New Perspectives: Artists Reflect on Loss and Discover Humanity

Onsite Program

March 13, 2022 3:30pm - 4:30pm

Journey into the In America: Remember art installation through conversation on Jamie Meltzer's new short documentary, not even for a moment do things stand still.

Event Details

Join artist Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg and filmmaker Jamie Meltzer for a discussion about Texas connections and contributions to In America: Remember, a powerful memorial that was installed on the National Mall in 2021. The duo's new film, premiering at SXSW, explores the COVID-19 art installation, dropping into intimate moments of people honoring their loved ones, and exploring the role of mourning and closure during an unfolding tragedy that has impacted all Americans.

Program is FREE to the public.

Educators, to receive CPE credit please email Education@TheStoryofTexas.com

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About the Presenter

Jamie Meltzer is a documentary filmmaker and the Program Director of the M.F.A. Program in Documentary Film at Stanford University. His recent documentary short, Huntsville Station (2020, co-directed with Chris Filippone), screened at SXSW and at Berlinale, and was nominated for an IDA Award and a Cinema Eye Honor. His documentary feature, True Conviction (Independent Lens, 2018), a co-production of ITVS and the recipient of a Sundance Institute grant and a MacArthur grant, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival where it won a Special Jury Mention. Informant (2012), about a revolutionary activist turned FBI informant, was released in theaters in the US and Canada in Fall 2013 by Music Box Films and KinoSmith. Previous films include: Off the Charts: The Song Poem Story (Independent Lens, 2003), about the shadowy world of song-poems; Welcome to Nollywood (PBS Broadcast, 2007), an investigation into the wildly successful Nigerian movie industry; and La Caminata (2009), a short film about a small town in Mexico that runs a simulated border crossing as a tourist attraction.

Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg spent her childhood in the Black Hills of South Dakota. She lived in Kentucky and Puerto Rico before earning an MBA and working in pharmaceutical new product development. Arriving in Washington, DC, she worked as a special assistant in the United States Senate. For balance, she has volunteered with the terminally ill for over two decades. She began her artistic career in 2010. In 2017, Firstenberg traveled thousands of miles, interviewing hundreds of people suffering or recovering from drug addiction. Her resultant seven-installation art series, The Empathy Fix Project, explores why individuals become addicted to drugs and inspires a more empathetic response.

In Fall, 2020, Firstenberg created an installation, ultimately composed of 267,000 white flags, at the DC Armory Parade Ground to make visible the human toll of the continuing pandemic. Images of In America: How Could This Happen… were viewed in news reports on six continents. In September, 2021, Firstenberg reprised this installation, blanketing 20 acres of the National Mall with white flags in an art exhibition entitled In America: Remember. Almost 20,000 people actively participated by dedicating individual white flags to their loved ones lost to COVID. This art was mirrored in the digital space providing access to Americans across the country. The installation was the largest public, participatory art exhibition on the National Mall since the AIDS Quilt.

Portions of both In America installations will live on in the Smithsonian Institution’s permanent collection. Images of this art will accompany reports of the pandemic for years to come.

About Public Programs

Public programs at the Bullock Museum explore relevant history and celebrate the culture that has shaped our modern world. Through engaging discussions, performances, and scholarship guests are invited to see local connections and discover how Texas fits into a broader national story.

Banner image courtesy InAmericaFlags.org 

This program is made possible with funding from Humanities Texas and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as part of the federal ARP Act.

The Bullock Museum, a division of the Texas State Preservation Board, is funded by Museum members, donors, and patrons, the Texas State History Museum Foundation, and the State of Texas.

Lectures, Talks, and Discussions