Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History presents “Say It Loud: Art, History, Rebellion” Exhibition of art contextualizing black resistance from the 1960s to contemporary times
June 27, 2017 (Detroit) — The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History (The Wright Museum) presents “Say It Loud: Art, History, Rebellion.” It will open to the public on July 23, 2017. This date coincides with the 50th anniversary of Detroit’s 1967 Rebellion, which is often considered the most impactful period of racial unrest of the 20th century in the United States.
Over the last year, The Wright Museum has presented dozens of public educational programs examining the causes and effects of the events in Detroit and drawing parallels to related situations across the nation and abroad. The Wright Museum began its remembrance of this complicated and painful historical experience with the unveiling of Detroit artist Charles McGee’s landmark outdoor sculpture “United We Stand” at the Museum in July 2016.
A recipient of a prestigious Knight Arts Challenge Detroit grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the “Say It Loud” exhibit uses the power of African American artistry to provide an entry point for better understanding the past and pointing the way towards a stronger and more united future.
“Artists tell our stories, and can explore the events of the day, and our history, on a deeper, more human level,” said Victoria Rogers, vice president for arts at Knight Foundation. “We hope that this project and other artistic endeavors surrounding the events of 1967 will help to create empathy and understanding among neighbors who share a past, present and a future.”
The first part of the exhibition will be installed outside on the Museum’s grounds, which can be accessed by visitors at any time of the day or night. Using large-scale photographs and quotes, it presents the factors that led up to the Detroit rebellion and describes what occurred in its aftermath. Each piece will also invite viewers to access additional information via their mobile devices.
The second part of “Say It Loud” will be available inside The Wright Museum during regular visiting hours. The Wright Museum will display politically and socially informed works by more than 40 nationally-recognized artists, including native Detroiters, across multiple generations and disciplines. The Wright Museum’s exhibition will show how African American artists have responded to injustice and transformed the national consciousness over several decades.
“Artists have a way of bringing moral clarity and promoting empathy,” said Juanita Moore, president and CEO of The Wright Museum. “They can often articulate the emotional truth of a situation in a way that breaks through our mental barriers and opens us to new perspectives in a way that other forms of communication cannot. This new exhibit will both show how some of the most significant African American visual artists have interpreted and resisted social inequities over time, and broaden the historical narrative and dialogue around the 1967 Rebellion.”
The Wright Museum partnered with the Detroit Institute of Arts to create parallel exhibitions — the DIA’s “Art of Rebellion: Black Art of the Civil Rights Movement” will open on the same day as “Say It Loud.” Both are a part of a community-wide reflection of the 1967 Detroit Rebellion. More than 100 local institutions will be participating in this commemoration, led by the Detroit Historical Museum.
The Wright Museum’s “Say It Loud” will run through January 2018. Museum Hours and Admission 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Tuesdays–Saturdays, 1-5 p.m. Sundays. General admission for members and children under 3 are free. For all others, $8 for adults, $5 for seniors ages 62+, $5 for ages 3–12. For more information, call 313-494-5800.
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About the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History was founded in 1965 and is located in the heart of Midtown Detroit’s Cultural Center. The Wright Museum opens minds and changes lives through the exploration and celebration of African American history and culture. And Still We Rise: Our Journey Through African American History and Culture — The Wright Museum’s 22,000 square foot, interactive core exhibit — is the largest single exhibition on African American history in existence. Over 35,000 artifacts and archival materials are housed in The Wright Museum, and more than 300 public events occur at the museum annually.
About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy.