For its 37th Annual Black Doll Show scheduled Dec. 9 through Feb. 17, 2018, the William Grant Still Arts Center, 2520 W. West View Blvd., in Los Angeles will be focusing on gatherings, coming together and events to remember through doll artistry and displays. Admission is free.
The event will showcase Black life as a celebration of events that are monumental and small, ordinary, and extraordinary, as visitors witness events that depict Black life in all its facets, as well as to explore “cultural image” as depicted through the beauty and diversity of dolls. “Jubilee, Celebrations in Color” further seeks to reshape the dialogue on Black life and identity as portrayed in mainstream American media and in dominant narratives. The exhibition creates a counter narrative through highlighting how the Black community sees itself as portrayed in the traditional rites of passage and cultural events. The exhibition includes hand painted murals by Patrick Johnson and AISEBOURNE.
Visitors can learn and practice the art of doll making at three workshops scheduled from 2 to 4 p.m. on Dec. 16, Jan. 6, 2018 and again on Feb. 3, 2018. Doll-making workshops are presented regularly from 2 to 4 p.m. each Saturday.
The exhibition will also offer a curatorial walk through with curator Stephanie Moore. Moore, a Los Angeles native, has been an educator for more than three decades and hosts a doll collection exceeding 900 items. She is a member of the Crescent Bay Doll Fanciers, president of the Tri-County Doll Council, and is a member of the United States Federation of Doll Clubs.
An opening reception will take place from 3 to 6 p.m. Dec. 9, followed by a drum procession leading to the galleries and then live music from the Marcus Miller Freedom Jazz Ensemble.
The Black Doll Show at The William Grant Still Arts Center was started in 1980 by the Friends of William Grant Still Arts Center, with artist Cecil Fergerson as its first curator. Inspired by the “Black Doll Test” conducted in the 1940s by pioneering psychologists Mamie and Kenneth Clark that concluded that many African-American children preferred playing with White dolls over Black dolls, The Black Doll Show at the Center is the longest-running display of Black dolls in Los Angeles. Collectors and doll artists return time and time again to offer dolls from their collections that fit with the year’s theme. At its root, it is a time for community to come together to celebrate the collections and contributions each individual has made to doll making and collecting over the years.