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UA Little Rock to Host Donaghey Scholar’s Photo Exhibition May 20

This photo taken by Grace Johnson will be on display in her exhibition that opens on May 20.
This photo taken by Grace Johnson will be on display in her exhibition that opens on May 20.

Gracelyn Johnson, a graduating student and budding photographer, will be finishing up her UA Little Rock education with a photography exhibition.

“I am so glad I got to take all the great photography classes at UA Little Rock,” Johnson said. “I love photography and have wanted to be a photographer since high school.”

Johnson is graduating this May with a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Arts degree and a Certificate of Proficiency in Photography. The exhibition, which is free and open to the public, will serve as Johnson’s capstone project for the Donaghey Scholars Honors Program.

“The Donaghey Scholars Honors Program taught me a lot about choosing your priorities and learning to be a leader,” she said. “We put in a lot of work to be the best versions of ourselves. I went to Florence, Italy, and took an Intro to Travel Photography course. It was amazing, and I now have a lot of photos that are very beautiful that I wouldn’t have been able to take anywhere else.”

Johnson’s capstone exhibition, “Fragmented Memories: The Lingering Effects of Sexual Trauma,” will feature 13 photographs and will be on display from May 20 to June 14 in the Focus Gallery in the Windgate Center of Art and Design at UA Little Rock.

This exhibition deals with the trauma of sexual assault and its devastating long-lasting impacts. It serves not only as a way to raise awareness for the often-overlooked problem of mental health for sexual assault survivors and the complexities of sexual trauma, but also for the healing journey that follows trauma.

“I want my exhibition to bring attention to the complexities of an abusive relationship,” Johnson said. “I want people to understand the lasting effects it can leave on a person that are often unseen. I want to open up conversations about how little abusive relationships are talked about, especially the long-term physical and mental effects that it can take on a person.”

Johnson said the exhibition, which she has been working on for the past year, has been of immense help in her healing journey.

“When I first started this project, I was barely able to accept what happened to me, and now I am able to show other people what happened and talk about it openly,” she said. “This is a huge step for me as an artist. I don’t think this would have happened if I didn’t have an artistic outlet.”