February 6 – March 18, 2023
Opening Reception: Tuesday, February 7, 2023 5-7pm
Creative Arts Workshop and the bldg fund present Made Visible: Freedom Dreams, the newest in a series of exhibitions piloted in 2020 by CAW. This 2023 exhibition is now the fourth such exhibition under this series name. Made Visible’s intention is to make visible work by historically underrepresented artists at CAW.
This year’s exhibition curated by nico wheadon of the bldg fund features Connecticut-based artists, Y. Malik Jalal, Linda Vauters Mickens, and Jasmine Nikole, with weekly programs in the gallery by Babz Rawls Ivy.
The exhibition’s theme builds upon concepts and questions explored in Robin D.G. Kelley’s seminal book, Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination. “Together, these artworks and projects invite meditations on what it means to work towards individual and collective liberation, while simultaneously working against forces of oppression and division. Resisting an overly utopian framework, they draw rich source materials from the everyday–the good, the bad, and the ugly of the Black American experience. We are proud to join CAW in celebrating the role of artists in envisioning, shaping, and advancing sociocultural change, while focusing on visions and strategies emanating from local communities of color,” says wheadon.
“Made Visible is a key part of our mission to amplify today’s and tomorrow’s creative voices through provocative exhibitions that can serve as a catalyst for community conversations,” said Anne Coates, executive director for CAW. “Through our Made Visible series, CAW has cultivated community and forged new connections with artists of all backgrounds who are at the heart of our work as a community arts center. We’re thrilled to see this series continue and our collaboration with the artists and the bldg fund has been critical to this year’s exhibition.”
Artist Y. Malik Jalal creates a site-specific window installation that maps a constellation of life-sized images drawn from the family archives of long-time New Haven resident Ife Michelle Gardin. Activating both the exterior and the interior of the window space, Jalal explores home as a space for Black families to dream, grow and thrive, bringing as he states, “visibility to the legacy of home and placemaking of long-term African-American residents of the New Haven community.”
Also on the lower level is a new body of work by sculptor Linda Vauters Mickens which offers a glimpse into her interpretations of the trials and tribulations of the African American experience. In her own words, “Reflections on my life as an African-American woman, mother, and artist have led me to the urgency of creating this work as both a warning and a celebration.”
In the upstairs galleries, self-taught artist Jasmine Nikole offers a new series of paintings that embrace the uniqueness of our cultural heritage, celebrate diversity within Blackness, and prompt us to take pride in our individual and collective identities. In the artist’s own words, freedom dreams are about, “being free to express ourselves authentically and without fear of judgment or censure,’” and, “being liberated from the restrictive norms and expectations of Western society.”
Throughout the run of the exhibition, program partner Babz Rawls Ivy will activate the upstairs galleries with a special project that seeks to return our communities to a state of connection, unity, intimacy, and care. For Rawls Ivy, dreams of a free future are rooted in our ability to reconnect and exhibit radical Black joy and love in the here and now.
Join Rawls Ivy in the upstairs galleries Mondays 3-5 pm–beginning February 13th and ending March 6th–with a special Saturday performance on February 25th, 1-3 pm.
Public programming to be announced.
This exhibition is made possible with funding from the Neighborhood Cultural Vitality grant program, Office of Arts, Culture & Tourism, City of New Haven, Yale University Faculty Grant: Community & Alumni Award with special sponsorship support for the reception by Jack’s Steakhouse.
New Haven art exhibit celebrates ‘diversity within Blackness’, New Haven Register, Chatwan Mongkol, February 8, 2023
CAW Show Makes Freedom Visible, Arts Paper, Lucy Gellman, February 8, 2023
Compost Headlines: Who Nailed It, New Haven Independent, Paul Bass, February 10, 2023
More about Made Visible
In the inaugural Made Visible exhibition in 2020, we used our signature sidewalk-to-roofline windows to make this happen during a time when the building was closed, bringing a double visibility to these works and artists. At that time we committed to removing an important barrier to access for artists responding to open calls by eliminating fees for entry and consideration. With our facility open since Spring 2021, the visibility grows deeper with in person access to the galleries and works, in person and often online public programming. And, we continue our commitment to working with curators of color and selection panels comprising people of color.