Preserving Art from the African Diaspora: Diasporal Rhythms Celebrates its 20th Anniversary

Diasporal Rhythms home tour guests on a visit to collector and Diasporal rhythms co-founder Patric McCoy’s South Side home.



When art collector Patric McCoy spoke with CGN 10 years ago, he shared the story of how a collecting group based on the South Side of Chicago had started a decade prior. Diasporal Rhythms, he explained, represented a different concept of collecting in Chicago, “Our organization is charged with how to redefine the term ‘collector.’ In America it has this meaning of being wealthy, private, academic - having the magic ability to know the future value of something. That’s what the majority of people in this country believe. We’re saying none of that has to be true. Particularly in our community on the South Side, we have to be the first voices.”

This year Diasporal Rhythms is marking 20 years of exhibiting and preserving art from the African Diaspora for the people of Chicago, and they have plans to celebrate in a big way. 

Founded in 2003 Diasporal Rhythms is the result of a spirited panel discussion at the South Side Art Center’s Collector’s Forum regarding the need to expand the appreciation of contemporary art to include the artists of the African Diaspora. Founders McCoy, Daniel Parker, Carol Briggs and Joan Crisler saw a need to create more equitable opportunities and a space for Black artists to showcase their art and access further opportunities. In the years since Diasporal Rhythms has consistently worked to provide programs and opportunities that amplify the voices of Black artists and collectors, all while providing a platform for art enthusiasts of all levels to engage learn, and network. 


A collector describes the art in her home on a Home Tour


Kate Lorenz, the former Executive Director of Hyde Park Arts Center sums up 20 years of impact in Chicago:

“Diasporal Rhythms has helped create a deep, vast, and authentic network of reciprocal support and admiration between artists and the community that defies categorization. As mainstream arts organizations and philanthropic organizations are called on to address racial justice and embrace community as part of their mission and work going forward, there is much to learn from Diasporal Rhythms.”

Diasporal Rhythms will present Perspective 2023 at Navy Pier to commemorate their anniversary. Perspective occurs yearly but this year’s edition will specifically honor and celebrate 20 years. It will run from October 6, 2023–January 31, 2024. An auction fundraiser is planned for October 15 & 23, and an Intimate Spaces Home Tour for October 7 & 8.

Tickets and details are at diasporalrhythms.org