It has often been said that the most segregated time in America is Sunday morning.
The vast majority of Black churchgoers make their way to Black places of worship, and the vast majority of white Americans make their way to white places of worship.
The same can be said for our Hispanic, Asian-American and Middle Eastern American brothers and sisters.
The second most segregated time in America is First Fridays.
I’ve been to First Fridays in the Crossroads area, and the lack of work by Black artists is striking and obvious.
Meanwhile, at 18th and Vine, Black artists have makeshift exhibitions on the streets and sidewalks. Many of these artists have graduate degrees. Their art is professional, vibrant and meaningful.
From artists showing their work in exquisite galleries to other artists leaning their art against storefronts and praying for good weather, the hideous effects of slavery and racism continue to reverberate and show its face every First Friday.
As with every other industry in America, you don’t have to scratch the surface very much of our art industry to see racism rear its ugly head.
While cultural identity is important and the whole “I don’t see color” feelgood statement is actually counterproductive to a more equitable art scene in Kansas City, the hope of this directory is that it will expose galleries, institutions and patrons to Black artists they would otherwise not see.
KC Studio is continuing to accept artist submissions to the directory at this link. Click here to submit your profile information. Additions will appear on the primary directory page at kcstudio.org/kansas-city-black-artists-directory