KU Libraries' "Sitting in a Circle" exhibition to open March 10 in Haricombe Gallery

The University of Kansas Libraries will open a new exhibition in Watson Library’s Haricombe Gallery on March 10. “Sitting in a Circle” showcases the creative work and reflections generated by students and faculty as they engage with the 2021-22 KU Common Book, “Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teaching of Plants.”

The exhibition highlights KU faculty members and students who have used the Common Book throughout this academic year to create assignments, showcasing different projects faculty members created with their students. The “Sitting in a Circle” exhibition will also give attention to other Common Book-related opportunities, including the Common Work of Art, a Braiding Sweetgrass Walking Tour and the university’s Native Medicinal Plant Garden.

“Braiding Sweetgrass seems to have touched people in a profound way,” said Sarah Goodwin Thiel, KU Libraries associate librarian and curator of “Sitting in a Circle.” “Kimmerer’s gentle and insightful writing has clearly influenced the students and faculty we have reached out to and has made our task of curating campus Common Book assignments a real pleasure. I would say we have all been moved through our engagement with the book.”

Since 2009, the Haricombe Gallery has showcased the interdisciplinary scholarship and creative work of KU and community scholars surrounding selected themes. The gallery is currently undergoing a renovation, which will take it from a print-based display to a virtual viewing space. Online exhibits, story maps and other technology will allow visitors to take a deeper look into the research of the KU community.

The public can enjoy the opening reception for “Sitting in a Circle” as either an in-person experience or virtually, via Zoom. The in-person event will begin at 5:30 p.m. March 10 with a cocktail reception in Watson Library, Third Floor West. The program’s panel discussion on “Storytelling through Public Art'' will begin at 6:15 p.m. The discussion will be moderated by Melissa Peterson, (Diné), KU director of tribal relations. Panelists will include Saralyn Reece-Hardy, director of the Spencer Museum of Art; Alicia Kelly, City of Lawrence Art+Culture+Crossings coordinator; and Tweesna Mills, (Shoshone-Yakama-Umatilla Nations), graduate student in film & media studies. This event is free and open to the public. Masks will be required. Those who plan to attend in person or via Zoom will need to RSVP online by March 1. Email Kelly Spavin-Silvermintz at libevents@ku.edu for more information.

The exhibition will be on display until Aug. 31, 2022. and can be explored online here.