UA Digital Media Professor Presents Performance Art Based on Harper Lee Character

Melissa Yes, “Finches” film stills, 2022, HD video, collaboration with Tyler Jones, Fen Kennedy, and Todd Slaughter. Image courtesy Melissa Yes.

UA Department of Art and Art History Assistant Professor Melissa Yes is exhibiting a collaborative multimedia project, Finches, currently on view at the Gadsden Museum of Art. On Saturday, August 20, 2022 at 2:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m., the Finches artists will present a dance performance inside their installation at the museum, featuring “movement interviews” conducted by Dr. Fen Kennedy, assistant professor in the UA Department of Theatre and Dance, and performed by UA dance students.

Melissa Yes

Finches, developed by Yes and three artist collaborators, uses Harper Lee’s character, Atticus Finch, as an opening to conversations about the complicated figures—the “Finches”—in our personal and civic life. Yes said, “The project explores the tension created when we are conflicted about something we love, whether that is a family member, a leader, or a place. Anchored in the state of Alabama, Finches gathers insight about how these tensions manifest in the American South, and how they speak to the current moment in our nation.” In the project, Yes and her collaborators ask, “How do I love a thing I know is flawed?,” as they navigate this question together as artists, neighbors and citizens.

Finches is presented by Tyler Jones, Fen Kennedy, Todd Slaughter and Melissa Yes, with contributions from a growing community of artists and neighbors. The 2022 presentation of this project is supported by 1504, the Alabama State Council on the Arts, the Gadsden Museum Foundation, and the Ohio State University.

For more information about the programs in the UA Department of Art and Art History, go to this page or contact the department at (205) 348-5967.