‘A Mirror of Our Common Humanity’

Where We Stand artists include: Back row, from left: Al Harris Jr., Tanisha Pyron, Audrey Mills, Brent Harris and James C. Palmore. Front row, from left: Maria Scott, Chakila Hoskins. © 2019 Encore Publications/Brian Powers

When the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts landed the only Midwest stop of the exhibit Black Refractions: Highlights from The Studio Museum in Harlem, a national traveling exhibition that spans 200 years of American art history, it was understandably a big deal.

But the KIA saw Black Refractions as a catalyst for a much deeper dive into the works and contributions of African-American and black artists in this community and beyond. The result is a communitywide, collaborative celebration with multiple exhibitions and events spanning three months that will use art, literature, music, history and performance to create dialogue about class, diversity, access and social justice.

This package of stories discusses how the exhibit inspired a community conversation, the companion exhibition featuring local black artists, community events and documentary that are part of it:

Kara Norman

Kara grew up on the East Coast and moved to Kalamazoo from Colorado two years ago. Describing herself as “writer, artist, wilderness fiend, now mama and (therefore) half-sane person,” Kara provides some of Encore’s freshest stories on artists, food and more.

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Exhibit reveals area’s rich community of black artists
KIA turns exhibition into community conversation
Local ‘cowboy’ lassos the past one artifact and artwork at a time

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