How Black Women Are Leading a Grassroots Art Revolution

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By Artnet News. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Just days into the start of 2020, CityLab published an article analyzing which major American cities are the best, and the worst, for Black women residents. The report took into account a variety of metrics measuring "livability," and the consensus was that Midwestern metropolises including Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Detroit were the among the most inhospitable in the nation.

Despite the systemic sexism and racism reflected in the bleak findings, however, Black women artists within these same cities have been driving growth and change in their local art communities—often by rejecting conventional thinking about funding, institutions, and the market. In a recent piece for Artnet News, journalist Melissa Smith spoke to some of these trailblazing Black women artists about their histories, triumphs, and continuing challenges living and working in the Midwest.

On this week's episode, Smith joins Andrew Goldstein to discuss these issues, primarily through the lens of Pittsburgh-based artists Alisha Wormsley and Vanessa German. By navigating around (or outright ignoring) philanthropic systems all but designed to exclude them, leveraging crowdfunding platforms and grassroots networks, and developing alternate forms of patronage based on a more community-centric role for art, their approaches speak volumes about the possibilities and pitfalls of a different kind of art world.

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