The M. Rosetta Hunter Art Gallery will be hosting the Porches, Panthers and “Progress” exhibit from February 24, 2020 through March 25, 2020. An opening reception will be held Wednesday, February 26 from 5 to 7 pm. Presented by Unapologetic Artists and Creatives, the installation is actually several separate projects combined into one, spanning multiple mediums. The M. Rosetta Hunter art gallery is located on the first floor of the Broadway Edison building, across from the Atrium cafeteria. Admission to the gallery is free.
In the installation, photographs – both black and white, and in color – set a backdrop, all of them featuring members of the community as well as Black Panther members on a variety of porches. The photographs splash the walls behind pieces like crossed spears and a cat statue. One section features an actual porch set up, transforming half the gallery into a lived-in gathering space – complete with drinks, jackets slung over chairs, and a card game in progress on the rickety but faithful kitchen table.
The exhibit focuses on the significance of the porch both to the Black community at large and the Black Panthers, who had roots in porch life. The Black Panther Party was a political organization founded in 1966 by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale to challenge police brutality in Black communities, organizing armed patrols to shadow the police in Black communities and later instituting a number of social support programs. This included free breakfast programs for children and free health clinics in Black communities across the U.S. “Porch is a metaphor for ‘safety’”, states founder and creative director Shalika Martin. “Homes were built with this idea of community engagement; it is where we catch up on the latest gossip, talk politics, crack jokes, listen to the latest music, and have impromptu photo shoots. The porch was where the community watched out for each other, monitored the neighborhood, found ways to help each other through hard times.”
The gallery welcomes the audience to add to the interactive installation by bringing photographs and stories from their own porches to be added to the gallery throughout the exhibition. They should be delivered directly to the M. Rosetta Hunter art gallery during normal hours of operation. Any photos used will be available to pick up after the exhibition closes on March 25.