Thursday, April 5 -- 1:30pm - 3pm --Bally's, Silver Ballroom


Chair: Edie Overturf

Panel: Jenny Schmid, Erik Waterkotte, Myles Dunigan


The pursuit of understanding is inherent to human nature.  Folktale, scholarship, legend, journalism, religion, scientific inquiry, myth, fable and rumor have all been used to explain our experience. The path to knowledge  is often full of good intentions, yet it is important to define  the distinction between storytelling and truth telling.


“Truthiness” was first coined by Stephen Colbert on the Colbert Report on October 17, 2005. Colbert invented this word in an attempt to mock the lack of facts present in political action. Truthiness is a derivation of the word “Truthy”, which means faithful. Colloquialy it is meant to describe a feeling of a fact, one that is felt instinctively to be true, and with no direct connection to actual facts. Truthiness can be used maliciously when falsehoods are presented as fact, or more benignly when beliefs are ignorantly asserted as truth. Truthiness refers to the quality of preferring statements that feel true, and often confirm or support someone’s established beliefs or worldview, over concepts or facts known to be true. In an interview with the AV Club in 2006,  Colbert reflects on the development of the term, “It used to be, everyone was entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts. But that's not the case anymore. Facts matter not at all. Perception is everything. It's certainty. “


Here we are, twelve years later. We hear terms such as ‘fake news’, and ‘alternative facts’ coming from the Presidential cabinet and the President himself. The classification of a source as ‘fake news’ could be used to deny credibility of the source, or as a method of misdirection. The current political climate in the United States is one fraught with smoke and mirrors. The truth of a matter is confirmed or dismissed by a leadership when it is convenient to their agenda.


The post-election climate has affected the way in which many global citizens approach the distinction between truth and truthiness. In conjunctuion with our struggles to determine fact from fiction, we are questioning the agenda behind ‘truthiness’ with even more skepticism and criticism. Creatives have a unique opportunity to challenge fantasies and the ways they are dissimenated. Arisits can create images that are meant to incite change or create discourse with more fervor and immediacy. The panelists of Staying True will present and discuss the importance of transparency and truth in their studio practice. Panelists will be asked to consider the same in the work of other artists, and how they address the uncertain state of reality and the truth. This panel will also address how our political and social landscape is shifting, and how we as artists, educators, and scholars keep our footing and pursue truth.


Edie Overturf uses traditional printmaking techniques to create visual narratives that question the act of storytelling as well as voices of authority and their effects on communities. The open-ended narrative quality she employs allows the viewer to relate to any or all of the represented spaces, the developed characters, or the suggested scenarios. Overturf has exhibited nationally and locally, including a solo exhibition at the Red Garage Studio in Minneapolis and group exhibitions at the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia and Kala Art Institute in Berkeley. Overturf received her BFA from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, and her MFA from California State University in Chico. Overturf currently lives in Minneapolis and is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Printmaking and Drawing at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities.



Jenny Schmid is affiliated with the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. Erik Waterkotte teaches at University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Myles Dunigan just completed an MFA from The University of Kansas.