New Cedarburg Art Exhibit Showcases Black-Owned Collections

Jul 7, 2020

Racial difference has been front and center in recent political and social discourse. But between all of the slogans, it’s easy to overlook the beauty and humanity.

The Cedarburg Art Museum is trying to bring some of that beauty and humanity to a town that’s less than 1% Black.

The temporary exhibit, guest curated by Milwaukee activist Evelyn Patricia Terry, is called "Eye of the Beholder: African Americans Collecting Art." Instead of featuring works by Black artists, they’re displaying 70 works that have been collected by Black residents of the Milwaukee area.

The idea of featuring these collections was created by the museum's board president Blaine Gibson and was the one to invite Terry onto the project. She says this project is special to Cedarburg because of the lack of diversity. 

Mary Chemotti, Cedarburg Art Museum’s main curator, says this is not the first time the museum has focused on incorporating Black art. She says the point of this exhibit is to show "that there are many Black collectors in both Milwaukee and Ozaukee [counties] who have amazing collections."

The exhibit comes from 24 different collections and features 52 different artists. Terry hopes this exhibit shows the joy that these collections can create.

"[Black] history has always been terrifying," she says. "We have to figure out how to get joy from what we are doing every day, and art carries our culture and joy." 

The exhibit officially opens in-person on Saturday. There's also a recorded virtual walkthrough led by Terry.