The first traveling museum exhibition to focus on Black ceramic artists working today, this survey of functional and sculptural ceramics shines a light on 36 innovative makers. Inspired by the recently published book Contemporary Black American Ceramic Artists and co-curated by authors Chotsani Elaine Dean and Donald a Clark, the exhibition recognizes the important, current contributions of African American ceramicists.
The artworks in this exhibition demonstrate a range of techniques and explore topics of historical and contemporary relevance. Understanding the role of clay in carrying ancestral and cultural knowledge from Africa to the Americas, several artists use their medium to explore history, including histories of enslavement, as well as heritage and identity. Other artists respond to calls for social justice, celebrate Black beauty, or convey personal stories of connection, celebration, and triumph. Incorporating processes that range from wheel throwing to slab building, and showcasing works that draw inspiration from other media including quilting and graffiti, this exhibition aims to broaden conversations about contemporary studio ceramics while asserting the presence and excellence of Black makers.
This exhibition was organized by the Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
As They Saw It: Women Artists Then & Now
As They Saw It: Women Artists Then & Now celebrates the vision and creativity of American women artists working across three centuries. The exhibition emphasizes varied experiences and approaches to artmaking, while pushing back against the underrepresentation of women in the arts. The over 60 works on view showcase how women—despite social, economic, and cultural barriers—express their identities and shape their “herstories” through artistic expression.
Drawn from the collections of three partner museums—the Springfield Museums; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and the Fenimore Art Museum—and organized by an all-women curatorial team, As They Saw It foregrounds collaboration and connection. The paintings, drawings, photographs, textiles, and sculptures are in dialogue across three thematic sections. The first features self-portraits and explorations of identity by artists including Kyra Hicks. In the second, the powerful bonds of sisterhood and community are conveyed through artworks such as Dancing on the George Washington Bridge II by Faith Ringgold. Finally, the closing section calls attention to the importance of multi-generational relationships and highlights women’s roles as stewards of knowledge, creative practices, and artistic techniques. Representing these concepts are works such as a 19th-century Diné Women’s Dress with a contemporary Sash by D. Y. Begay.
Showcasing how women artists have defined, supported, and sustained one another, As They Saw It: Women Artists Then & Now sheds light on the essential contributions of American women artists. In an era of debate about women’s rights and when museums, including the Springfield Museums, are striving to increase representation in their collections, the exhibition embraces conversations about contemporary issues related to the arts, advocacy, and gender.
As They Saw It is one in a series of American art exhibitions organized through a multi-year, multi-institutional partnership led by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, as part of the Art Bridges Initiative.
Ways of My Ancestors: We are Nipmuc. We are the Freshwater People.
The Springfield Museums are proud to present “Ways of My Ancestors: We Are Nipmuc. We Are Freshwater People,” an exhibit in the Science Museum that was created to celebrate and educate the public about Nipmuc people currently living and working in Central and Western Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.
The exhibit, which highlights the regalia, traditional arts, and current lives of Nipmuc people, was guest-curated by Andre StrongBearHeart Gaines, Jr., and features photography by Scott Strong Hawk Foster, both members of the Nipmuc tribe. This is the first exhibit featured in the Springfield Science Museum’s Native Hall that focuses exclusively on the Native people who historically occupied this land and honors the lives and work of the Nipmuc people.