Tap In: SeeBlackWomxn Events Launch Season of Community Partnerships in Dynamic Programming

SeeBlackWomxn Designs By Tahirah Rasheed and Angela Hennessy. 

SAN FRANCISCO — The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco announce a selection of forthcoming virtual programming and community partnerships through the spring and summer of 2021, featuring renowned artists, historians, musicians, activists, and more. Reinforcing the de Young and Legion of Honor’s role as the city’s museums, these programs spotlight vibrant local narratives of the people of the San Francisco Bay Area. All museum programming will be offered in digital form through June 2021.*

This impressive lineup centers around the Museums’ new Virtual Wednesdays initiative, a programming series that highlights diverse viewpoints that engage and reframe our exhibitions and collections. Notably, a new partnership with the SeeBlackWomxn collective launches a five-part event series to discuss the future of aesthetic and somatic expression in the contemporary Black Arts scene.

The de Young also announces the third season of the Local Voices podcast, which explores the ever-changing vision and impact of public art in the Bay Area.

Contributing their voices and perspectives to the Virtual Wednesdays and Local Voices programming are artists Lava Thomas, Catherine Wagner, and Alison Saar, musical duo Mercury Soul, Fredrika Newton of the Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation, the #SayHerName Movement, Susan Cervantes of the Precita Eyes Muralists, artist duo Rue Bainbridge, artist and composer Gryphon Rue, artist Peter Simensky, and more.

Bringing classical music to audiences at home, the Legion of Honor takes its popular Spreckels Organ concerts virtual, announcing a second season of Live from the Legion of Honor available on SoundCloud.

The popular Thinking Machines program is also returning in conjunction with the de Young’s celebrated exhibition Uncanny Valley: Being Human in the Age of AI. On Instagram, a monthly meditation practice led by mindfulness coach Nkechi Deanna Njaka provides an opportunity of respite, filmed from beloved locations in and around the de Young.

Please read below for a list of these exciting programs, partnerships, and virtual series. Our teams are confirming new programming weekly, so for the most up-to-date list of events, please visit deyoungmuseum.org/programs.

Partnerships

SeeBlackWomxn
SeeBlackWomxn is an esteemed collective of artists, activists, and writers raised on Black feminist theory. Their platform emphasizes self-representation, free from the stereotypical tropes assigned to Black women. This partnership unfolds through a five-part event series centering the lineage and legacy of Black women and the contemporary Black Arts scene, and features the voices of collective cofounders Tahirah Rasheed, Angela Hennessy, Dana King, and Jamani Montague.

Mercury Soul
Mercury Soul is an organization that presents classical music in new ways to a new generation in sold-out shows around the country. Through a three-part series later this summer, Mercury Soul will present a distinctive combination of imaginative, immersive stagecraft, substantive programming, and engaging electro-acoustic interludes linking DJed and classical sets, filmed throughout iconic locations at the de Young and Legion of Honor museums. 

Nkechi Deanna Njaka
As we reflect on this difficult year, we realize the importance of taking a breath to rebalance. The de Young has partnered with San Francisco–based mindfulness coach Nkechi Deanna Njaka to offer a series of meditations recorded in locations throughout the museum. Videos will be shared on the de Young’s Instagram on the second Monday of each month.

Programs

Local Voices Podcast, Season 3: Bay Area Public Art and Monuments
Local Voices is the Fine Arts Museums’ podcast series designed to celebrate art and Bay Area creativity. The podcast highlights various perspectives from visual artists, musicians, scholars, community leaders, and thinkers with an aim to reframe exhibitions and collections on view at the de Young and Legion of Honor through relevant and local narratives. The third season of Local Voices will delve into conversations around the role of public art, debuting in April 2021.

Public art is a part of our cultural history and represents the evolution of our society and collective memory. Though it serves as an effective tool in communicating a political or social message, its changing interpretation and impact can be rife with controversy. Podcast episodes include the following:

  • Lava Thomas on the controversy of San Francisco’s Maya Angelou monument
  • Dana King on the history of bronze in public monuments
  • SeeBlackWomxn on centering Black women and Black aesthetic traditions in public art
  • Catherine Wagner on her practice and storied history creating public works
  • The Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation on the importance of preserving the legacy of the Black Panther Party
  • The #SayHerName Movement and the Women of The Black Panther Party mural on the first-ever public art installation honoring the women of the Black Panther Party
  • Susan Cervantes on the history of the Precita Eyes Muralists in the Mission District of San Francisco

See here for details on Local Voices: Season 1 and Local Voices: Season 2.

Thinking Machines
The popular Thinking Machines conversation series returns for its second iteration, in conjunction with the de Young’s celebrated exhibition Uncanny Valley: Being Human in the Age of AI. Utilizing the Virtual Wednesdays platform, three events take a deep dive into what it is to be human, exploring the ethics around AI with the industry’s top thought leaders.

Live from the Legion of Honor, Season 2: Spring 2021
Our beloved organ concerts have gone digital! Join principal organist Jonathan Dimmock as he plays classical music compositions complementing the Legion of Honor’s collection of European masterworks. This series was recorded on the Spreckels Organ, an enormous pipe organ built by Ernest Skinner in 1924 and donated to Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco by the Spreckels family. Listen to Season 1 here.

Schedule of Virtual Wednesdays Events
Join us every Wednesday on YouTube, starting at 5 pm.

March 3 \ Public Legacies: Celebrating Dr. Huey P. Newton
Celebrate the unveiling of the commemorative art piece made to honor Huey P. Newton’s activism and international impact, with the Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation.

March 10 \ Black Reactions with SeeBlackWomxn
Join us for the first program in a series of event partnerships with the Bay Area collective SeeBlackWomxn. This event documents artists in conversation about works from the de Young’s permanent collection, giving rise to a dynamic conversation on what is seen and interpreted from perspectives addressing Black visual and cultural literacy.

March 24 \ Re-Classifying History with Catherine Wagner
Join artist Catherine Wagner and Janna Keegan, assistant curator of contemporary art and programming, in conversation about Re-Classifying Histories and the de Young’s 125 years of history.

March 31 \ Resonating: Alison Saar explores the de Young’s Collection
Join us for a special lecture with sculptor and mixed-media artist Alison Saar as she addresses connections between her own work and the Museums’ permanent collection.

April 7 \ Light Patterns and Collective Healing with Rue Bainbridge
Rue Bainbridge, the duo of Gryphon Rue and Benton C. Bainbridge, generate light and sound abstractions for collective healing and hypnotic pleasure. Light patterns become a score for improvised music, as quirks of human hand and electricity spawn impressions of nature and abstract language.

April 14 \ Black Art Worlds with SeeBlackWomxn
Are Black creatives just grinding in the world of advertising or do they have any influence in the expansion and future thought of the Black narrative? This conversation delves into the power dynamics between artists, museums, and curators and the selection process that defines what “art” is.

April 21 \ Built Environment as Metaphor: Catherine Wagner on Public Art
Join artist Catherine Wagner in exploring the complexities and implications of creating public works in the Bay Area and beyond. 

May 12 \ Black Deaths with SeeBlackWomxn
This presentation reflects upon contemporary Black artists who are making work addressing the intersection of race and death. In the age of COVID-19 and the delusions of white supremacy, we will discuss how Black art and music has always been at the center of our cultural narratives of survival.

May 19 \ Calder and Sound with Gryphon Rue
The artist and composer Gryphon Rue gives a talk on Alexander Calder and sound, exploring the idea of Calder as a sound artist and the influence of Calder’s mobiles on post-WWII and contemporary music, in conjunction with the new exhibition Calder-Picasso.

June 2 \ Tower Pyrite Radio with Peter Simensky
Can a building listen, and can it have a voice? The permeable facade of the de Young museum holds in its structure the potential to be operable not only as a signature architectural gesture. Hear from Peter Simensky and together explore the ways a building can be transformed to transmit ideas, collaborations, and community engagements.

June 9 \ Black Feminist Futures with SeeBlackWomxn
Black women are envisioning new worlds of existence rooted in practices of liberation and joy. Forecast the future with contemporary Black artists and authors in conversation on the lineage and legacy of Black feminism.

July 21 \ Black Forums Live with SeeBlackWomxn
Join us for a live interactive community forum with SeeBlackWomxn cofounders, guests from the series, and our Calexo production team.

*In this time of COVID-19, dates and programs listed above may change due to ever-shifting circumstances. For complete updates, please visit deyoungmuseum.org/programs. The de Young and Legion of Honor are temporarily closed under current health mandates, and we hope to receive a reopening date shortly. Updated information will be available at deyoungmuseum.org.

Press Contact:
Shaquille Heath

Manager of Communcations

sheath@famsf.org