January call for black artists and sponsors for first ‘You A Wonder’ exhibit
By: Terry Rader
The Center for Visual Artists invites all local black artists working in any medium to submit artwork to its open call for the first “You A Wonder” exhibit, which celebrates Black History Month. According to the website, the exhibition will honor “the many ways black people are creating in Greensboro.” The call for art includes visual artists, filmmakers, costume and fashion designers, performers, dancers, musicians, singer-songwriters, poets, writers, printmakers, digital artists and more. (Drop-off days are Jan.14 through 20 and pick-up days are March 16 through 22.)
The exhibition will run from Feb. 1 through March 15, and the opening reception includes live music by Debbie the Artist.
CVA outreach and arts engagement coordinator Devon McKnight said that people have been reaching out on Facebook and Instagram and are excited about this first-ever black exhibit with no strict guidelines. McKnight said that artists are encouraged to submit their unique and different works of art without fear of being turned away. She also plans to incorporate artist talks, along with panel discussions, performances, parties and gatherings to accompany the exhibition and further engage the public. McKnight said she is looking for panelists in the community who want to create a more combative, energetic discussion as opposed to simply educating, as done in past CVA exhibitions.
Artist Amy Sherald (most well-known for her 2018 Michelle Obama painting), inspired “You A Wonder,” McKnight said. The name of the exhibition comes from one of her paintings titled, “Listen, you a wonder, you a city of a woman, you got a geography of your own.”
For Black History Month events throughout February, McKnight said the CVA is working with Larry Wright from Paper2Film, who has been a “great connector for the CVA.” She said the CVA has worked with Wright on previous exhibits and appreciate how he wants to support CVA’s mission in providing spaces for the community to showcase local talent. McKnight said events such as open mics, spoken-word poetry, a Diana Ross tribute performance, film screenings and more would be planned every weekend and hosted by P2F.
The Center for Visual Artists is a 501(c)(3) visual art nonprofit organization that provides studio workspaces and exhibition opportunities for local artists, educational classes opportunities for children and adults, as well as summer art camps and outreach programs in local schools. The gallery is located on the second floor of the Cultural Arts Center, (between the African American Atelier and the Native American Gallery), and across the hall from GreenHill Gallery. McKnight said the CVA has been an integral source for art, education, and exhibits since its inception as The Greensboro Artist’s League in 1956.
CVA is starting a whole new year with a new staff hired in 2018 with a goal to be more community-oriented, McKnight said. She said that they work very lean, with only three part-time employees including herself, education coordinator Alison Little, along with director of operations Corrie Lisk-Hurst (who was the previous curator of the Greensboro Artist’s League).
McKnight said that the need for sponsorship and donations are great. There are individual, family and corporate sponsorships and many ways to support the CVA, including volunteering time. She said that even gallery sitting for a couple of hours could make a difference.
“In this world, it is important to highlight marginalized groups that are usually pushed out of spaces. We are creating spaces for them,” McKnight said of the “You A Wonder” exhibition. “To clarify, the show gives a voice where people who don’t usually get to tell their stories can do so in their own way, with full freedom in their art and expression.”
TERRY RADER is a freelance writer, poet and songwriter, formerly an ad agency creative director/branding strategist/copywriter and Earth Harmony columnist, a storyteller on a mission to raise awareness for creativity and environmental sustainability along with part-time work in Community Outreach & Wellness at Deep Roots Market Co-op and her business, Paws n’ Peace o’ Mind, Pet/Housesitter/Day Visits/Special Needs & Senior Pets
The Opening Reception is on 2/1, 6 at 9 p.m., and runs through 3/15 at Center for Visual Artists, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Hours: Tues-Thurs, noon-5 p.m., Fri, noon-7 p.m., Sat., noon-5 p.m. and Sun., 2 p.m.-5 p.m., 336.333.7475, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.greensboroart.org/, www.greensboroart.org/cva-gallery. Call for artists: www.facebook.com/events/2257245827822358/.