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August 27 – October 2, 2016 Gallery Hours: Tue-Sat, 11am-7pm

Organized by Juan Ortiz, Robert W. Deutsch Foundation Community Arts & Exhibitions Fellow
On view: August 27 – October 2, 2016
Opening reception: Saturday, August 27th, 6 – 8pm
Performances, Workshops, & Events: Cornell West Theory, Sat Aug 27, 8pm
Noelle Ghoussaini & community voices, Sat Aug 27, 6 – 8pm
Neighborhood Voices workshop, Sat Sept 3, 10:30am – 3pm
Activist Speaker Series & Race Recounted Roundtable, Sun Oct 2, 2 – 4pm

“It’s about race: both the way we view ourselves, and the way others view us as racialized beings” – Juan Ortiz

From August 27th to October 2nd, Creative Alliance and the Neighborhood Voices committee members present Race Recounted, an exhibition uncovering the personal stories and complexities of individual identity as expressed community members who have participated in the program and in exhibition-related workshops. Since its inception in 2013, the Neighborhood Voices program, its founders, institutional partners (Creative Alliance and Banner Neighborhoods), and its resident-led committee have made a concerted effort to address social tensions through conversations about race that foster public spaces for dialogue and equity. Race Recounted is a celebration of our stories, our artwork, our collectivity, and our mission to confront many Americans’ automatic response to racial inequality: to remain silent.

Race Recounted asks visitors to participate in the creation of artwork that tells the story of their own racialized identity through audio/visual portraits in a recordable greeting card (materials are provided).  Participants must choose from a selection of 6 prefabricated exteriors that announce their race as defined by the US Census: White, Black, Latino, Asian/Pacific Islander, Native American, and Other.  A workshop table in the center of the gallery guides them through the process of decorating the inside of the card and making a recording that re-plays when the card is opened. These stories and personalized images complicate the categorical generalizations made by the census classifications, and provide deeply moving insight into the complexities of identity that differentiate and define us all.

Performances by internationally renowned spoken word artists and storytellers from the Neighborhood Voices workshops act as loci for activity during the exhibition. Confirmed participants include: The Cornell West Theory, a group from Washington, DC who are inspired by social justice struggles, Hip Hop, and the center of world politics. Cornell West Theory’s music is rooted in hip hop, but smashes into a firebrand sound containing elements of punk, go-go, blues, jazz, and industrial noisescapes (Aug 27);  and Noelle Ghoussaini, who will direct and coach neighborhood residents and committee members on personal storytelling through theatrical performance. She will also share her own story about her Lebanese-American identity (Aug 27). Additional program dates include a roundtable discussion led by Juan Ortiz in conjunction with Creative Alliance’s Activist Speaker Series (Oct 2); a performance-oriented Neighborhood Voices workshop, and open calls for schools, community groups, and the general public to participate in either the greeting card project or storytelling on the gallery’s stage.

Juan Ortiz is Creative Alliance’s Robert W. Deutsch Foundation Community Arts and Exhibitions Fellow for 2016 – 2017. Ortiz is a graduate of Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in the Community Arts Masters in Fine Arts program. He was a doctoral fellow at Texas Technological University (TTU) and has been a research assistant in TTU’s Sociology and Anthropology departments studying borderland colonies and society. He also holds a Masters in Art and Public Policy from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Multi-disciplinary studies from the University of Texas, El Paso. He is the recipient of multiple fellowships and awards; his work has been exhibited nationally, including at the Tisch School of the Arts, the Grey Gallery in New York City, the Hoffberger School of Art at MICA, and at Creative Alliance. Chosen for his exemplary abilities as a researcher and community organizer, Ortiz was selected as a Community Partner to the White House Action Summit in 2015 for his work in Southeast Baltimore’s Latino community. He continues to be an integral part of the Southeast Baltimore community and its voice for equity.

Since 2013, Neighborhood Voices provides a platform for authentic storytelling between multiracial neighbors in Baltimore to organize educational, social justice, and activist workshops to address and fight against structural racism.

This exhibition is supported in-part by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation.

For more information, contact:

Juan Ortiz, juan@creativealliance.org, 410.276.1651 x 213

Jeremy Stern, Jeremy@creativealliance.org, 410.276.1651 x 216

Maria Aldana, maria@creativealliance.org, 410.276.1651 x 209

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