Black women artists from a variety of media will meet on Tuesday, September 20 at 6 p.m. to discuss how institutions in Madison can better support them and their work.
In a free panel sponsored by the Madison Arts Commission and the Friends of the Madison Arts Commission, five women will speak, in part, about the recent breach of trust around “Ain’t IA Woman?” Triennial exhibition at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art.
“Madison is a community that values civil public discourse,” said Karin Wolf, the city’s arts administrator. “One of the things I’ve heard from people is that there was no opportunity to come together and talk about what happened.”
Lilada Gee, digital artist, muralist, preacher and author, is due to speak. She runs a project called Defending Black Girlhood, and her work was featured in the triennial until it was vandalized earlier this summer at the MMoCA.
Former Madison Poet Laureate Fabu Carter and a young poet, Grace Ruo, who is a freshman in the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s First Wave program in the Office of Multicultural Arts Initiatives, will also be part of the panel.
Catrina Sparkman, author of fiction and non-fiction, rounds out the speakers. She is also a theater artist and artistic director of Creator’s Cottage, a creative space in South Madison for women artists of color. And Sonia Valle, a musician, visual artist and teacher at Leopold Elementary School, will perform before the start of the panel and talk about it as well.
The event is scheduled for Madison College’s Goodman South Campus Community Hall, 2429 Perry St., where there is room for about 200 people. Registration is freeand once it fills up, the city will send out a Zoom link so people can attend virtually.
This artist panel was originally scheduled to be held at the MMoCA in July as part of “Ain’t IA Woman?” which ends on October 9. The panel encountered several delays over the summer, and during this time many artists withdrew their work from the exhibit.
According to arts administrator Wolf, the organizers then decided “to have the discussion in a more neutral place”.
“We’re really excited to center the voices of black female artists and hear directly from them,” Wolf said. “We want funders to listen to the artists themselves, about what will help them. Black women say they are not being supported, so let’s talk…what could help propel their careers .”
Events at the MMoCA have recently been traumatic for the arts community, Wolf said.
“Racialized prejudice is negatively impacting the ecology of the arts in Madison. We want to explore how we can heal, how we can move forward from here.”