Pigment International, a Chicago-based art collective, and the DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E 56 Pl., will present the second annual Black Fine Art Month in October as a series of online talks, exhibitions and events.
Throughout October, weekly virtual Salon Talks will feature artists, collectors and educators each Thursday at 6 p.m. as part of the event’s celebration of Black art aesthetics and tradition. Registration is required for the Salon Talks, but they are free, as are various exhibitions and events that will be streamed online.
The Covid-19 pandemic has been calamitous for the art world. At a time when galleries are out of bounds, festivals indefinitely cancelled, and auction houses shut down, the art world has found unique, virtual ways of meaningful engagement with the public.
Patricia Andrews-Keenan, founder of Pigment Intl., said the primary focus of her art collective for this year has been on art journalism through the upcoming second edition of Pigment Magazine, and the Black Fine Art Month. While the upcoming issue of magazine will examine the experiences of artists during Covid-19 and how they are dealing with racial reckoning, the theme for this year’s BFAM, “A Woman’s Work,” will celebrate Black women artists.
Andrews-Keenan said her goal for this year’s BFAM was to broaden its outreach from Chicago to nation-wide. Pigment Intl. collaborated with several artists and collectors from all over the country – educators from Houston, a gallery owner in Milwaukee, an artist in Texas, and curators from Indianapolis – working with each one to develop the virtual Salon Talks.
The final Salon Talk session will be a partnership with the South East Chicago Commission’s art and cultural program, and its subject will be “how artists are pivoting during Covid and still continuing to sell their work,” Andrews-Keenan said.
“We do have a real strong focus on artists, but we wanna hit everybody, we wanna hit collectors, we wanna hit, you know, artists, we wanna hit curators,” she said. “We try to look at the entire, I call it the ecosystem of the Art, all the things that make it run, and cover all those parts in our sessions but keeping a real big focus on artists and helping them where they can sell work.”
Andrews-Keenan strongly believes that “artists need opportunities to show their work.” To address concerns about showcasing artists work for BFAM’s exhibition online this year, her collective partnered with New Day Culture, an online platform management portal for artists and galleries. Her goal was to ensure better production quality beyond what was available on Zoom, Hangout etc. and make the exhibition more interactive and engaging for audiences. The exhibition will be displayed in the Griffin Gallery, 8237 S. Princeton Ave., and filmed in advance. Videos of the gallery exhibition will be then be rolled online once the annual event begins, and the public can see artwork and contact artists for purchase.
The exhibition will feature the works of five Pigment Intl. artists and has been curated by Chicago-based artist, poet, and filmmaker Paul Branton. He has been associated with the Pigment Intl. for last three years, and he has worked on its committee to help curate and organize the exhibition for BFAM both years.
“This year, all the art is pretty predicated and dedicated to women. They are prominent African American women artists and two male artists. Their subject matter will be women and raising them up and dedicating to them.” said Branton.
Black Fine Art Month’s virtual kick-off event is Oct. 1 at 5:30 p.m. For more information and to register, visit www.blackfineartmonth.com.