: The Landscape Paintings of Caspar David Friedrich

Rebeca Oprea

Rebeca Oprea is a senior at SUNY Oneonta pursuing a B.A. in English with a concentration in Literature and a minor in Art History. After graduating, she hopes to obtain a graduate degree in Library and Information Sciences in Albany, New York. Her paper “German Identity: The Landscape Paintings of Caspar David Friedrich” was written for ARTH 216 (History of 19th Century European Painting) under Dr. Baluyut in Fall 2020. This paper examines the development of German identity as influenced by the Romantic principles of 19th-century Europe.

The Importance of LGBTQIA+ Representation in Children’s Cartoons

Gabrielle Peña

Gabrielle Peña is a senior pursuing a B.S. in Mass Communications with a focus in Production at SUNY Oneonta. She has been included in the Provost List in Fall 2019 and has since maintained a status on the Dean’s List. She is graduating this Spring 2021 and hopes to begin a career in communications. Peña’s paper “The Importance of LGBTQIA+ Representation in Children’s Cartoons” was written for ARTH 200 (Language of the Visual Arts) under Dr. Dikovitskaya in Fall 2020. It explores how diversity in cartoon characters encourages tolerance and kindness among children.

Q & A Session

Pearlie Rose S. Baluyut, Ph.D.

Dr. Pearlie Rose S. Baluyut received her B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. in Art History from the University of California, Los Angeles. A two-time Fulbright U.S. Scholar, a Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellow, and a Faculty Learning Community Participant through the NEH Humanities Initiative Grant, Baluyut is co-editor of Confrontations, Crossings, and Convergence: Photographs of the Philippines and the United States, 1898-1998 (UCLA, 1998) and author of Institutions and Icons of Patronage: Arts and Culture in the Philippines during the Marcos Years, 1965-1986 (UST Publishing House, 2012). She has taught art history, critical theory, and museum studies at ten institutions in the United States, France, and the Philippines, served as Arts Advisor at the National Museum of the Philippines, and was appointed by the Department of Foreign Affairs as Project Manager/Curator of the Philippines at the Venice Biennale. She was also the Chair of the International Committee at the College Art Association in 2018-2020. This is her fifth year organizing the annual Art Conference at SUNY Oneonta.

Closing Remarks

Yolanda Sharpe

Prof. Yolanda Sharpe obtained her B.F.A. in Painting and Printmaking and B.A. in Art History from Michigan State University and M.F.A. from Wayne State University, respectively. Her paintings and drawings have been exhibited in various galleries and museums at home and abroad. Her encaustic paintings, some of which captures Detroit’s beauty, decay, and re-ruralization, is a study of relationships between the physicality of paint, wood constructions, and color structures of space. Representing a massive and substantial permanence that is both solid and diaphanous, each painting appears to crumble on the surface within long passages of time. Sharpe’s current work aspires to combine the urban and rural areas of upstate New York. A U.S. Fulbright Scholar in 2010-2011, she taught and exhibited in Russia’s Siberian city, Krasnoyarsk. Sharpe is the recipient of the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching and serves as Professor and Chair of the Art Department at SUNY Oneonta.


Yolanda Sharpe

We acknowledge the contributions of faculty, guests, and student presenters. Thank you for your hard work and commitment to research and intellectual exchange.

Also, myself, our faculty members, and students of the Art Department are very pleased that art historian Dr. Pearlie Baluyut continues to serve as the coordinator and moderator of this Art Conference. She designed the format for research and worked closely with students who prepared their papers and presentations. We are, therefore, thankful for her dedication, expertise, and encouragement to the students who participated in this wonderful Art Conference. We also thank the students who worked so diligently on their research papers because we know they spent months in preparation for their presentations at this Conference. Students, your research is focused, clear, energized, and vibrant. Congratulations to all of you for your part in helping to make this Art Conference come together so beautifully!

Our second online conference is a wonderful event to remember for a very long time. Please be assured that more opportunities for students and faculty to participate in this venue will occur in the future.

Yolanda Sharpe, Chair of the SUNY Oneonta Art Department


Questions & Answers

From: Kristen Papitto

This is a question for: Nicole Hixon

My question is: I too have a similar love to the idea of a found objects being used in art, taking something that would usually be considered useless and transforming it into something that transcends meaning for those viewing and creating. I’m wondering as you demonstrate your success in creating for a community what advise you can give to help a newer artist get more involved in the artistic community or how they can seek opportunity in their community?


Hi Kristen,

Thanks for reaching out and inquiring about how to get more involved in your community and public art. The answer to your questions lies in your own curiosity- reaching out! Making relationships with local artists is a great way to get more involved. I was fortunate that my mentors not only introduced me to places (like Storm King Art Center) and artists but also allowed me to assist in creating their work for projects. Working as an assistant was an invaluable way for me to learn skills, ask questions and get a foot into the world of public art.

You can start by searching locally for opportunities to show. States, cities, towns, and parks all tend to have funding for the arts and look for artists to apply for opportunities. Just googling “Oneonta artist opportunities” brought me here to this link the call is over but it looks like a great place to investigate what’s happening locally.

I’d love to see what materials you have transformed and that brings me to another point- a website! Often times I have people contact me for a show because of my online presence. Be sure to photograph your ALL your work and get friendly with the hashtags. There’s nothing like opening an email and getting an invite to exhibit.

Keep on making and feel free to reach out to me at anytime! *see what I did there ;)
~Nicole Hixon

From: Jillian Michael Kolesar

This is a question for: Nicole Hixon

My question is: Hearing you recount the story of how Chakaia Booker's tire sculpture was so influential to you as a young artist was really inspiring! Between growing up in NYC and then attending college across the country in Southern California, how would you say being exposed to different artistic peers and communities has influenced your work, and what is the biggest difference between the artistic cultures of NY and CA?



Your question takes me back and puts a HUGE smile on my face reminiscing of these times. When I went to Storm King and ‘met Chakia’ a group of muddy ceramic friends and I piled into a vintage VW Bus with our ceramics professor and hit the road for a day of art and adventure. We stopped at a cheese shop and grabbed a bottle of wine (I was 21 of course!) It was a day that forever changed my life.

Those early days I was surrounded mostly by potters at a Community College. We went to the opening of an envelope! If there was an art opening we were there, spur of the moment or last minute, didn’t matter. We were always together and traveled in a pac of artists. NYC, Long Island, Queens, Brooklyn we went to them all. It was a lot of fun.

California was a different vibe entirely. I moved out there with my potter boyfriend (my husband now) and we found a new tribe but the culture wasn’t the same. California required a lot more planning. I’m not sure if it was because of the culture or there just being so much more surface area to travel but trips became destinations and not journeys as they were in NY. Los Angeles, Pomona, San Diego and Palm Springs all have art communities and we would travel to these areas but not as frequently. I thought NY had the worst traffic in the world and then I moved to Southern California! Things just take longer there.

And as far as influencing my work? EVERYTHING influences my work! every experience you have all add up to who you are in the present and these pieces cannot be separated. Sometimes I know exactly (or think I know) why I make something and other times I just need to make it. It’s in the introspection that you begin to connect the dots to the “why” and sometimes it is after a critique or a conversation with a viewer that prospective becomes clearer.

Thanks for the question and enjoy the ride!
~Nicole Hixon

From: Gia Oppedisano

This is a question for: Nicole Hixon

My question is: First, I would like to say how much I loved your presentation, and as an art student, found your presentation very inspiring as you discussed your inspirations, your story, and your artistic journey. Speaking for myself, I have and will always have a strong passion for art, but throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, I have struggled to find the motivation to create pieces and to feel inspired, causing doubt in myself and my path as an artist. Drawing from your own personal experience as an artist, my question for you is, what advice would you give the upcoming artistic generation who may be feeling blocked or have doubts about their future in the art community?


Oh, my dearest Gia,

Every artist I know feels this way at some point in their career. Whether it be due to the isolation of Covid or just “Life.” There have been several moments in my own journey where I question my own practice, value and if I am a fraud by calling myself an artist.

My advise- just live! and if you want to make- MAKE!

I know people who would say "make everyday until it comes back" but that didn’t work for me. In my lulls I can go on hiatus for a while (years even) and in my highs I’m cranking work out. I can’t force my process and a lot of that has to do with my practice and feelings of waste and consumption.

Seeing and experiencing art is also a great way to get me back in. As is being surrounded by creatives, there is almost an osmosis effect with this- try it!

I’m so glad you enjoyed my presentation and that it inspired you. Please feel free to keep in touch and lastly if you want to create something, anything, just make it and don’t question the “why.” That's when some of my best work is produced.

Tale care in these stressful times, hopefully I was able to “illuminate HOPE"
~Nicole Hixon

From: Dylan Guilfoyle

This is a question for: Jillian Kolesar

My question is: "You mentioned that "The Barricade" was titled differently in the Paris Salon due to the event in the piece being fresh in the mind of the Parisians. That being said, if the piece was titled "June" like Meissonier's original intention, do you think the piece would make a different impact on the public?"

Response: Hi Dylan, that’s a great question! “The Barricade” seemed to have been originally titled “June” because the specific scene he rendered occurred during the June riots of 1848. Though originally wanting to display it in the Salon of 1849, with it being such a graphic painting with such a definitive title, there were worries it would have been “too soon” as the bloody events unfolded happened quite recently and lacked a satisfying conclusion for the working class. Because the painting was so graphic and a statement specifically about French culture/military bloodshed, it is hard to say whether a different title would have truly changed the public impact; even art critic Théophile Gautier admitted this piece was “this trusty truth that no-one wants to tell.” Regardless of the title, the most important factor is that it was publicly displayed for viewers far and wide to see, its influence so crucial we are still discussing it to this day.

From: Jillian Curyllo

This is a question for: Jillian Michael Kolesar

My question is: “Without these paintings would the riots and awareness of the harsh conditions the working class faced have happened? Were the paintings the most influential at the time?”

Response: Hi Jillian, thanks for your question! Though “The Barricade” painting served as visual evidence for historians to understand what the French working class underwent during this time, it was not a catalyst for the riots - merely a snapshot of reality. However, because the Salons were so well attended (especially by the upper class) I do believe it may have had an impact in terms of French aristocracy actually realizing the bloodshed on the streets. Depending on one’s situation and political views, this painting could have been seen as an homage to the working-class Parisians who died during the rebellion, or contrarily as a warning to future rebels that this was their fate if the street riots continue. Paintings were incredibly influential at this time - the greatest form of visual culture, which is why the Salon was quite selective in terms of which paintings were allowed for display. Having “The Barricade” displayed was an important service for the French public, the Realist art movement, and Meissonier’s career.

From: Tara Tassio

This is a question for: Jan Monchaitanapat

My question is: : I really enjoyed listening to your paper, the topic was very intriguing and thought-provoking. In doing your research did you come across any contemporary art pieces (artwork of today) that support/relate to your thesis? If not, were there other pieces you considered that reflected this perspective on death?

Response: Hi Tara, thank you for the question. I picked these two paintings because I have learned about the artists and seen their works before in some of my previous classes. I tried looking up different perspectives on death in a more hopeful tone but could not find much. I did choose these paintings very earlier on in my research, so I probably didn’t do much of an in depth on other paintings, the only other example I found was by Marianne Stokes called “Death and the young Maiden,” I did however consider some of Simberg’s other works on death like “Dancing with Death” and “Death Listens.” For contemporary artists, I know one who portrays death and skeletons in a short love story comic dealing with depression, but they are not mainstream. Her name is Haenuli, and she is a Korean artist and fashion designer from Korea. She uses her depiction of death to cope with mental health and depression, sharing comforting art pieces in her blog and storybook which I think many people can relate to.

From: Shannon Tanner

This is a question for: Jan Monchaitanapat

My question is: Could the portrayal of death in the paintings of Klimt and Simberg be a celebration of life; with Klimt's death looking on life with interest and Simberg's death as gardener monks taking care of various plants? Do you think that this positive portrayal of death could be a more useful teaching material going forward in discussions of life and death in academic or religious settings?


Hi Shannon! Thank you for the question. I would definitely agree that in Klimt’s persona of death, he is looking at life with interest because unlike people, death has no real emotion or attachment to “living” as humans would know it. I do think that there is an interesting perspective to be said about life and death in artworks that I personally have not really seen being taught or discussed in teaching material, although I have only taken a few art history base classes. I believe different religions and cultures view these perspectives in different ways. My religion is Buddhism and I personally believe that having positive discussions about death and the nature of it can be useful because it alleviates the term death from being associated as a taboo or omen of bad luck.

From: Jayla Iodice

This is a question for: Jan Monchaitanapat

My question is: : I think your presentation did a great job in embodying the overall theme of death and the beauty of life, growth, and love in the works of Gustav Klimt and Hugo Simberg. Do you think these artists' depictions of death explain their views on what they believe afterlife will look like? And why do you think these artists believe that death is more virtuous than life as depicted in the oil painting 'Death and Life'?

Response: Hi Jayla! Thank you so much for the question and compliment! Having read a bit about each of the artists’ backgrounds, Simberg and Klimt’s travels and social lives heavily influenced their views on death and life. I think the journey of Klimt’s painting tells his views of death in a very interesting was because he changed the pose of the skeleton a few times before it came to look like the image I showed. He purposefully made death more active in the painting and I think that shows how he feels the idea of death to be more of a guide to the afterlife because death is a part of the cycle of life. The circular manner of their little pod depicts the life cycle and death is a part of that cycle as he is also in an arch hunch, even though he is not a physical part of it.

From: Enola Francisco

This is a question for: Jan Monchaitanapat

My question is: Do you believe that the symbolism in these works, of death as non-malevolent has helped normalize the idea of death and appease those who are scared?

Response: Hi Enola, thank you for the question! I think that these paintings do have more positive reception on the notion of death because of the symbolism used especially in Simberg’s garden. We tend to associate nature with nurture and flowers with peace and fragility, which I think Simberg highlights very well in his painting to show the calmness and harmlessness of the skeletons being gardeners. He was also famous in Finland for his various depictions of death and angels in a whimsical and lighter tone. In Klimt's case, his use of space and shapes to create intimacy between the people huddled together, also helps ease one’s mind when looking at his work because your eyes will be guided towards the group of people.

From: Rebeca Oprea

This is a question for: Jan Monchaitanapat

My question is: How does the choice of medium in both paintings affect the symbolism and or the optimistic outlook on death you saw in the works?


Hello Rebeca, thank you for the question! I believe the choice and colors represented help create more symbols and optimistic views on death. Klimt’s oil painting has very pure and bright colors, especially surrounding the pod of people creating a calming and sweet scenery. The shapes and various strokes of detail make the group come to life, like there is a light source shining on them, especially the women and baby. The geometric shapes clothed them in color and patterns that draw the eyes to the various poses of the women hugging the baby, the man hugging a beloved one, etc. Simberg’s painting of watercolor and gouache gives off a more monotonous and ethereal vibe because his color scheme is very limited. I think he intentionally painted the garden in golds, oranges, and browns to bath the painting in the warmth of sunlight. To me the painting is like that of an eternal sunset because it is not too bright, yet the sun has not set. The warmer colors bring a comforting feel for the eyes because nothing stands out as much besides the robes of the skeletons.

Thank you,

From: Tyler Pegg

This is a question for: Gabrielle Peña

My question is: Do you think the existence of queer-coded characters prior to the existence of shows like Steven Universe and She-Ra were positive or necessary representation to an uninformed world, or do you think the existence of these coded characters was meant to villainize the LGBT due to a significant margin of them being in a villainous position?

Response: Hello Tyler, thank you for the question. I think, in the past, queer coded characters were often negative because they were largely villains in these stories. Characters like Ursula in The Little Mermaid or HIM from Powerpuff Girls are just two examples of many that portrayed queer coded characters as bad, so I would have to say that those characters were meant to villainize the LGBT+ community and were not positive.

From: Emily Hale

This is a question for: Gabrielle Pena

My question is: "I loved your presentation, and my attention was caught by your observation of the differences between Steven Universe and She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. Which show's method of utilizing the concept of empathy do you think could have the strongest impact on opening the minds of our society? Is it Steven Universe, where the concept of being understanding of another's perspective is encouraged early and the enemies become friends fairly quickly? Or is it She-Ra, where the enemies go through a much more bumpy relationship and it takes them much longer for them to begin to empathize for each other? I ask because one could say She-Ra's method teaches viewers that mending or developing relationships will not always go smoothly, and not everyone will open up or empathize right off the bat, but love, care, and effort will help them get there."

Response: Hello Emily, thank you for the question. My personal opinion might be bias but I’ll share that I think Steven Universe’s method of utilizing the concept of empathy could have the strongest impact on opening the minds of our society. I say this because the characters on this show faced many different obstacles and villains who were upset for different reasons, so we got to see many different uses of empathy with the array different characters. Additionally, there is a relationship in Steven Universe that took seasons to somewhat reconcile, so we get a similar feel to She-ra between Steven and the gem Jasper.

From: Shane Black

This is a question for: Gabrielle Pena

My question is: Do you think the negative influences in today's society such as racism and crime will have any effect on people’s ability to be understanding and accepting even if it isn't the social "norm".

Response: Hello Shane, thank you for the question. I think as long as issues of racism and crime exist, they will always have a negative effect on people’s abilities to be understanding and accepting of all people. I think people can still be understanding but to a certain extent but this world we are currently living in needs more than that.

From: Ashley Pink

This is a question for: Gabrielle Peña

My question is: A main theme for the duration of the show Steven Universe is about empathy and as a children’s show, the “my enemy is my friend” attitude is heavily pushed as you stated in your presentation. Understandably the objective is to teach children to have empathy and understanding, but this way of thinking may teach children to not hold people accountable for their mistakes. Should future children shows always push for complete empathy from their characters or should these shows also represent scenarios where the “my enemy is my friend” perception ultimately fails?

Response: Hello Ashley, thank you for the question I think you make a great point. I think maybe there can be more accountability in children’s shows in relation to being forgiving and empathetic. In Steven Universe we can kind of see this in Jasper and Lapis’ relationship where Lapis is unwavering in her lack of desire to ever reconcile with Jasper after being forced into a toxic relationship. I think it was a great message about how not everyone deserves to be forgiven and I think we could use a few more of those stories.

From: Hannah Davis

This is a question for: Gabrielle Pena

My question is: Do you think it will still be a struggle for acceptance of the LGBTQIA+ in younger children if parents have control over what shows their kids watch? Is it a possibility as more inclusive shows come out, the parents of the kids at that time will be a new generation who accepts the LGBTQIA+ community?

Response: Hi Hannah, thank you for the question. I think there are a lot of things to factor into this question but there is a possibility that parents will prevent their children from watching these inclusive shows which might influence their acceptance if the LGBTQIA+ community. I think there is still lots of space for these kids who might be banned from watching these shows to learn acceptance just by being in the real world. As for your second question, I would love if children today who watch these inclusive cartoons grow up to be a generation of parents who are accepting of the LGBTQIA+ community and yes, I do think there’s a possibility for this to happen.

From: Jayla Iodice

This is a question for: Gabrielle Peña

My question is: In your presentation you discuss expressive theory and how creators like Rebecca Sugar and Noelle Stevenson have utilized this through children's cartoons. I agree that it is important to have LGBTQIA+ representations in media, however, do you believe this level of depth in the experiences of adults finding themselves and discovering how they choose to be identified, is a bit of a difficult concept for children to understand, considering the differences in maturity and intellectual level?

Response: Thank you for your question Jayla. I don’t think these experiences would be a difficult concept for children to understand because the show creators simplify it and make it more appropriate for children to understand. I think some of the concepts for younger kids might be taken passively and go right over their heads but humans are largely active consumers of media so I believe it’s important for the creators to include these things.

From: Emma Regina

This is a question for: Gabrielle Pena

My question is: What made you choose these two cartoons (the target audience being children) out of other kid-oriented shows that depict the LGBTQIA+ community? Was it because these two were both revolutionary, and/or was it due to both shows ending recently?

Response: Hello Emma, thank you for your question. I chose these two cartoons out of other kid-oriented shows that depict the LGBTQIA+ community because they are both shows I watched in their entirety and felt confident enough to educationally discuss them. The reason I watched them in the first pace was because they were like nothing I have ever seen before. I hadn’t seen many openly LGBT+ characters in cartoon so I had to watch them, and I do think they were revolutionary, especially considering Steven Universe made history by having the first ever mainstream cartoon same-sex wedding.


This is a question for:

My question is:


Back to top