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The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts is proud to host a suite of exhibitions that will fill nearly the entire museum with art by Black and African American artists from around the country and the world.

Artists, arts organizations, and our friends and colleagues at the Kalamazoo Public Library, Kalamazoo Valley Museum, and Western Michigan University are hosting events, exhibitions, performances and programs, creating a community-wide celebration for Fall, 2019, that honors the diversity of narrative in art and culture in Southwest Michigan.

Together we seek to build awareness and appreciation for the contributions of national, regional, and local artists--in all mediums--as they illuminate universal dialogues of identity, separation, validation, and cultural history.

Securing a landmark exhibition for its only Midwest stop was a process that began in 2018. Black Refractions: Highlights from The Studio Museum in Harlem will show nearly 100 works by artists nurtured and supported by the seminal Black art institution in the U.S., founded in 1968 in New York's Harlem neighborhood. To mark its 50th year, The Studio Museum in Harlem broke ground for a new building, and organized this touring exhibition to spark a dialogue across the country about the place in our history and culture of Black art and artists.

To mark the occasion, the KIA Curatorial Department has also organized two exhibitions which, together, will fill nearly all of the museum's galleries in a first-ever for an American Art museum in the U.S.

Resilience: African American Artists As Agents of Change features more than 60 paintings, photographs, works on paper, and sculpture from the KIA collection: museum holdings by African American artists from 1870 to the present that reflect their vital contributions to the story of American art and history.

Where We Stand: Black Artists in Southwest Michigan spotlights the creativity of artists working regionally, reflecting the cultural richness of our area. Emerging and established artists working in sculpture, photography, painting, ceramics, printmaking, and mixed media address issues including the environment, incarceration, and concepts of beauty.

A robust schedule of talks, performances, films, and visits by guest artists at the KIA in support of these exhibitions has been curated by the KIA Museum Education staff -- the schedule is below.

For a handy reference to all that's going on at the KIA in August through October, check out our Sightlines magazine online, or stop by for a copy.

Look for a comprehensive event calendar, organized by the Kalamazoo Public Library, which will activate in August, at blackrefractionskalamazoo.com.


2019 fall trio banner delaney lawrence wws grid

LEFT, on view in Black Refractions: Highlights from The Studio Museum in Harlem Beauford Delaney, Portrait of a Young Musician, 1970, Acrylic on canvas, 51 - 38 in. The Studio Museum in Harlem; gift of the Estate of Beauford Delaney 2004.2.27 Photo Credit : Marc Bernier ©2018 Estate of Beauford Delaney, by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire, Court Appointed Administrator. Courtesy American Federation of Arts CENTER, on view in Resilience: African American Artists As Agents of Change Jacob Lawrence, Legend of John Brown #19: Sunday, October 16, 1859. John Brown with a company of 21 men, white and black, marched on Harper's Ferry. 1977, color screenprint. Gift of an anonymous donor 2008.15.20 RIGHT, the artists of Where We Stand: Black Artists in Southwest Michigan Top row: Darien Burress, Al Harris, Jr., and Brent Harris. Middle row: Chakila Hoskins, Audrey Mills, and James Palmore. Bottom Row, Maria Scott, Tanisha Pyron, James Watkins. Not shown: Frank Jackson

Below are events hosted by Kalamazoo-area organizations, scheduled for September through November, 2019.

September 4-October 13
Western Michigan University
Richmond Center for the Arts
Exhibition: Spiral Up and Out

In 1963, the arts alliance Spiral was formed by Romare Bearden, Hale Woodruff, Norman Lewis, and Charles Alston to investigate their attitudes and commitments during the nationwide fight for civil rights. The group evolved and more artists joined, including Emma Amos, Reginald Gammon, Richard Mayhew, and Merton D. Simpson. Opening reception for Friends of the Richmond Center, Sept. 4, 5-7 pm. Join at the door! Free parking in the Miller ramp. For more information, see wmich.edu/art/exhibitions.

September 6-27
Kalamazoo Valley Community College
Center for New Media Arcus Gallery
Ahead of the Curve: Sculptures from the KIA

An exhibition of sculptures from the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, 1995-present, featuring Kalamazoo sculptor Al La Vergne. Enjoy an Art Hop reception September 6.

September 14, 9 pm-12 midnight
Opening Day After Party
Black Arts & Cultural Center

The celebration continues at the Epic Center's Jolliffe Theater. Enjoy live music, food and drinks. Co-hosted by BACC, Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo, and the KIA. $10, Free for BACC, KIA, and Arts Council members.

Wednesday, September 18, 6 pm
Free Book Discussion
Black Arts & Cultural Center

To Describe a Life: Notes from the Intersection of Art & Race Terror by Darby English. The author examines the use of art (and love) as a resource amid the wave of shootings by U.S. police of innocent black women and men. Powerful, challenging, and timely, the book invites us to rethink what life in ongoing crisis is and can be, and to discover how art can help. With Stacey Ledbetter & Harvey Myers.

September-November
Kalamazoo Public Library branches
Local Artists in Action

Watch local artists at work in celebration of Where We Stand: Black Artists in Southwest Michigan at the KIA. The KPL will feature a local artist at each library location, to create a new artwork on-site throughout the week. All of the artwork will be featured at December's Art Hop. Patrons will have the opportunity to interact with the artist, create art in the style of the artist, and participate in a special program facilitated by each artist. See kpl.org for information.
September 23-27, Alma Powell Branch: Darien Burress
M, W, Th, F from 3-5 pm; special program Tuesday, Sept. 24, 5 pm
October 7-11, Eastwood Branch: James Palmore
T, W, Th, F from 3-5 pm; special Program Monday, Oct. 7, 5 pm
October 28-Nov. 1, Washington Square: Tanisha Pyron
M, T, Th, F from 3-5 pm; special program Wednesday Oct. 26, 5 pm
November 11-15, Oshtemo Branch: Al Harris
T, W, Th, F from 3-5 pm; special program Monday, Nov. 6, 5 pm
November 18-22, Central Library: Audrey Mills
M, T, W, F from 3-5 pm; special program Thursday, Nov. 20, 5 pm

October 12, 2019-April 5, 2020
Kalamazoo Valley Museum
Filling in the Gaps: The Art of Murphy Darden

The Kalamazoo artist and cultural historian explores black cowboys, his personal experiences in Mississippi, civil rights heroes, and the African American community in Kalamazoo.

Friday November 1, 5-8 pm
Black Arts & Cultural Center
Quilt Exhibition

Enjoy Michigan-made quilts that have a story about black culture and history, through the month of November.

November 14-17
Black Arts & Cultural Center's Face Off Theatre Company in collaboration with Queer Theatre Kalamazoo
A new installment of Elle, the episodic dramedy about Kalamazoo-based characters from the LGBTQ community.

Friday, November 15, 4 pm
WMU University Center for the Humanities
FREEDOM Speaker Series

Ibram X. Kendi is a New York Times bestselling author of The Black Campus Movement, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, and How to Be An Antiracist.

November 15-24
Western Michigan University Theatre
August Wilson's Gem of the Ocean

The first installment of Wilson's decade-by-decade, ten-play chronicle, The Pittsburgh Cycle, dramatizing the African-American experience in the 20th century.




Below are fall events at the KIA connected with our fall exhibitions.

RELATED EVENTS