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Unexpected collaborations lead to a supersized display of community-created art

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Category: culture Video duration: Unexpected collaborations lead to a supersized display of community-created art
A number of serendipitous events lead to a unique partnership and collaboration between the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology (ICAT), Virginia Tech Athletics, the Perspective Gallery, and Africana Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies which resulted in a supersized display of community-created art on the facade of Cassell Coliseum. The outdoor exhibition, titled "Experience Black Love: Illuminated", showcased projected artworks from Virginia Tech students, faculty, staff, local community members, and local K-12 students. Anchoring the exhibition were original artworks by Tykeisha Swan Patrick, an emerging Black artist whose work set the tone for the showcase.

As an extension of the Experience Black Love exhibition at Perspective Gallery in Squires Student Center, and in parallel with Virginia Tech Athletics’ Black History Month programming, the event ran for three consecutive nights in February, corresponding with a women's basketball game, a wrestling match, and a men's basketball game.

There was a lot of serendipity that had to happen with this project. And what it ended up being. Stephan zoom around, the director of the Institute for Critical Technology and Science, saw what I was doing the lane home project in the fall and stuff and wanted to make this happen with athletics as well, where I will collaborate with another non-academic organization at the university, specifically athletics. I Kat approached athletics and we're interested they'd done outdoor protection projects before on campus. And they had approached us about doing something here at Castle calcium. And we really didn't know initially how we were going to do that. We've talked about a couple of different ideas. And then we kind of had a light bulb moment. And it was like, we're doing this hashtag, love our black community event. Wouldn't it be really cool to highlight black initiatives and butterflies and those types of things as part of this of that. And when I reached out to I cats network to get the word out about this community created art expression that we wanted to do on the side of pascals here, Andrew Baldwin and Robin scholarly who are curating experienced black while the exhibit collective galleries got back in touch with me and said, Hey, we're doing something very similar. You want a partner to create a richer experience for a broader audience. It was just unexpected, but it was like this really great thing to happen that we didn't go out looking for this collaboration. But things just worked out where, particularly for me, what is amazing about this is that the work that Robin does every day and all the hardware niches put into getting this exhibit in the gallery is showcased on the castle Colosseum for everybody to see. The experience black love concept was born out of the fact that Virginia Tech's prospective gallery has hosted a Martin Luther King exhibit for the past 15 years. And that is a community created exhibit that we've worked on with Office of inclusion and diversity. We've worked with Tikki show swan Patrick as the anchor artists use an emerging black artists in the community who has created work that is just so lovely and it speaks to the idea of what experiencing black love is. And so for me, the show was really a combination, culmination of all the efforts and partners that saw the importance of a show about black love. A show that was different from just your regular MLK show. A show that was not only about just professional artists, but also about community artists, about engaging students at the, at the elementary and middle school and high school levels. This collaboration is really important for a couple of reasons. One, It's really important for us as athletics because we always want to be reaching it across to campus and working with our campus peers and getting to know them and making us feel that we're all working together. Over the three night event, it was really satisfying to see basketball fans and wrestling fans come out. Castle Colosseum, trial and lookup, saw it, and then become spectators of art after they just watched the whole keys play. We're taking something out of a gallery and putting into a public space. So you're broadening your audience in a way that we may not ever be able to do with an a gallery located in the Student Center. The next thing is we have a lot of black athletes at Virginia Tech and raising awareness of the beauty of the community that we are building at Virginia Tech and supporting that community through this work is an important part of this project. Getting the work from in here, out there, I think is really important to the community. As a professor of black feminisms on campus, who students oftentimes come to because they don't see themselves on this predominately white campus to see an exhibit that is above people that look like you are not on like this grand scale. I think could do something for making students feel this sense of belonging. Feel as though that there's these kind of things aren't happening a lot with Virginia Tech. And when you have these three organizations who are working together to create a richer, broader, more engaging event. This was super successful. We can, we could do more of it.