So, lets talk about inclusion vs. exclusivity. Working for a culturally specific and historically significant art center can seem like a touchy or strange situation, especially if it's obvious that I don't belong to that group, but to me it's a non-issue. What is most important is that people are introduced to the space with an awareness of and respect for it's history, mission, and place in the community. Although the art center is one of the oldest African American art centers in the country, it is not an place designed to be exclusive. "Welcome home." That's what we say to every person who walks in those doors regardless of race, gender, economic background... you get the idea. It is a home. It is a sanctuary. It is a living historical institution (... a museum, a gallery, a workshop, a meeting place, a hub for artistic thought and expression... i can wear you out on what it "is".) IT IS NOT EXCLUSIVE. (Praise the stars and the cosmos!)
The idea is to share the rich history and let people navigate the space with informed eyes, open minds, and eager hearts. I think i just wrote a formula for love?
eghads this is getting ridiculous.
Point being, this is an inclusive community not an exclusive one. The art center is going to be overwhelming no matter how you're introduced to it- so for now i will leave you with a poem. (OH YEAH- THIS JUST HAPPENED.) This is by an artist who spent a lot of time at the art center, and is known to have enjoied sitting in the window of our gallery. Her book of Selected Poems was my favorite bit of reading material that was given to me as part of my introduction to the art center. Without further adieu...