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On Juneteenth, a new exhibition opens in St. Petersburg

“Reverberations” is presented in a partnership with the Dr. Carter G. Woodson Museum and the James Musuem.
Desmond Clark, Principal at St. Cate Fine Arts and “Curator at Large” poses with True Vine by Steve Prince. The James Museum is collaborating with the Carter Woodson Museum to present, "Reverberations."  The exhibition shares artwork from emerging and established Black artists who live and work in Tampa Bay and across the Southeastern United States. Through each artist’s own perspective, the exhibition challenges viewers with stories of structural racism and oppression, as well as celebrates hope and resilience.
Desmond Clark, Principal at St. Cate Fine Arts and “Curator at Large” poses with True Vine by Steve Prince. The James Museum is collaborating with the Carter Woodson Museum to present, "Reverberations." The exhibition shares artwork from emerging and established Black artists who live and work in Tampa Bay and across the Southeastern United States. Through each artist’s own perspective, the exhibition challenges viewers with stories of structural racism and oppression, as well as celebrates hope and resilience. [ JOHN PENDYGRAFT | Times ]
Published Jun. 18
Updated Jun. 18

ST. PETERSBURG — The Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American History Museum is presenting “Reverberations,” a special exhibition featuring Black artists from Tampa Bay and the Southeastern United States, opening Saturday — Juneteenth — at the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art.

The exhibition aims to present a full picture of the Black experience, from the struggles of systemic racism and oppression to celebrations of resilience and hope.

The show was curated by Desmond Clark, co-owner of St. Cate Fine Arts, an art collection management business.

It is Clark’s first run at curating and he began in January, a short timeframe for pulling together an exhibition of 60 pieces from 23 artists.

Clark pulled pieces from Atlanta-based ZuCot Gallery, the largest African-American owned fine art gallery in the Southeast. He culled a number of sculptures by Basil Watson, including ones depicting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and John Lewis and a haunting sculpture of a bound woman.

Basil Watson’s "The Grace," on display in the James Museum is collaborative exhibition with the Carter Woodson Museum, "Reverberations."
Basil Watson’s "The Grace," on display in the James Museum is collaborative exhibition with the Carter Woodson Museum, "Reverberations." [ JOHN PENDYGRAFT | Times ]

Local artists include Nneka Jones, Princess Smith and Kendra Frorup. Many pieces are on loan from the local Stanton Storer Embrace the Arts foundation.

Top: Nneka Jones’ "The New American Revolution, 2020," which was commissioned by Times magazine in August 2020.
Bottom: "Destroy the Myth," a self-portrait of Jones.
The James Museum is collaborating with the Carter Woodson Museum to present, "Reverberations," curated by Desmond Clark.
Top: Nneka Jones’ "The New American Revolution, 2020," which was commissioned by Times magazine in August 2020. Bottom: "Destroy the Myth," a self-portrait of Jones. The James Museum is collaborating with the Carter Woodson Museum to present, "Reverberations," curated by Desmond Clark. [ JOHN PENDYGRAFT | Times ]
A detail from Kendra Frorup’s "Rose Kitchen", 2012. The James Museum is collaborating with the Carter Woodson Museum to present  "Reverberations."
A detail from Kendra Frorup’s "Rose Kitchen", 2012. The James Museum is collaborating with the Carter Woodson Museum to present "Reverberations." [ JOHN PENDYGRAFT | Times ]

The collaboration between the two museums is a result of the longstanding relationship between their directors, Terri Lipsey Scott at the Woodson and Laura Hine at the James.

Following the social upheaval of 2020, the James strives to present more inclusive exhibitions. “Reverberations” is a glimpse of what kinds of exhibitions to expect over the next two years.

The Woodson has plans for a new, larger museum, so presenting this at the James gives a sense of what the experience could be. In February, the city of St. Petersburg completed its $1 million pledge to the new museum, but $30 million must be raised to bring it into fruition.

Clark said that as a Black man, picking the pieces to tell the story was simple. He said it’s important to show that Black art isn’t just one thing and is often fine art. He thinks there needs to be more of a focus on Black artists so that galleries, curators and collectors can see the quality of the work.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity,” he said. “I wish there were more opportunities like this. . . I don’t know of any other Black curator in the Tampa Bay area at a local institution.”

Aaron Henderson’s "400 Years", 2015. 
The James Museum is collaborating with the Carter Woodson Museum to present, "Reverberations."
Aaron Henderson’s "400 Years", 2015. The James Museum is collaborating with the Carter Woodson Museum to present, "Reverberations." [ JOHN PENDYGRAFT | Times ]
Eluster Richardson’s "2020" (triptych), 2020, on display in the "Reverberations" exhibition at the James Museum.
Eluster Richardson’s "2020" (triptych), 2020, on display in the "Reverberations" exhibition at the James Museum. [ JOHN PENDYGRAFT | Times ]

If you go

“Reverberations” is on display through Aug. 29. $20, $15 students, teachers, seniors and active military, $10 youth ages 7-18, free for children 6 and younger. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, except on Tuesdays, when the museum is open 10 a.m.-8 p.m. 150 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. 727-892-4200. thejamesmuseum.org.