ARTs + Change Virtual Conference

The Elaine Massacre of 1919 was among the worst acts of violence against Black communities in U.S. history. An untold number of Black men, women, and children were indiscriminately killed by white mobs and National Guard troops, while the generational wealth of the prosperous mostly Black Arkansas town was stolen, its history erased. The Elaine Museum and Richard Wright Civil Rights Center is now being built in the same downtown where those white mobs gathered, a museum that will house the oral narratives of the massacre, along with the rich history of area—from the Chinese presence in Elaine to delta agriculture to Indigenous burial mounds of the area to the rich history of Black farming.

As the first artist-in-residence at the Elaine Museum I am working with the community in finding ways to curate the experience of Elaine without the forensic historical elements present in most museums. As a visual artist, I am attempting to curate the oral histories of the town, particularly of the massacre through images of landscape and portraits of descendants of the massacre. I am currently interviewing and collaborating with various kinds of creatives to explore ways to portray and elevate previously buried stories of communities traumatized by violence. I am looking at form, method, and presentation strategies to inform my work at the Elaine Museum before its dedication in September of 2022 and would like this conference to be a part of that process.

Andrea Gluckman is an international award-winning photographer who uses platforms of academics, activism, and art to witness and leverage the stories of communities devastated by mass violence. Schooled as an expert on policy, culture, education, and religions of the Middle East, she has worked as a diplomatic advisor, professor, and writer. Her research specialties include the project of justice after mass violence, using the tools of photography and the documenting of oral histories for education and evidential purposes. Using her research from post-genocide Rwanda and South Africa, she sought venues for establishing transitional justice structures in the Middle East and reparations strategies in the South. She is currently the Artist-in-Residence at the Elaine Museum and Richard Wright Civil Rights Center in Elaine, Arkansas and is based out of Rochester, New York, where she teaches and works collaboratively with artistic communities on issues of social justice, indigenous truth-telling, and anti-racism work.

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  • Hannah Bell

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