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Dentistry through art and community

Take a virtual tour of the Black and Art Dental Student Association art exhibition and submit your own art for the next exhibition by March 31.

As the University of Utah School of Dentistry’s first black female student, Janice Darko was looking for an outlet to express her identity, and for others to do the same. So, she founded the Black and Art Dental Student Association (BDSA) in March 2021. Her effort in expressing her identity earned her first place in the U’s 2021 Homecoming Art Competition.

Darko said it was her first-time painting. She wanted to represent herself, the U’s spirit, and the BDSA club. “I am honestly grateful for the recognition I received for my artwork,” she said. The image is of an African lady holding a tooth and the block U. “This opportunity has certainly inspired me to continue to discover my artistic side and to make more art pieces to showcase.” She hopes others will be inspired as well to explore the intersection of art, personal identity and dentistry.

Darko is grateful that BDSA is gaining more publicity and that more students and faculty can explore the artistic side of science. “I believe we can communicate with other people that way because it’s about sharing the way we experience the world through art.”

Want to showcase your art? The BDSA is accepting submissions for the third annual BDSA art gallery exhibition on April 4-May 5, 2022. Submissions are open to staff, students or faculty members from any area of campus—not just dentistry.

To apply, email send inquiries to until March 31, 2022.