An Artist Curates ‘Unnatural Election’

Andrea Arroyo left Mexico City to study dance with Merce Cunningham in 1983. She planned to stay in New York for less than a year.

“But I came to New York and I fell in love with the city,” said Arroyo, 54. “I felt I was home.”

The career of a dancer is short, so Arroyo transitioned to the visual arts in her late 20s. Women and dance remain her source of inspiration.

Today, Arroyo works as both artist and activist-curator. She partnered with New York University in 2015 when she curated Tribute to the Disappeared, a collection of work dedicated to the 26,000 people disappeared in Mexico between 2006 and 2013.

While she is passionate about pursuing her own art, Arroyo says that certain issues require more than one voice to have an impact.

This November, Arroyo reached out to artists across the globe, asking them to respond to the election of President Donald Trump.

Today, 250 pieces of art make up Unnatural Election, a website and exhibit at the NYU Kimmel Galleries. Unnatural Election is free and open to the public. Originally scheduled to run until the inauguration, the exhibit will now remain at least through June 1, 2017. Arroyo said that the response from artists and community members has been overwhelming.

“I want everyone to see it,” said Arroyo. “And I know that not everyone is going to like it or agree with some of the images, but I do believe the role of art is to create dialogue. If it breaks your heart, if it lifts your heart up, you know, that’s the role of art.”

Kate Ryan is a student in the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism class of 2017.

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