During spring and summer of 2022 KAM welcomed new opportunities to make space for inclusion as the Hood Classroom became a site for two pop-up exhibitions and corresponding programming.
Because the exhibition calendar is planned years in advance, the ability to host pop-up exhibitions provided flexibility to show art that responds to community needs within a shorter timeframe.
The use of the Hood Classroom for this purpose was grounded in KAM’s efforts to build community engagement, focusing on those historically excluded from art museums.
In February, Reckless Law, Shameless Order: An Intimate Experience of Incarceration featured artwork by formerly incarcerated artists from Chicago, Iran, and Burma,and was designed, executed, and curated by University of Illinois Visiting Artist Nasrin Navab, in collaboration with Sarah Ross and Pablo Mendoza. It included visual art, artifacts, sound,and video that focused on issues like deprivation, punishment, surveillance, and perceptions around incarceration and freedom, emphasizing our common humanity.
Then in April, we hosted Latina Community Voces, an installation designed by Latina girls from Urbana Middle School in partnership with Girls Go for It! (GGFI) and the College of Education to increase visibility of Latina/x girls’ experiences and promote equitable, authentic representation of communities of color in public spaces. The exhibition centered the girls’ experiences through music, food, language, writing, and an interactive map of important local places.
Both exhibitions featured first person narratives that brought regional experiences directly into the museum. Programming took the form of celebratory exhibition receptions, a storytelling event, poetry reading, and theatrical play reading to activate the space and extend the platform for artists, community members, and campus leaders to share their work and experiences.
Looking ahead, we continue to plan and play with flexible spaces as opportunities to create a more inclusive museum.