Indiana University

Skip to:

  1. Search
  2. Breadcrumb Navigation
  3. Content
  4. Browse by Topic
  5. Services & Resources
  6. Additional Resources
  7. Multimedia News

Media Contacts

Sherry Knighton-Schwandt
Office of the Vice President for Research

Eric Bartheld
Indiana University Bloomington Libraries

Last modified: Thursday, January 15, 2009

Inauguration Day at Wells Library features public art event

Jan. 15, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- If you're looking to commemorate Inauguration Day 2009, head to the lobby of the Indiana University Herman B Wells Library on Jan. 20.

Students can view the inauguration in the Herman B Wells Library (room E174, near the south lobby entrance) from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Work stations in the Information Commons (Wells Library, west tower) will have links to the live feed of the event in Washington, D.C.

Yes We Can

The Yes We Can interactive art project invites the public to respond to the question "What are your hopes and dreams for American Democracy?" It will be installed in the IU Wells Library lobby for 10 days to coincide with President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration.

Yes We Can, an interactive art project, also will be installed in the Wells Library lobby. Timed to coincide with the inauguration of President Barack Obama, this new exhibit invites visitors to write on free-standing panels as they respond to the question, "What are your hopes and dreams for American democracy?" The Yes We Can project is funded through Indiana University's ArtsWeek 2009 program and will have a 10-day run at the library.

Yes We Can continues the Writing on the Wall project conceived by Bloomington artist Joe LaMantia as a contribution to IU's 2008 ArtsWeek celebration. The original Writing on the Wall exhibition encouraged responses to the questions "What is democracy?" and "What does democracy look like?" The project was displayed in numerous locations throughout Bloomington and around the state and garnered thousands of responses.

In early 2008, parts of the mural walls were installed at IU's School of Fine Arts gallery. Speaking at the installation's opening, IU President Michael McRobbie said the project's "spontaneous, impulsive and democratic art . . . highlights the very best of participatory democracy."

Five original murals painted by local artists for the Writing on the Wall project are now permanently installed in Ballantine Hall on the IU Bloomington campus.

"Libraries value the free expression of ideas, "says Patricia Steele, Ruth Lilly Dean of University Libraries. "We have a long history of providing diverse kinds information. Because libraries are neutral places where students gather, it makes great sense for us to host this exhibit, and we're pleased to do so. I'm certain students will participate and learn from it."

LaMantia says the coincidence of observing Barack Obama's campaign, election and transition to office while witnessing the response to Writing on the Wall sparked the idea for the new Yes We Can exhibit.

"The Obama transition team has used thousands of house meetings across the country to invite American people to discuss the critical issues facing our communities and our country today. The first Writing on the Wall project did a very similar thing on a smaller scale," LaMantia says. "Now that we have gone through an historic election, I wanted the project to ask a new question about people's hopes and dreams."

LaMantia and IU collaborators plan to go national with the Yes We Can project this fall, when they take the exhibit to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., from Oct. 27 to Nov. 5.

The Yes We Can exhibit at the Wells Library is a "teaser" for ArtsWeek 2009, which again features work related to politics and the arts. The 25th annual ArtsWeek takes place this year from Feb. 19 to March 1. For more information, see