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Hands Up, Don't Shoot: Artists fom Saint Louis respond to the Michael Brown killing
The killing of Michael Brown has spawned grief, outrage, protest and civil disobedience.

ST. LOUIS, MO.- The Alliance of Black Art Galleries (the “Alliance”) announces an art initiative in connection with the August 9, 2014 killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO. The Alliance will exhibit the visual art of 250 artists responsive to the killing under the theme “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot: Artists Respond.”

Brown’s killing, and the aftermath of law enforcement, media and public reaction have garnered worldwide attention. Michael Brown, a recent high school graduate, would have begun his college matriculation on August 11, 2014. Ferguson, MO is a small municipality in St. Louis County, less than 13 miles from the City of St. Louis.

The killing of Michael Brown has spawned grief, outrage, protest and civil disobedience. It has also released a groundswell of interpretation through music, spoken word, graffiti, essay, dance, and visual art. Brought to the forefront for artist interpretation are the inhumanity of the Brown killing and subsequent actions by law enforcement and the public. This pivotal event crystallizes other issues: civil rights, voting, oppression, justice issues, free speech, racial disparities, police brutality, community empowerment, the First Amendment right of the people peaceably to assemble, and other issues.

Artist interpretation of social and political events is not new; however, the killing of Michael Brown and subsequent issues are new (and renewed). Thus, the Alliance is committed to seizing this opportunity for a visual dialog for the 21st century: a new catalog of protest art for a new generation. St. Louis is ground zero for such interpretation.

The Alliance exhibition will center on 250 artists for an historic reason. This year – 2014 – is the 250th anniversary of the founding of St. Louis (inclusive of the City of St. Louis and five surrounding counties). The Brown killing and its aftermath permanently place this event within the real and documentary history of St. Louis.

With a targeted exhibition opening in mid-October, the Alliance will utilize multiple exhibition venues including the Alliance galleries, several venues in Ferguson and other venues to be determined. Utilizing multiple venues will make the art accessible to a broader audience and will, in effect, take the art to the people. A national “call for artists” including eligibility and specifications for the visual art will be issued for work produced after August 9, 2014.

The Alliance of Black Art Galleries, which includes public, private and nonprofit art galleries, was founded August 20, 2013 in St. Louis, Missouri. It received a 2014 St. Louis Magazine A-List Award in recognition of its collaboration in the arts community.

The Alliance galleries are as follows: 10th Street Gallery (Patricia Smith Thurman and Solomon Thurman); 14th Street Artist Community Gallery (William Burton, Jr. and Robert A. Ketchens); Bentil’s Jah’z Art Private Gallery (Sami Bentil and Annetta Vickers-Bentil); Exodus Gallery (Carlton Mitchell); Gya Community Art Gallery (Dail Chambers); L. D. Ingrum Gallery & Studio (Lois D. Ingrum); Portfolio Gallery and Educational Center (Robert A. Powell); and Salon 53, a private residential art gallery (Freida L. Wheaton).

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