‘Constructing Identity’ Puts Black Artists on Display

For The Skanner

When Trayvon Martin was killed, Monica Montgomery was working as a preschool teacher in Washington, D.C. Suddenly she found herself fielding kids’ questions about whether it was bad to eat Skittles or wear hooded sweatshirts.

“It made my community feel very unsafe,” Montgomery said.

She started to create curricula around community care that imparted the Black Lives Matter message to children. Soon after, she said, she was fired.

“I was told, ‘Your politics aren’t welcome here. You’re too radical. You’re fired,” Montgomery said.

She started the Museum of Impact, which she describes as the world’s first mobile social justice museum. It’s mobile partly because she can’t afford a brick and mortar space in New York City, where she lives and works, but also because she wants to “hit people at all levels of society” – from established museums to church basements.

Montgomery is working with the Portland Art Museum on a series of community projects in conjunction with “Constructing Identity,” an exhibition of African American art that opened at the museum Jan. 28 that will remain on display through June 18. That includes community discussions, talks by local artists, collaborative events with local schools and a project wherein local artists will create work responding to the collection – and that work will be displayed later in the spring.

Read the rest on The Skanner‘s website. 

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