Reflections on “A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste” Exhibit
Today I went to the Verde Gallery to see the “A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste” exhibit. After wandering around downtown Champaign, I found the gallery on a small side street off of Neil. When I walked in, I saw a large group of people sitting at tables in the main room, and had no idea what was going on. I did not see anything that looked like the exhibit I was looking for. After going to the bathroom, and unknowingly walking past half of the exhibit, I came back to see what all the people were gathered for. A man had just began speaking, and I heard him mention something about an exhibit co-sponsored by the Brown v. Board Commemoration, and figured that maybe crowd was there for some special program related to the exhibit.
This man introduced another man, who was on the board of directors for the Whirlwind Project. Still somewhat confused, I kept listening and found out that this was a poetry reading on the theme of meditation. Not being one for poetry, I wandered off after the first two readers, in search of the exhibit.
In the next room, which I had already walked through and looked like some sort of back room, there was a brochure about the “A Mind is a Terrible Thing” ad campaign for the United Negro College Fund, which I picked up but decided to read later. I saw some posters on the wall, and went up to read them. The first time I saw them, I thought they were just posters put up to take up wall space in the back room, but it turned out these were part of the exhibit. I looked at all six of these posters, which were actually ads from the UNCF ad campaign, and wondered if that were all or if the exhibit continued. To my left was a room that looked like a magazine stand, but I decided to check it out anyhow. Sure enough, there were more ads in this room, balanced above the magazine racks where most people shorter than me, which is to say most of the population, would have a difficult time reading them. The exhibit continued through the hallway, and into the café area, with close to thirty ads in all. If I hadn’t gone looking for this exhibit, I surely would have overlooked it, but I was glad I didn’t after spending some time looking at the ads.
Many of the ads were very persuasive, although most were heavy with text, and probably wouldn’t have read them if I weren’t as inquisitive or set on finding out more about this exhibit. The ads were classified by six different themes: unrealized dreams and lost potential, achievers from historically black colleges and universities, African-American family support and sacrifice for education, history of educational discrimination, investing in people help themselves, and celebrity support of UNCF goals. The majority of the ads fell under the first category of unrealized dreams and lost potential, with ads such as “She doesn’t have all it takes to go to...