Albany Museum of Art program allows students to explore race relations

The most difficult conversations in America today are the ones involving racial relations and racism. Courageous Conversations About Race, a program that has been conducted at the Albany Museum of Art periodically since 2018, offers a safe space where members of the community can use art as a means to foster constructive conversations that lead to better understanding, and to search for common ground.

Courageous Conversations About Race returns to the Albany Museum of Art on Nov. 11 with a program focusing on college students. Participants will use art to stimulate discussions about race and race relations.

Courageous Conversations About Race will be conducted 9 a.m.-3 p.m. and is open to college students. Lunch is included in the program. Sponsored by United Way of Southwest Georgia as part of its Reimagine Albany initiative, the event is free to participating students, but space is limited. Students may register at the secure link at

“Through rigorous work and innovative programs, the AMA aims to contribute significantly to the field of museums and community well-being, changing the ways museums are viewed today via our dynamic, issue-focused public programs, such as Courageous Conversations About Race, an essential constructive discussion addressing the difficult subject of race in America,” AMA Executive Director Andrew J. Wulf said in a news release.

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AMA Director of Education and Public Programming Annie Vanoteghem said the program will again be facilitated by Gloria J. Wilson from the University of Arizona, and Sara Scott Shields from Florida State University.

Participants will take part in discussions and engage in exercises that are intended to promote a deeper understanding of the intersection of racial identity, politics, and social and educational outcomes in America.

“Dr. Wilson and Dr. Shields have facilitated each of our first four Courageous Conversations About Race programs, and we are excited to have them back this fall to work with college students,” Vanoteghem said.

Wilson is an assistant professor in Art & Visual Culture Education at the University of Arizona; chair of the Committee on Multiethnic Concerns for the National Art Education Association, and co-director of Arizona Arts, Racial Justice Studio. Shields is an art education associate professor and department chair at Florida State University.

“Our facilitators will tailor the program to a college audience, and they have artworks they incorporate into the program,” Vanoteghem said. “We also will have three thought-inspiring exhibitions that will offer students perspective at this event.”

The exhibitions are “Fighters for Freedom: William H. Johnson Picturing Justice,” “Wayna: Her Dreams of Ethiopia, Works by Tracy Murrell,” which are open, and “Forsaking All Comfort and Prosperity, Works by Maryam Safajoo,” which opens on Oct 6.

In “Wayna: Her Dreams of Ethiopia,” Vanoteghem said, Tracy Murrell uses silhouettes as entry points to more complex conversations about gender, race and how beauty is perceived. Her work incorporates stories she heard from her cousin Wayna, a Grammy-nominated singer, and her paper-cut Ethiopian crosses are seen as a unifying force.

Students with questions about Courageous Conversations About Race may contact Vanotgehem at or call her at (229) 439-8400. Information may be found online at

Credit: Albany Herald

Credit: Albany Herald


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