INDIANAPOLIS — An exhibit opening this week at Newfields in Indianapolis probably would not have been possible just a few short years ago. But two racials reckonings within two years have changed much about the city's art scene, and it means a wider audience for the works of several influential Black artists.
Newfields is hosting "We. The Culture" starting this week. It features the works of The 18 Art Collective — the 18 artists who came together in August 2020 to paint an iconic Black Lives Matter mural on Indiana Avenue.
The artists decided to continue to collaborate beyond the summer when the nation dealt with the fallout from protests of police brutality involving Black people. They have since featured their work in a number of forums, plus they began workshops for young people to help cultivate a new generation of artists.
As The 18's influence grew, racism became a focal point for the former Indianapolis Museum of Art in February 2021. That's when an employment posting for Newfields contained a job description stating that the person hired stated the person hired needed to work with programs to attract a more diverse audience "while maintaining the Museum’s traditional, core, white art audience."
Following a management overhaul at Newfields, the museum began efforts to reach out to Black leaders and Black artists. That led to a partnership with the cultural firm GangGang, which helped lead to The 18 Art Collective's new exhibit.
Watch our chat with two of The 18's artists — Deonna Craig and Amiah Sims — in the link above, and click here to find out more information about "We. The Culture" at Newfields.