The Leonardo and the Utah Black Chamber are announcing the opening of a traveling exhibition designed to foster community dialogue on the topics of race and the Black experience.
The exhibition will be on display at The Leonardo from February 17 through April 14, and will be accessible to the public from Wednesdays through Sundays from noon to 5pm. The exhibition is curated by the Kaufman Museum.
“Telling the stories of Black Americans in this country is important all year, but we are exceedingly pleased to bring this visual conversation to the forefront for Utahns during the 2021 Black History Month celebration,” said Nikki Walker, Utah County Chair, Utah Black Chamber. “Conversations on race can be difficult and uncomfortable and the Utah Black Chamber realizes that. Having the unique opportunity to partner with allies like The Leonardo Museum helps us to amplify not only our voices, but the voices of the underrepresented as a whole. We look forward to lively discussions and fruitful feedback during the stay of this exhibition and are excited to build upon them in the future.”
The exhibit: Sorting Out Race
Every day thrift stores across America receive donations of objects that display racial imagery— antique advertising cards, collectible salt-and-pepper shakers, vintage children’s books, and mugs with sports team mascots. Are these objects harmless reminders of historical attitudes or do they continue to perpetuate negative stereotypes about race? Should thrift stores sell these objects? Or should they be “sorted out” of the resale environment and discarded?
Sorting Out Race arose out of a desire to divert artifacts with racial content from thrift stores to an exhibit that would generate a healthy community conversation about racial stereotypes past and present in order to heighten awareness of our continuing struggles with race.
In conjunction with the exhibition, the Utah Black Chamber will produce a series of panel discussions on Religion and the Black Experience, Fraternal Organizations and their place in Black History, as well as Black Iconography throughout the decades. Dates, guests and more information will be available soon at www.theleonardo.org.
“We are honored to partner with the Black Chamber in hosting this important national exhibition, as well as content specific to Utah, ” said The Leonardo’s Executive Director Alexandra Hesse. “The exhibit and partnership aligns with our mission of providing a safe place for learning and the constructive exchange of ideas. And while conversations about race can be uncomfortable, talking–and most importantly–listening to understand and empathize with other people’s experiences is a hallmark of strong and thriving communities.”