Downtown murals to be featured at BACC Exhibit, reopening today, and Kalamazoo Valley Museum
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, January 8, 2021
Contact: Meghan Behymer, Communications + Marketing Manager
email@example.com | 269-344-0795
Murals painted by artists in Downtown Kalamazoo in June of last year will continue to be displayed downtown, accessible to the community, through an exhibit coordinated by the Black Arts & Cultural Center and at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum.
Amidst Black Lives Matter protests in June 2020, the Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership worked hand-in-hand with Dream Scene Creative Placemaking and 36 different artists to create nearly 30 murals on boarded up storefronts downtown.
“The intent of this initiative was to offer a platform to voices who have historically felt underrepresented in our community and our downtown.” Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership Chief Operating Office Jennifer Kitson Jelenek said. “We believe it’s important that these voices continue to be heard and this work remains accessible to the public.”
In June, collaborating with public space artists from Dream Scene Placemaking, the Partnership worked to pair artists with businesses, offered compensation to all artists, and helped provide materials. Materials were also donated by Douglas & Son Inc. in downtown Kalamazoo.
Once boards were removed from businesses, the Partnership relocated all murals to the Arcadia Creek Festival Place for display during the summer season. The Partnership then worked with community partners to identify opportunities for the murals to have a longer-term presence downtown.
In September 2020, the Kalamazoo Valley Museum (KVM) accepted nearly a dozen pieces from the mural project as part of its mission to collect, preserve, and promote the region’s history, but also a part of its strategic commitment to become a more diverse, equitable, accessible and inclusive museum.
In October 2020, the Black Arts & Cultural Center requested use of 10 murals for a temporary exhibit entitled “Make Room” in the Epic Center downtown. The exhibit was closed temporarily due to COVID restrictions but opens again today until January 23.
“Public art is such an important part of our community and our downtown,” said Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership President Andrew Haan. “We are excited to be able to partner with arts organizations like the Kalamazoo Valley Museum and Black Arts & Cultural Center to keep these murals accessible to the community.”
Black Arts & Cultural Center “Make Room” Exhibit
After a temporary closure due to the pandemic, the Black Arts & Cultural Center’s “Make Room” Exhibit has reopened to the public until January 23.
The Black Arts & Cultural Center has collaborated with artist in the field of arts, music, activism and technology to invite the community into a space with multi-sensory installations that make room to connect with creativity, culture and community. The “Make Room” Exhibit, located at the Epic Center’s Judy Jolliffe Theatre, is an immersive space for cause, culture, and creativity featuring 11+ creative areas that amplify black voices, promote cause and drive narrative change.
The ‘Make Room’ Exhibit features several murals from the Kalamazoo Valley Museum’s collection, as well as other murals created as part of the June 2020 downtown mural project. The exhibit features the following murals:
- Assata’s Fist by Alex Hoyle and Hillary Snyder
- Breonna Taylor by Blake Eason and Joelle McIntyre
- Trayvon Martin by Blake Eason and Joelle McIntyre
- Untitled by Unknown
- Freedom by Kiara Sims
- Untitled by Samara Woolfolk
- Untitled by Catalina Gonzalez
- Portrait of George Floyd by Unknown
- Two Untitled pieces by Lesley Serri
Those interested in visiting the “Make Room” Exhibit reserve a time by visiting https://blackartskalamazoo.org/. Masks are required unless taking a photo and temperatures are checked at the door. Reservations are required to control capacity and keep the community safe.
Kalamazoo Valley Museum
The Kalamazoo Valley Museum plans to incorporate some of the pieces into its permanent exhibit spaces including its History Gallery and Core Gallery, along with other areas like Children’s Landscape. Murals will also be used in upcoming temporary exhibits whenever they can be used as interpretive tools. Lastly, the pieces will be displayed during special events at the Museum, including but definitely not limited to, the annual Juneteenth celebration and Black History Month programs. As part of the Museum’s permanent collection, images and information about each of the murals will be part of the online database which is available to the public through the KVM website.
Featured murals include the following works:
- Assata’s Fist by Alex Hoyle & Hillary Snyder
- Breonna Taylor by Blake Eason & Joelle McIntyre
- Trayvon Martin by Blake Eason & Joelle McIntyre
- Lift Every Voice by Keaka Stokes
- The Only Answer is Yes by Ashante Collins
- Seichō, by William Hays
- We Matter by Darek J. Roberts
- Justice, Peace, Equality by Unknown
- Breathe, by Lesley Serri
- George Floyd by Rob Ito
About Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership
Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership is a 501(c)3, non-profit organization that works with both the public and private sectors in preserving and enhancing the economic health of Kalamazoo’s downtown area and, in turn, the Kalamazoo community. In conjunction with its affiliate organizations, it manages a full range of activities that include capital improvement projects, business development and recruitment programs, image marketing and event planning in order to establish Downtown Kalamazoo as an accessible, diverse, green, progressive and vibrant urban center. For more information, visit downtownkalamazoo.org, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, or find more downtown news on our website.
###Make Room Exhibit Kalamazoo Valley Museum