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Artists of color take center stage in Racine Art Museum’s new exhibit

todayMarch 4, 2024

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Paul Andrew Wandless Potters of the Earth and Sea 2021 Underglaze, watercolor underglaze, and linocut on earthenware, and wood 11 1/4 x 18 inches Racine Art Museum, Windgate Foundation Contemporary Craft Acquisition Grant Photography: Courtesy of the Artist

The Racine Art Museum (RAM) in Racine, Wisconsin, will host a groundbreaking “Craft in Color” exhibition beginning on March 6, 2024, and will run through January 11, 2025. This exhibition is a vibrant celebration of contemporary craft, showcasing works in clay, glass, and metal by artists of color from the museum’s extensive permanent collection, recognized as the largest contemporary craft collection in North America.

“Craft in Color” is not just an exhibition; it’s a statement on the importance of diversity and representation in the art world. The exhibition challenges traditional notions of craft and the artists behind the creations, offering a platform for artists of color whose experiences and heritage inform their work in profound ways. While the pieces on display are not overtly issue-oriented, the underlying context of the artists’ experiences with implicit and explicit biases adds a layer of complexity and depth to the narrative these objects convey.

Curated by Lena Vigna, RAM’s Curator of Exhibitions, the exhibition aims to challenge viewers on multiple levels. Vigna emphasizes that the works are exemplary pieces of contemporary craft and subvert some expectations about who craft artists are and what they create. The exhibition includes diverse works, from teapots and jewelry pieces to glass sculpture and clay relief prints, thereby expanding the definition of contemporary craft.

Previously, RAM showcased the work of artists of color without explicitly highlighting their racial or ethnic backgrounds. However, “Craft in Color” marks a deliberate shift towards acknowledging and celebrating these artists’ identities, moving towards greater equity in the art world. The exhibition underscores the importance of seeing artists of color in various contexts and actively seeks new pathways toward equity.

The exhibition is supported by various sponsors, including Platinum Sponsors such as The Estate of Karen Johnson Boyd and the Windgate Foundation. It is part of RAM’s commitment to presenting significant art exhibitions and educational programs across its two campuses: RAM in downtown Racine and RAM’s Charles A. Wustum Museum of Fine Arts.


Written by: Tarik Moody

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