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Image of the screenprint on paper, 'American Dream' by Doug Webb. A hyper-realistic image of a sailboat with a full crew in a sink filled with water. The sail boat has an american flag on the back. In the background, behind the sink, is a formation of desert cliffs.
American Dream, Doug Webb, 1986, screenprint on paper, Gift of Jack A. and Noreen Rounick

Hey, We Need To Talk!

Curated by Philippa Pham Hughes, Visiting Artist for Arts & Civic Engagement
Aug 31, 2024 — Jan 26, 2025
Eleanor Noyes Crumpacker Gallery

Exploring Flourishing Through Art & Conversation

Artist Philippa Pham Hughes is guided by an aesthetic of care and delight in creating relational spaces for joy, human interaction, reflection, and flourishing. In “Hey, We Need to Talk,” Hughes continues an exploration in her work about what it means to be an American. Hughes aims to strengthen democracy through art-driven dialogues that repair the social fabric of our country. In these relational conversations, she asks visitors to contemplate what it means to flourish—both as individuals and as a community.

Featuring a vibrant wallpaper of 50 state flowers designed by artist Ouizi (Louise Jones), the exhibition symbolizes national unity and the diverse beauty found across America. Against this backdrop and among works of art chosen from UMMA’s collection, a series of interactive social events will unfold, encouraging visitors to engage in honest, courageous, common sense discussions about civic responsibility and national identity. These interactive elements invite visitors to make new connections and find new ways to flourish through the power of community, sustainability, dignity, and beauty.

Portrait of artist Philippa Pham Hughes in front of an art installation.
Photo courtesy of the artist

About Philippa Pham Hughes

Philippa Pham Hughes,Visiting Artist For Art & Civic Engagement at UMMA, is a social practice artist, cultural strategist, and curator developing conversational and creative experiences aimed at strengthening democracy and repairing the social fabric of our country one creative conversation at a time. Philippa draws from the arts and humanities to design spaces for honest conversations across political, social, and cultural differences. She has produced hundreds of activations since 2007 for people who might not normally meet to engage with one another in unconventional and meaningful ways. She also curates multi-disciplinary art exhibits & experiences. Hey, We Need to Talk! is a continuation of an event hosted at UMMA in 2022.

The Common Sense Diner

Join your neighbors and strangers for a meal in the Common Sense Diner. Let’s get to know each other and talk about what it means to be an American right now.

Meals occur in the “Hey, We Need to Talk” gallery on Thursday evenings and Friday afternoons — they are free to attend, but application is required to ensure a diverse mix of participants.

Learn more and apply

Select Works In This Exhibition

2001; printed 2010
Carl Weese
toned black and white photograph on paper
Doug Webb
screenprint on paper
Joanne Leonard
inkjet print on paper
Rodney Alan Greenblat
screenprint on paper
George Vargas
welding goggles, metal, hanging bells, rusty bottle cap, pulleys, chains, and padlock mounted on plywood
Howard Bond
photograph on paper
Portrait of art ist Louise Jones with painting in background filled with green leaves.
Photo courtesy of the artist

About Louise Jones

Louise Jones (neé Chen) is a second-generation Chinese American, born in Los Angeles in 1988. Her work first gained recognition after moving to Detroit in 2014, where she began painting murals of flowers on buildings and local businesses. To date, her murals have been displayed in museums and public spaces throughout the US and the world. For Hey, We Need to Talk! Jones will paint a mural of the 50 state flowers on the wall in UMMA’s gallery that will serve as the backdrop for the exhibition.


Hey, We Need To Talk! is a part of Vote 2024 at UMMA. Lead support is provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.