We the People

Maria Tarry

As an English As A Second Language teacher I have had the privilege of getting to know many different families from all over the world that have chosen to make the United States their home for a variety of reasons. We are a nation of immigrants, and I believe this diversity is one of our greatest strengths.

We the people, the opening words to The Constitution, are symbolic of the power of our collective voice as Americans. By presenting these famous words in some of the many beautiful languages that make us collectively "the people", I hope to honor and acknowledge a portion of the voices that make up the American experience.

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Empathy for Bipartisanship

In anticipation of the 2020 Presidential Debate held on Belmont University's campus, creators from across the United States of America crafted their own Unity Flag in order to promote empathy for bipartisanship.

The overarching idea of the Unity Flag Project is to build “purple empathy” through the visual arts...

The formation of purple is an optical blending of blue and red coming together to engage in civil bipartisan discourse through the visual arts.

The Flag Artwork

Purple empathy is the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another’s political views, political experiences, political opinions, political understandings, political intentions, and political decisions.

nelson, M.B. 2017

In the News View Virtual Gallery
Ainsley Harlan, Alexandra Harlan, and Macy Ferguson
Alexandra Muddle
Alison Miller and Nancee Wright
Dr. Amanda Alexander
Amy and Jeff Petit
New York
Angela Soto
South Carolina
Anna Bullock
Bailey & Cassie Sipes
Collins Meldahl
Robert Nusbaum Center
The Boyce Family & Genie Arnot
Hazel Anne B N, Maribelle B N, and Dr. Meaghan Brady Nelson
Holly Grosshans
Rhode Island
Iko Souza and Dr. Shana Cinquemani
Izzy Healey
Jackie Tingle
New Mexico
Dr. Justin Makemson
Dr. Kate Collins, LaVerne Miers-Bond, and Ana MarĂ­a Economou
Kimberly Dummons
Lane Carnell
Dr. Laura Hetrick
Lauren Dingmann
2nd Grade Girl Scout Troup #1486 & Dr. Meaghan Brady Nelson
New Jersey
Liz Tenny
Mara Tillman
Maria Tarry
Dr. Meaghan Brady Nelson
Dr. Mindi Rhoades
Montana Collaborative Project
Dr. Patty Bode
Robert Sweeny, Stella Sweeny, Luca Sweeny, and Dr. Marissa Sweeny
Rose Hamel and Dr. Cala Coats
Dr. Ross H. Schlemmer
Dr. Sara Scott Shields
Tanya Wall and Jordan Sauer
New York
Tara Woods
Dr. Timothy B. Garth
University Heights Academy, Faye Hendricks, Lily Hendricks, Clarissa Miller, Beth Peebles, Evelyn Cotthoff, Julia Thomas, and Susy Comperry
North Carolina
Dr. Vicky Grube
Vonnie Gaither

About the Project

By providing a safe space for bipartisan discourse, the red and blue students gained purple empathy by sharing, listening, and hearing one another. In order to fully validate these experiences, other educators and I must continue to reflexively attempt such processes in order to create spaces for purple empathy to grow stronger and become far reaching.

nelson, M.B. 2017

We contacted creators from all over the United States...

I am working a national project called Unity Flags, and my hope is you will represent your state.

The Unity Flags are in anticipation for the final presidential debate Belmont is 'hosting' in the Fall. I would send you a care package with all the materials (canvas, paint & brushes) to create an American flag... in your own way, and you are welcome to use other colors and/or materials. You could do it with other artists, family, friends, students or alone (however you are COVID19 comfortable). You could get creative with the design or paint it to look exactly like old glory. It can also have a 'state' spin on it, but that is not required. I've attached example pics for inspiration.

Here are some example Unity Flags for inspiration. Thank you for joining this project.

Please contact me with any questions.

Meaghan Brady Nelson, PhD
Assistant Professor, Program Director of Fine Arts
Watkins College of Art | Belmont University | Nashville TN

Example Unity Flags for Inspiration

Love Thy Neighbor
By Meaghan Brady Nelson | 2019
Acrylic on Gallery Wrap | 3ft x 5ft
Purple Empathy
By Meaghan Brady Nelson | 2019
Acrylic on Gallery Wrap | 3ft x 5ft
Happy Valentines Love
By Meaghan Brady Nelson | 2017
Quantity 200, 5 x 7 inch linograph prints
Katie Mitchell, Director of Galleries, installing the work