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‘Black Lunch Table’ Series Comes To The Staten Island Museum

On November 7th through the 10th, the Staten Island Museum will host Black Lunch Table, an ongoing collaboration between artists Heather Hart and Jina Valentine that facilitates discussions of issues pertaining to race and culture and creates an online oral history archive of the recorded conversations.

Since 2005, the events have been organized around literal and metaphorical lunch tables as sites where social connections are made, social hierarchies revealed, and power dynamics are played out. These Black Lunch Table sessions help to bring candid conversations to the forefront among people invested in various race and social issues of the day.

According to Janice Monger, Staten Island Museum, President & CEO:

“We believe it is important for the Staten Island Museum to host Black Lunch Table to provide a forum for deep listening and open discussion about matters affecting our community that also connect with the national conversation about race and equity, guided by the artists and shaped by the participants themselves. We want to extend the specific invitation to bring together and hear more from artists and community members of the African diaspora. This project amplifies their voices and becomes part of a series of documented Black Lunch Table conversations, as well as provides the Museum insights that will inform our efforts,”

Here is a complete list of November’s events:

Artist Lecture and Introduction
Wednesday, November 7, 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Open to the general public
Attend this introductory session to learn more about the project and how to be involved. Space is limited, registration required. No entry fee.

The Artists’ Round Table
Thursday, November 8, 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Open to visual artists and art workers of the African Diaspora
Through intimate conversations, The Artists’ Table seeks to both democratize and expand the dominant narratives of contemporary art history by animating discourse among the cultural producers of color living it.
Light dinner will be provided. Space is limited, registration required. No entry fee.

The People’s Table
Saturday, November 10, 12:00pm – 3:00pm
Open to the general public
At The People’s Table, discussions center around issues affecting historically disenfranchised populations.
The People’s Table catalyzes candid conversations amongst a diversity of people, representing a variety of backgrounds, professions, ages, and perspectives. The goal is to inspire new thinking around critical sociopolitical issues by cross-pollinating discourse and recording the people’s history.
Lunch will be provided. Space is limited, registration required. No entry fee.

Wikipedia Edit-a-thon
Saturday, November 10, 3:00pm – 6:00pm
Open to the general public
The Black Lunch Table Wikipedia Edit-a-thon mobilizes the creation and improvement of a site-specific set of Wikipedia articles that pertain to the lives and works of Black artists. No prior knowledge of editing is required. Black Lunch Table will provide a brief training in order to make quality contributions to Wikipedia addressing issues related to artists of the African Diaspora in Staten Island. As 77% of Wikipedia editors are white, this “Radical archiving” seeks to fill the gaps in this highly accessed archive and the (art) historical record. Bring your own laptop.
Space is limited, registration required. No entry fee.

Black Lunch Table is made possible by an Expanding Audiences and Cultural Participation Regrant from Staten Island Arts, with generous support from New York Community Trust, The Staten Island Foundation, the Altman Foundation, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, and Time Warner.

For more information on November’s entire slate of events, head on over to the SI Museum’s site.

Vin Forte
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