Drawn together

Published 8:39 pm Thursday, October 9, 2008

Cartoons have provided a different way of looking at political issues for decades and several Andalusia High School students recently used that vessel to express their thoughts on various, often controversial, issues throughout the county and the nation.

The Lower Alabama Arts Coalition will feature more than 100 political cartoons drawn by AHS students alongside drawings from syndicated cartoonist Charles Asay and Charles Brooks, an Andalusia native and retired Birmingham News cartoonist, through the month of October during its “The Mighty Pen” political cartoon exhibit.

AHS senior Jorge Marquez said he contributed several drawings to the exhibit expressing opinions of both local and national issues.

“Some were nationally controversial and some were controversial locally,” he said. “Some drawings even pertained to a smaller nucleus within the school. I just think it is a good idea to let people express themselves. Older people can be more set in the their beliefs and opinions, but I feel young adults have a more flexible mind and express themselves in a completely different way.”

LAAC secretary Amy Henderson said the event was established in light of the upcoming presidential election and the huge buzz surrounding local and national elections.

“We thought it would be really appropriate because this is an election year,” she said. “It also seemed so significant because this is an election year that has drawn a tremendous amount of interest. We wanted to do something that would reflect that. Political cartoons are such an obvious connection to that ideal. It is direct commentary to what is happening the in the world around you.”

AHS senior Chase Foshee said he chose to illustrate a national issue that affects the entire population.

“A large portion of the world deals with gas prices in one way or the other,” he said. “Some people are more affected by the rising price of gas than others. I think it is good. It is a way for kids to express how they feel about everything that is happening in the world around them with the economy and politics.”

Daniel Bulger, a history instructor at AHS, said he feels it is important for students, even those who are not yet old enough to vote in November, to express their opinions.

“We talk about political events in class,” he said. “Each student has his or her own opinion and it is very important for him or her to have the ability to express those views. Many kids drew cartoons about local issues and things they are not happy with at school. We told the students that as long as they did not personally attack someone then anything was fair game.”

Henderson said the exhibit features a wide range of illustrations encompassing numerous political issues throughout several decades.

“Editorial cartoons have been a hallmark of free speech and political outcry since the American Revolution,” she said. “The humor creates a window that the message can pass through, and the comic quality of these drawings reach a much broader audience than essays or articles. In this exhibit, more than 70 decades of American and global history is satirically represented. This is a must-see for history, civics, government and economics students.”

This exhibit will run through the entire month of October. Admission is free and hours are Monday through Friday from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. and Fridays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. The exhibit will also be open Sat., Oct. 11, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. in honor of homecoming.