People of color share their stories through photos
BENNINGTON- Opening on September 14 in the Works on Paper Gallery of Bennington Museum is a multi-generational photo and story exhibition highlighting the experiences of people of color living or going to school in Vermont.
The project is a platform for people of color to tell their own stories and convey the impact of racism on their lives. The images highlight the intersection of communities of color and their many stories. The quotes in the pictures are either terms that have been conveyed to the individual since living in Vermont, or are responses to terms, questions or statements made toward the person that undermine them as a people. “Visible in Vermont: Our Stories, Our Voices” is on view through December 30.
The “I Am Vermont Too” project was introduced in 2014 by Shanta Lee Evans-Crowley and Shela Linton after the “I, Too, Am Harvard” initiative that was designed around people of color sharing their experiences of racism and racial microaggressions at Harvard University. “I Am Vermont Too” photos and stories focus on the experiences of people of color throughout Vermont, challenging similar aggressions, racist acts, and behaviors that often go unchecked. This project is an opportunity for dialogue and reflection for people within communities that are majority white, who are unaware of the impact that their racial microaggressions have on their community. These actions have a significant impact on one’s sense of self and place in a community.
By providing a medium for human expression, art liberates people and validates the joys, challenges and struggles of their everyday experience, allowing them to expand into their fullest potential. “Visible in Vermont: Our Stories Our Voices” uses art as a medium to envision social change. The use of artistic and creative expression and the upholding of POC artists and voices cultivates a forum in which people can connect over their experiences living and working in Vermont.
The Root Social Justice Center, founded in 2013 by four organizers, provides accessible organizing space for social justice groups and serves as a local resource for social justice education, community, and actions. Sha’an Mouliert, of St. Johnsbury, co-coordinator of the project, also serves on the advisory board of The Root. Vermont is the second whitest state in the nation. Structural racism and widespread racial bias continue to exclude people of color from cultural, economic and social spheres. The Root became a racial justice organizing collective focused on building leadership and power for POCs in Vermont.
Bennington Museum is located at 75 Main Street (Route 9). The museum is open daily, 10 am to 5 pm June through October. It is wheelchair accessible. Regular admission is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors and students over 18. Admission is never charged for younger students, museum members or to visit the museum shop. Visit www.benningtonmuseum.org or call (802) 447-1571 for more information.