New exhibit highlights work by Black Lives Matter artists

Detail from 'And by the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air...' by Marco Elliott
July 1, 2021 - 3:10pm

The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is launching a group exhibition this month in the Arlene Schnitzer Gallery featuring artwork generated by recipients of the museum’s Black Lives Artist Grant Program awards.

'El Grito' by Marina Hajek Focusing on social justice themes such as marginalized communities, systemic racism and inequality, original artwork created by 20 emerging young artists from Ashland, Bend and the Eugene area, including several by UO students, will be on display. The artwork represents a range of mediums, from drawings, paintings, video and performance to photography, installations, sculpture and digital art.

“There is a vitality and urgency to the works we’ll be presenting, and a wide range of moods, visual strategies and voices,” said John Weber, executive director of the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. “We are gratified to be presenting these artists and this art as we continue long-term work to dismantle the legacies of white supremacy and create a more just society.”

Funded by the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation, the $150,000 grant program, which included art museums supported by Jordan Schnitzer at the UO, Portland State University and Washington State University, awarded each artist a cash award of $2,500 and an opportunity to participate in an exhibition.

John Adair photograph Partnering with the Lyllye Reynolds-Parker Black Cultural Center, the UO museum assembled a selection panel to choose the grant winners. Panel members included Sabrina Madison-Cannon, the Phyllis and Andrew Berwick Dean in the School of Music and Dance; Jamar Bean, Multicultural Center program adviser; and Department of Art assistant professor Jovencio de la Paz.

“This collaborative Black Lives Matter Artist Grant has allowed local, upcoming and seasoned artists to be activists using their craft and skills as artists,” said Aris Hall, the coordinator for the Black Cultural Center who oversaw the grant selection jury. “I am encouraged that this exhibition will be an opportunity to create meaningful dialogue, while also giving space for reflection and activism at a time in our country’s history in which we still have to declare that Black lives matter.”

The Black Lives Matter exhibition will open to the public July 3. Pending health directives from the Oregon Health Authority and the UO pandemic incident management team, an outdoor public reception is planned for July 8 from 5 to 7 p.m.

—By Sharleen Nelson, University Communications