Permanent Art Displays - The Dream

The Dream

Artist Andrew Polk answers questions about his work, The Dream.

How long did "The Dream" take to create?

I first conceived of the "The Dream" in August 2008, during a visit to the U.S. National Archives when I chanced upon photographs of the "March for Freedom" of 1963 in Washington, D.C. I was at the Archives collecting government sponsored photographs. My intent was to combine historical images with explosive, expressionistic painting techniques, and, in so doing, to metaphorically reinforce the spirit of the times surrounding them. When I came across the images of this civil rights march and of Dr. King speaking at it, I saw the opportunity to commemorate a transitional moment in our country's history. I worked on the painting for the next six months, and it was originally displayed at Tucson's Davis Dominguez Gallery at an exhibit entitled, "Life After Death," in April 2009.

Why choose that particular subject matter?

Most Americans recognize Martin Luther King Jr. as one of our country's true heroes, but this was not clear to all of us when he was alive and active in the 1950s and 60s. At that time, I was a white kid, growing up in Memphis, Tennessee. I remember how some of my family didn't appreciate what he was doing. I remember what it was like, being there when Dr. King was assassinated. That was an important period of growth for our country, but it was not one without pain and social upheaval. Perhaps because of my own history, I not only appreciate how much his ideals have enabled us to understand each others, but also how much of a hero he actually was.

The purpose of "The Dream" is to celebrate King's legacy in the context of the tumultuous period from which his ideals now prevail.

Why choose to donate it to a public institution like the Library?

I chose to donate "The Dream" to a public institution like the Library because it belongs in a space where it can be contemplated and appreciated by people of all ages, backgrounds, and economic circumstances. As a space dedicated to the preservation of knowledge and literature for all, Tucson's Joel D. Valdez Main Library is the perfect venue for its exhibition. My offer of "The Dream" with all it stands for is intended as a tribute to the cultural diversity that distinguishes Tucson, Arizona as a great community. I couldn't be more pleased with its new home.

View more information about artist Andrew Polk

Pima County Public Library thanks Mike Dominguez and the Davis Dominguez Gallery for facilitating this donation.

Photos of the installation

Pima County Website