"(Greensboro, NC) The African American Atelier, Center for Visual Artists (CVA), Greenhill, Guilford Native American Art Gallery and National Conference for Community and Justice of the Piedmont Triad(NCCJ) announce a ground-breaking collaborative project entitled Art + Dialogue: Responding to Racial Tension in America (A + D), intended to bring community together in dialogue around racial tension. A + D, using art as an equalizing, thought-provoking platform, will ask all visitors and participants to put aside stereotypes and misconceptions and ask each other and ourselves the questions we may be afraid to voice. The project will take place at Greensboro College, site partner for A + D and will run from Thursday, September 24, 2015 through October 11, 2015.
A + D Partner Organization Planning Team members include:
· Dara Nix-Stevenson, Center for Visual Artists
· Ivan Canada, NCCJ
· LaShari Clemons, African American Atelier
· Laura Way, Greenhill
· Lynn Sanders-Bustle, Ph.D, Greenhill
· Wanda Attmore, Guilford Native American Art Gallery
A + D will consists of three project areas. The first area will be a juried art exhibition with the jury members from each partner organization and an august panel of artists and educators. A Call to Artists has been disseminated statewide and can be found at www.greenhillnc.org/Art-Dialogue. Artists will be selected based on artistic quality and relevance to A + D themes: intersection of race with gender, age, class, sexual orientation, immigration status, ability status and other identities; visibility of multi-racial individuals and families in the U.S.; how art can express pain, grief, rage—and still inspire healing; historic roots of race and racism and resulting realities today and visions for the future; different forms of racism; cultural appropriation versus cross-cultural exploration/inspiration, and how immigrants and immigration status are defined.
The Jury Members are as follows:
· Susan Harbage Page, Artist, Assistant Professor, Women’s and Gender Studies, UNC Chapel Hill
· Rosalia Torres-Weiner, Artist, Founder, Project Art Aid, Charlotte
· Pedro Lasch - Visual Artist & Associate Research Professor, Duke University
· Jina Valentine, Artist, Faculty at UNC Chapel Hill
· Courtney Reid-Eaton, Exhibitions Director, Center for Documentary Studies, Duke University
· Chanelle Croxton, Curatorial Assistant, Nasher Museum, Duke University
Katie Lank, Executive Director at CVA says, “As a partner organization, CVA is committed to making the visual arts approachable, accessible, and affordable. The CVA invests in using art as a tool of engagement to bring together diverse voices in the Greater Greensboro community. Therefore, participation in Art + Dialogue: Responding to Racial Tension in America is an extension of the work that CVA is already doing. CVA is grateful for the opportunity to partner in coalition with other visual arts organizations to bring A + D to Greensboro and beyond in an effort to reframe how we think about, write about, discuss, or otherwise consider race and racism in America with the goal of creating sustainable, equitable systemic change.”
The second project area is a series of panel discussions designed to: explore the changing landscape of race and racism in the 21st century at the individual and institutional level; examine the unique ways race plays out in America, North Carolina in particular; engage our community in an ongoing dialogue about race that honors the past and builds a vision for the future; move beyond stereotypes and misconceptions to the layered and complicated reality of race in our daily lives; provide a space for frank, innovative artwork that provokes active responses to difficult questions; and create a space where people can open their minds and hearts, be vulnerable, sit with discomfort, listen to new perspectives, and speak their own truths. NCCJ will lead a group of volunteers to put together panels representing the multicultural and multi-racial aspects of the community, with each panel bringing unique perspectives and insights to the pressing contemporary issue of race and racial tensions.
Ivan Canada, Interim Executive Director at NCCJ states, “NCCJ believes in the power of community –wide dialogue. So, when approached to join this collaborative project using art as the platform to have difficult conversations about race we saw it as an opportunity to include more of our community in the conversation in a safe environment for hopes of beginning to work together as a community to understand each other, build trust and create a community that works for all of us.”
To make programing as versatile, inclusive and engaging as possible, the third project area is Open Dialogue Sessions (ODS), intended to present multiple artistic disciplines, combine and/or integrate art forms; explore, fuse or transcend art disciplines and look to new forms of expression all in response to A + D themes. As with the art exhibition, ODS involve a call for participation with a committee of volunteers selecting up to 20 artists to present throughout the 16 days of the project. The call for ODS participants can be found at www.greenhillnc.org/Art-Dialogue.
According to Taneka Bennett, ODS Committee member and Greenhill Board Member, “Art is a powerful form of expression, a universal language; having multidisciplinary artists as an integral part of A + D adds layers to the conversation, whether it is spoken word, video shorts, monologues, music or dance. To ensure we create a welcoming and impactful environment, it is essential that the ODS represent the diversity and inclusive nature of all art forms, and we are so looking forward to what we will experience throughout this project.”
When asked to summarize why these five organizations would take on this project, the answer was a simple one for Laura Way, Executive Director at Greenhill, “A + D is an important way in which each organization can share their unique voice to the important nationwide conversations going on today. There are so many people in both our Greensboro community and NC, artists and non-artists, who come from diverse backgrounds, but share a common belief that individuals can make transformative impact on their community. We need to look beyond today’s limitations to see a world of new possibilities, where dialogues around racial tension are not impolite or taboo but part of an ongoing conversation about how to make our community grow and thrive together. My hope is the art, open dialogues, and panel conversations that will be included in A + D spark deep and meaningful conversations, both while we are together for the 16 days and after the project ends—that people who attend leave with a sense of empowerment and transformation, and are able to talk about what they are feeling and listen with care and respect to new and different perspectives about the difficult issues surrounding equity, equality, and the common good.”
A + D is supported by the SJ Edwards Foundation, ArtsGreensboro/Joseph M. Bryan Foundation, and the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro. According to Walker Sanders, President, CFGG, “The Community Foundation strongly believes that art provides an opportunity for people to come together, from different backgrounds to share a common experience. It is from these common experiences that serve as the foundation from which trust can be built. We can’t think of a better way to start a healthy and constructive community dialogue than doing so through art.”
Sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information contact Laura Way at Laura.Way@greenhillnc.org.
ABOUT THE PARTNERS
AFRICAN AMERICAN ATELIER
The African American Atelier, Inc., a non-profit art organization, seeks to promote an awareness, appreciation and sensitivity to the visual arts and culture of African Americans and to work in harmony with other ethnic groups. The French term “Atelier”, literally means “in the studio.” Founded in 1990, this organization facilitates community involvement and participation in the arts both inside and outside of the studio located in the Greensboro Cultural Center. The Atelier provides a diverse range of exhibits, programs, activities and services for all age groups and ethnic backgrounds.
CENTER FOR VISUAL ARTISTS
The Center for Visual Artists (CVA) is a non-profit organization that supports emerging artists of all ages through educational programs, exhibition opportunities and community outreach. Our program of work grows from our efforts to create opportunities for families to participate in the arts and local artists to share their talents with others. The desired outcome for our organization is to ensure that there are visual art offerings in Greensboro that are approachable, accessible, and affordable. Learn more about CVA at www.greensboroart.org.
Greenhill is the only non-collecting organization dedicated to presenting, promoting and advocating for contemporary visual art and artists of North Carolina. Since its founding in 1974, Greenhill has presented and sold artwork of over 9,800 visual artists and engaged over 1 million visitors through free access to The Gallery, InFocus Gallery, The Shop and the educational programs of ArtQuest. Exhibitions are composed of two complimentary programs, The Gallery and InFocus Gallery. The Gallery represents the primary space within which Greenhill presents exhibitions that demonstrate the creative and artistic expressions of NC artists. With aesthetic quality invariably at the forefront, exhibitions are planned to give emerging, mid-career and established artists opportunities throughout their careers. InFocus Gallery is an art space designed to bring together new and seasoned art collectors and artists with exceptionally collectable works for sale. InFocus Gallery is Greenhill’s platform for investment in art in combination with The Shop, which offers unique, handcrafted artworks from selected NC artists in a variety of mediums and serves as an accessible entry point for new collectors.
GUILFORD NATIVE AMERICAN ART GALLERY
The first gallery of its kind in the Southeast promoting and selling traditional and contemporary Native American art and crafts. Four exhibitions are showcased annually. The gift shop carries a variety of authentic Native American art and crafts such as works by the Papago Tribe of Arizona and the Soap Stone sculptures by the Tuscarora tribe of New York.
The National Conference for Community and Justice of the Piedmont Triad, Inc. (NCCJ) is a human relations organization that promotes understanding and respect among all cultures, races and religions through advocacy, education and dialogue. Our mission is to build compassionate and just communities free of bias, bigotry and racism. NCCJ does not advocate for any particular group or philosophy, but works to build mutual respect among all people—regardless of race, culture, sexual orientation, gender, socioeconomic background or faith. To promote understanding and respect across groups, NCCJ believes society must acknowledge the dynamics of power and privilege and the role individuals play in creating attitudes, behavior and practices that support systems of exclusion and oppression either overt or covert. To fulfill its mission, NCCJ programs must create inclusive, respectful and just communities."
- A Press Release