University Museum of Contemporary Art Awarded $100,000 by National Endowment for the Arts for Du Bois Project
April 26, 2012
|Contact:||Daniel J. Fitzgibbons|
AMHERST, Mass. - The National Endowment for the Arts has awarded a $100,000 grant to the University Museum of Contemporary Art at the University of Massachusetts Amherst for a fall 2013 exhibition, "Du Bois in Our Time."
The interdisciplinary project will mark the 50th anniversary of the death of civil rights leader and writer W.E.B. Du Bois and the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. "Du Bois in Our Time" will explore the intersection of art and the major issues of our time with specific emphasis on the Du Bois legacy and the causes he championed, according to museum director Loretta Yarlow.
"In a time when funding artistic experimentation is receding," says Yarlow, "we are delighted to receive support for an exhibition that pushes the boundaries of artistic practice, investigates new territory and cross-disciplinary exploration and supports collaboration among artists and scholars."
UMCA is inviting a number of artists who are known for their "socially engaged" and "research-based" work to collaborate with scholars to investigate Du Bois’s influence on American social justice, women’s rights, higher education, the arts, environmentalism, and political action. The participating scholars and artists will draw upon the W.E.B. Du Bois Collection, a repository of more than 100,000 essays, publications, speeches, photographs and letters housed at the UMass Amherst libraries. The collection is expected to be fully digitized and available online by the end of 2013.
Among the participating artists are Radcliffe Bailey, Brendan Fernandes, Ann Messner, Jefferson Pinder, William Pope.L, Tim Rollins and K.O.S. (Kids of Survival), and Carrie Mae Weems, as well as UMass Amherst scholars and those from other universities including James T. Campbell, Saidya V. Hartman, David L. Lewis, W.J.T. Mitchell, Nell Painter and Reiland Rabaka.
All participants will generate ideas, themes and directions and the scholars will function as "midwives’ to support the artistic process," according to Yarlow. Original works of art and web-based projects will be created by the invited artists in the context of W.E.B. Du Bois and his legacy.
A symposium also is being planned along with a publication to include papers delivered at the conference, interviews with artists, archival material from the Du Bois collection, and images of the commissioned art works in the exhibition.
Yarlow is expecting "Du Bois in Our Time" to set a new paradigm for art creation by engaging scholars and artists to collaborate and create a collection in a different and contemporary context.
At UMass Amherst, UMCA is working on the project with several academic departments, including Afro-American studies, history, anthropology, English and art.
The NEA grant, which is the maximum amount awarded to one museum, is a matching grant, says Yarlow, which will help the museum seek additional support for the exhibition.