Where We Stand: Black Artists in Southwest Michigan

September 14-December 8, 2019

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James Palmore, A Sundered Beginning, 2009, acrylic on canvas, acrylic on wood, wire mesh, stone, leaves, paper. Courtesy of the artist.

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Top row, from left: Darien Burress, Al Harris, Brent Harris
Middle row: Chakila Hoskins, Audrey Mills, James Palmore
Bottom row: Maria Scott, Tanisha Pyron, James Watkins.

Supporting artists is part of the KIA mission, as evidenced by our annual juried exhibitions and Kirk Newman Art School's post-baccalaureate residency program. Where We Stand: Black Artists in Southwest Michigan is an exhibition that focuses on the diverse creativity in a selection of Black artists working right here in West Michigan. This unique exhibition offers our audiences an opportunity to explore the breadth of talent that contributes to the cultural richness of our region.

The exhibition features ten Michigan artists working in sculpture, photography, painting, ceramics, and printmaking. They are emerging artists and veterans in their field who address issues as diverse as the environment, mass incarceration, the criminal justice system, and concepts of beauty.

Printmaker Audrey Mills, a recent graduate of the Kirk Newman Art School residency program, has exhibited at Artlink Gallery in Fort Wayne, IN; at ArtPrize 10 in Grand Rapids, MI; and at the KIA. Darien Burress is a conceptual installation artist studying at Western Michigan University's Gwen Frostic School of Art. Painter Chakila Hoskins recently won first prize in the 2019 West Michigan Area Show for her oil painting, Transformation (Metamorphosis). Her work also was on view in the 2018 Area Show.

Photographer Tanisha Pyron is also an actor, dancer, singer, filmmaker, playwright, poet, and educator. Painter Al Harris, Jr., and sculptor Brent Harris both teach at the Kirk Newman Art School Al is a former public school art teacher whose work has exhibited throughout Michigan and the Midwest. Brent's work has been exhibited at ArtPrize, and can be seen throughout Kalamazoo and Southwest Michigan.

Ceramist Maria Scott crafts hand-built ceramic vessels, one of which is in the permanent collection of the KIA. Kalamazoo-based portrait painters James Palmore and James Watkins have both been active in art education for young people in Kalamazoo. Palmore's large-scale portrait Chief received the Peoples' Choice Award in the 2018 West Michigan Area Show. Watkins' oil painting Victims is part of the KIA permanent collection.

The exhibition is being curated by Denise Liseicki, Director of the Kirk Newman Art School, and Fari Nzinga, Curatorial Fellow at the KIA and Kalamazoo College. The exhibition continues through December 8, 2019.