Katie Houston

Studio Museum in Harlem

On Sep 14, the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts will open its doors to the public for a touring exhibition titled Black Refractions: Highlights from the Studio Museum in Harlem. It's the only midwest stop for this collection of 91 works representing a diverse array of works created by artists of African descent from the 1920s to the present.

Chief curator Rehema Barber, who joined the KIA in April 2019, says it's an experience filled with strong images, surprising textures, materials, and viewpoints that rewards multiple viewings. She and the KIA's executive director, Belinda Tate, were inspired to showcase pieces from the KIA's own collection in a complementary exhibit, Resilience: African American Artists as Agents of Change. They also decided to celebrate the work of regional artists, in a third exhibit titled Where We Stand: Black Artists in Southwest Michigan.

The KIA will host an evening talk with former Studio Museum curator Laurel Haynes, who helped develop the exhibit, on Thurs, Sep 12 at 6:30 pm. Marketing director Katie Houston says in addition to the opening day on Sep 14, which will be free to the whole community, the KIA has collaborated on related events with the Black Arts and Cultural Center, Kalamazoo College's Arcus Center, Western Michigan University, the Kalamazoo Public Library, and the Kalamazoo Valley Museum. 

Black Refractions, Resilience, and Where We Stand will be on display until Dec 8. 


Kalamazoo Institute of Arts

186 artists started arriving early today to set up for the 68th annual KIA Arts Fair, a traditional summer kick-off for the city. The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts' Katie Houston shared some of the highlights with Cara Lieurance. She explains how the artists in the oldest outdoor artfair in Michigan are selected, and how the jury selects prizewinners on the first day of the fair. There are around 125 volunteers who help assist fairgoers and artists, plus a host of other activities to make the weekend special.