The left wall lined with fears; the right with dreams. The middle wall has a bucket list. Starting Jan. 23, the Viking Union Gallery becomes a place for students to share their dreams and fears, soak up their community’s aspirations and become inspired.
“Fears vs. Dreams,” an exhibition in the VU Gallery running from Jan. 23 to Feb. 9, will display cards with community members’ biggest fears or dreams. The exhibit will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, and anyone can contribute to the project by filling out a card with his or her thoughts. Cards can be found in the VU Gallery and at locations around campus, VU Gallery Director Ashley Hollender said.
“By filling the gallery with our fears and dreams, we hope to provide a safe, welcoming atmosphere where people can be comforted and inspired by the words of others,” Hollender said.
The inspiration for “Fears vs. Dreams” came from a campaign by the nonprofit group To Write Love on Her Arms and the MTV show “The Buried Life,” Hollender said.
TWLOHA is a group to help people struggling with addiction, depression, self-injury and suicide. “Fears vs. Dreams” is an ongoing project that was started during the summer by the group. It is meant to show fears and dreams of others to inspire and comfort. TWLOHA gave the Western chapter permission to put on the “Fears vs. Dreams” show.
“It is to remind people that they are not alone in their fears and dreams and to urge people to not give up on their story, but instead keep living it, knowing that you matter very much,” said Kayla Imrisek, TWLOHA Western chapter president.
The second part of inspiration from the exhibit came from “The Buried Life.” The show focuses around four friends traveling across North America to complete a list of things to do before they die. Every time they complete one, they help a stranger achieve a dream. Associated Students Productions Special Events worked with TWLOHA and the VU Gallery to bring something similar to Western, Imrisek said.
“Everywhere they go they ask the question: What do you want to do before you die?” Hollender said. “They aim to inspire others to create their own lists and promote kindness, compassion and optimism to those who need it most.”
“‘The Buried Life’ inspires others to be compassionate, hopeful and kind to one another. This sense of hope is also conveyed through TWLOHA’s mission,” Special Events Coordinator Jordan Renshaw said. “Hope, awareness of depression and the goal of conveying that we are not alone are issues we all deal with on a day-to-day basis.”Though “The Buried Life” visits many college campuses, Renshaw said the VU Gallery show would be unique because of the collaboration between the three groups.
“[It] proves that we are interested in more than just bringing a popular MTV show’s cast to our school,” Renshaw said. “The goal is to enhance and strengthen ‘The Buried Life’s’ message and use their popularity to our advantage in inspiring our students.”
The VU Gallery will reflect all aspects of the show. The left wall will house fears and the right wall will have dreams. “The Buried Life’s” bucket list will be put in the middle, Hollender said.
Renshaw and Imrisek said they look forward to conducting the exhibit and seeing its effect on the Western community.
“I am grateful to be given the opportunity to give people an entire month of education, inspriation and entertainment as well, all while conveying an important message of hope and optimism,” Renshaw said.
“We hope that this will let students and faculty know that they are not only not alone in their fears and dreams, but they are also not alone on this campus,” Imrisek said. “We want people to know that they are living their own unique story that they deserve to tell.”