EMERGENCE: Intersections at the Center

Opening: Friday, Apr 15, 2022 6 – 8 pm
Friday, Apr 15 – Jul 2, 2022

3831 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60653

The South Side Community Art Center (SSCAC) presents EMERGENCE: Intersections at the Center from April 15, 2022 - July 2, 2022. This exhibition positions SSCAC as an important anchor for Black LGBTQ artists who belonged to its community from its founding in 1940 to the 1980s. The exhibition is organized by Rebecca Zorach and curated by LaMar Gayles Jr. and zakkiyyah najeebah dumas o’neal.

This exhibition spotlights The South Side Community Art Center’s historical role in supporting a full spectrum of Black artists through an intersectional viewpoint. EMERGENCE features work by Ralph Arnold, Richmond Barthé, Sylvester Britton, William S. Carter, Mikki Ferrill, Jonathan Green, Juarez Hawkins, Berry Horton, Patric McCoy, Charles Sebree, Allen Stringfellow, and Ellis Wilson. The first exhibition of its kind at the South Side Community Art Center, artworks in the exhibition address themes of identity, community, queer spaces, and performance, in collage, painting, sculpture, photography, and more.

EMERGENCE emphasizes the middle decades of the twentieth century, from the 1940s to the 1980s. Historical research reveals that many artists affiliated with the Center, even in its early decades, had romantic and sexual lives that included same-sex partners and desires. Whether this experience is visible in their work is another question entirely—one that we open up to our audience to help us consider, rather than making conclusive claims about it. Alongside artists who might today identify as LGBTQ, the exhibition also includes artists who depicted spaces and performances that were part of the South Side’s queer life, or who collaborated with, influenced, or inspired other artists in the exhibition, without themselves being queer-identified.

Major support for EMERGENCE was provided by a Terra Foundation Re-Envisioning Permanent Collections grant. Programming support is provided by Northwestern University Mary Jane Crowe Program funds.


About SSCAC:

Founded in 1940, SSCAC is the oldest Black American art center in the United States and is a Chicago Historic Landmark. While taking pride in our rich past, we today build on our legacy and innovatively serve as an artist- and community-centered resource with programs and exhibitions.

The mission of the South Side Community Art Center is to conserve, preserve and promote the legacy and future of Black American art and artists while educating the community on the value of art and culture.