As leaders at the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum move forward with plans to build a brand new facility, they are collaborating with the James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art to present an exhibition that will speak to the diversity that lives in St. Pete.
Reverberations: Black Artists on Racism & Resilience, opening Juneteenth through Aug. 29, will explore the struggles and successes of the Black experience.
The exhibit grew under the direction of Laura Hine, Executive Director at the James Museum, and Terri Lipsey Scott, Executive Director at Woodson Museum.
“This exhibition is emerging from impacts of the pandemic. The James is establishing its place in the community and beyond, and these are stories we want to tell,’’ says Malynda Washington, Community Engagement Manager of the James Museum. “Underrepresented communities typically have their stories [told] at the hindsight. Looking into future of our museum, we want to be telling honest, true, and lesser-known stories to inspire every visitor and give access to those who may not know our museum through relevant and thought-provoking exhibitions.”
The exhibition, sponsored by Duke Energy, will boast just under 30 participants ranging from local to broader Southeastern black artists with about 50-60 pieces to peruse. Desmond Clark, Principal of St. Cate Fine Arts in St. Petersburg, was brought in by Lipsey Scott as a guest curator for this exhibition and partnered with ZuCot Gallery out of Atlanta to bring in works outside of the Tampa area, as well as the University of Tampa by pulling from their permanent collection.
“With everything that was going on, this was the perfect time for something like this to happen,’’ says Clark.
Terri Lipsey Scott
The title of the exhibition, Reverberations, speaks to why this exhibition is so important at this moment.
“As a vocalist, reverb is something I understand as a sound that echoes in a space for a while, and it starts to regenerate and decay. After a while, it stops being recognized as the original sound. Today may seem different than it was back in times of slavery, but is it really any different?” Clark says. “As a black man, I’ve experienced things that make me question whether I am being looked at as equal to my white counterpart.”
Though the exhibition allows artists to share their own experiences and stories about structural racism, it doesn’t want to just focus on the bad. Embroidered works by local artist and UT alumni Aneka Jones, like her portrait of Kamala Harris that was commissioned by The Washington Post
, aim to show that history is still being written and there is still a chance for growth in creating a more equitable nation.
“The hope is that everyone can see all of these different discussion points in one place and get a chance to see the awesomeness that is black art,” Clark says.
If you are looking for other ways to celebrate and honor local black culture, art, and history, check out the Juneteenth Business Expo on June 19 in South St. Petersburg where you can meet, buy from, and support over 150 black vendors. The event will be open that day only between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on the Historical Deuces (22nd Street).
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