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The Amistad Center Brings Award-Winning Question Bridge Project to Connecticut; Interactive Video Explores Challenges Facing Black Men
The Connecticut premiere of Question Bridge: Black Males, the critically acclaimed multi-platform video project that has sparked a national conversation exploring Black male identity, is being brought to the state's major cities this month by The Amistad Center for Art & Culture. Rather than having the Question Bridge interactive project displayed in traditional art space, The Amistad Center has partnered with local YMCA's in Hartford, Stamford, Bridgeport, and New Haven to bring the project into the community.
The first installation will be at the Wilson-Gray YMCA in Hartford beginning on March 23, followed by installations at the Stamford Family YMCA the week of April 1 and additional venues in New Haven and Bridgeport thereafter. The full-scale, five channel installation will be on view, through June 15th, at the Wilson-Gray YMCA Youth & Family Center, 444 Albany Avenue in Hartford. The other venues will have single channel presentations.
Question Bridge: Black Males explores challenging issues within the Black male community by instigating a trans-media conversation among Black men across the geographic, economic, generational, educational and social strata of American society. The project provides multiple entry-points for Black men to contribute to the conversation and invites the public to explore and engage in the Question Bridge project through multiple platforms.
"This engaging, entertaining, and thought-provoking project addresses the need for Black males to overcome personal and social challenges to create successful lives and communities," said Amistad Center Executive Director Olivia S. White. "We are thrilled with the YMCA partnership and are grateful that the state Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) is supporting this innovative approach to using the arts to advance meaningful dialogue."
Question Bridge: Black Males is being presented with support from the state DECD - Connecticut Office of the Arts, which also receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Funding was provided as part of DECD's Arts Catalyze Placemaking initiative. Question Bridge is an Official Selection of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, and received Special Mention for the Sheffield Doc/Fest Innovation Award 2012.
"The Arts Catalyze Placemaking (ACP) Program was created to invest in the state's arts-based cultural activities and infrastructure in ways that will advance the attractiveness and competitiveness of Connecticut cities, towns, and villages as meaningful communities in which to live, work, learn and play," said Kip Bergstrom, Deputy Commissioner of the state's Department of Economic and Community Development. "The Amistad Center, YMCA and the Question Bridge project reflect that commitment."
"The poverty that is an everyday challenge for far too many residents of our cities is so often accompanied by a lack of access to art, culture, creative expression, respect, cultural awareness and pride, for Black males especially. This project invites a serious conversation and opportunity to explore not only the current condition, but the possibilities for a better future," said Clinton Hamilton, Executive Director of the Wilson-Gray YMCA Youth and Family Center. "We are pleased to partner with The Amistad Center to bring Question Bridge to Connecticut and to the Y."
"We are looking forward to bringing this unique project to Stamford and engaging our young Black male population and those who want to support their success. This aligns with our overall effort to enrich and improve individual lives and our community as a whole," said Ernest Lamour, Chief Executive Officer of the Stamford Family YMCA.
Question Bridge originated in 1996, when artist Chris Johnson was looking for a way to use media art to generate a meaningful conversation around class and generational divisions within San Diego's African American community. Mediated through the lens of a video camera, ten members of the black community were given a format to openly express their deeply felt beliefs and values through candid question and answer exchanges.
In recent years, Johnson, along with Hank Willis Thomas, Bayeté Ross Smith and Kamal Sinclair, have traveled the nation collecting questions and answers from in 11 cities, including New York, Chicago, Oakland, San Francisco, Birmingham, Atlanta, New Orleans and Philadelphia. The resulting video project contains over 1,500 exchanges.It recently broke attendance records at the Brooklyn Museum in New York City.
"Question Bridge is high-caliber video art that has been presented in museums across the country," said Dr. Wm. Frank Mitchell, The Amistad Center's Assistant Director & Curator and project manager for Question Bridge's Connecticut installations. "Our presentation engages the project's artistic, social and community value in unique and accessible venues."
For further information on The Amistad Center or upcoming events, call 860-838-4133 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Â For information about Question Bridge visit www.questionbridge.com. For specific venue information, contact:
The Amistad Center for Art & Culture, located at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, is dedicated to celebrating art and culture influenced by people of African descent through education, scholarship and social experiences. Its collection of 7,000 works of art, artifacts and ephemera documents nearly the entire history of the literary, military, enslaved, and free lives of Black people in America. The Center engages, enlightens and entertains young people and adults with stories of the contributions of citizens, soldiers, slaves, artists, actors, poets, and politicians, told through visual art. For more information about The Amistad Center for Art & Culture please visit www.amistadartandculture.org.
The Wilson-Gray YMCA Youth and Family Center is a branch of the YMCA of Greater Hartford. The YMCA of Greater Hartford is a non profit 501 (c) 3 charitable organization established in 1852 and is one of the nation's oldest YMCA's. The YMCA for Youth Development: Nurturing the potential of every child and teen, for Healthy Living: Improving the nation's health and well-being, for Social Responsibility: Giving back and providing support to our neighbors. In 2011 the YMCA of Greater Hartford served more than 117,000 people, including 66,000 children, in 46 towns and cities throughout the Capital Region. YMCA programs put the values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility into practice to build healthy spirit, mind and body for all participants.
The Stamford Family YMCA, established in 1866, is the oldest nonprofit organization in Stamford, providing a multitude of services to youth, families, and adults throughout the community.