This new joint program was designed by the Center with the help of Rhode Island School of Design Museum staff to explore slavery, the slave trade, racial identity and reconciliation through the RISD Museum’s extensive collection of art and artifacts. These one-time temporary exhibitions are part of the Providence Gallery Night where people can visit art galleries around town. The Art of Race exhibit serves as a catalyst for conversation about race.
Jan Howard, Chief Curator & Curator of Prints, Drawings & Photographs at RISD has worked with Elon Cook, CFR Program Director to set up the Galley Nights. RISD provides a classroom space and identifies 3-5 items related to race and reconciliation to display. These are often items from the museum’s archives which are not normally available for public viewing. RISD provides a expert to talk about the art aspects and the CFR provides historians to talk about the race and reconciliation aspects of each work. This is an interesting interactive experience where participants engage with experts and each other in seeing what each work of art is saying to viewer and what it is saying about race, race relations and reconciliation.