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KIA spotlights great art, as well as Black History Month

Updated: Wednesday, March 28, 2012 |
KIA spotlights great art, as well as Black History Month story image
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – About a decade ago, the Kalamazoo Institute of Art started a concerted effort to bring in African-American art. This February, curators there put a spotlight on it.

Over the course of the month, the institute has offered a special focus on the African-American community.

Associate curator Greg Waskowski says that the KIA's collection features roughly 150 works by African-American artists, but that they're difficult to pick out—and that's by design.

"They are of all different mediums. Sculptures, paintings, prints, drawings," Waskowski said.

The efforts of these artists, he says, are blended in with everything else.
“You don't want to single these artists out and say they're African-American artists before they're artists. You want to recognize them as artists. But at the same time, it's important that they're unique vision is acknowledged,” said Waskowski.

The KIA also held classes in February looking specifically at this part of its collection, which were open to anyone and everyone. Waskowski discussed his pleasure that there were both white and African-American participants in the class, and praised the multiple viewpoints that can spring from it.

Even though differences between artists and their works might be hard to spot, Waskowski hopes people will come to the Institute to seek them out.

"While our whole collection is 4,000 works, that's 150 has some really important pieces in it. I think this work has a tremendous amount to offer to all viewers,” he said.

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