116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Home / Alternative art experience celebrates Black artists in Iowa
Alternative art experience celebrates Black artists in Iowa
The experience will be part house concert, artist reception and exhibition
CEDAR RAPIDS — A Cedar Rapids artist will showcase and celebrate art by Black artists from around the state and “re-imagine how art is traditionally experienced” starting this weekend.
Akwi Nji, an Iowa-based artist, who will host “In Living Color: Black Art in Iowa” at Threshold Gallery, which is located in her 1,200 square foot Cedar Rapids home, instead of in a gallery setting, concert venue or a lecture hall. The programmed alternative art experience will be part house concert, artist reception and exhibition with a talk by Chicago-based art collector Patric McCoy, who is a “nationally-renowned advocate of an egalitarian approach to art curation and collection,” according to news release.
Fourteen artists are represented in the exhibition, including B. Moore, Jill Wells, Mike Hollingsworth, Nicole Davis and Jordan Brooks. Some artists are self-taught while others are formally trained.
“This is a collaboration between artists who are interested in disrupting the idea of what it means to be an exhibiting artist and with whom we exhibit or share space,” Nji said. “It’s a reinvention of existing models and the participating artists recognize it as one example of how we can move closer to equitable access and representation.”
She said collaborators and supporters of this endeavor include the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, which facilitated the connection between Nji and McCoy, the Iowa Arts Council and the “robust” network of Iowa artists who offered recommendations of artists to include in the exhibition, and thought partners like Bath-based artist Maxim Jones who has been a consultant as programming details have finalized.
“Two critical motivations of In Living Color are to offer an anecdote or alternative to the elitism prevalent in traditional settings and to amplify the role of the everyday citizen as critical in supporting and developing a thriving cultural ecosystem and community,” Nji said in a statement. “This is an intentional effort to blur the lines between traditional markets, driven by institutions, and the equally important markets driven by everyday people.”
Nji said Threshold is a concept with no home base, no brick-and-mortar, no limited liability company or nonprofit status. It’s an idea, a concept, a model as transient and liminal as its name implies.
The event takes a three-pronged approach to celebrating and showcasing visual art and music by Black Iowans:
- In-person, ticketed event from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday that serves as an artist reception, house concert with live music, art exhibit and artist talk. Light refreshments will be served.
- Series of virtual artist conversations through the month of September via Zoom and the Threshold Instagram account @threshold.gallery.
- Virtual, monthlong exploration of the artists’ works through the Threshold Instagram account through Sept. 30.
“The decision to showcase art solely by Black artists in this inaugural Threshold experience is informed, in part, by the extensive and troubling data illustrating the gross underrepresentation of artists of color, women artists, and artists who identify as queer in traditional collections and arts institutions,” Nji said in a statement.
Event details and tickets to the Saturday Threshold experience are $25 and can be purchased via Eventbrite In Living Color: Black Art in Iowa. Follow @threshold.gallery on Instagram to view artist interviews and the virtual exhibition through Sept. 30.
Comments: (319) 398-8318; firstname.lastname@example.org
What: In Living Color: Black Art in Iowa
When: 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday
Where: Private residence, location will be emailed with ticket confirmation email.
Cost: $25 at www.eventbrite.com/e/in-living-color-black-art-in-iowa-tickets-392468723517