Quick, what is the first thing you think when you read, “Art Exhibition”? Does it interest you, bore you, make you feel left out? Whatever you’re feeling, that’s an example of unconscious bias: your automatic and immediate reactions to something. A new art show, organized by Wyoming Community In Action, A.R.T. Gallery, Paradigm Home Design, and the Wyoming Community Foundation aims to explore and challenge those reactions in all forms.
The Unconscious Bias Art Exhibition, which opens Saturday, February 13, from noon until 5 p.m. on Wyoming Avenue, features works from a wide spectrum of artists, examining what bias means and how it shows up in our lives.
“There’s bias everywhere, in everything,” says Trista Manigault, owner of Paradigm Home Design and one of the show’s organizers. “In our everyday life we’re doing it and we don’t even realize.”
While unconscious or implicit bias often refers to race or ethnicity, it can be directed at almost any group of people for a variety of reasons: size, religion, gender, age, education, or class. The organizers hope the show will raise awareness of the ways bias influences our thoughts and actions, but first and foremost, “It’s about enjoying good art,” says Tess Harper, a leader of WCIA. “Experiencing artists you might not otherwise see.”
“It’s a beautiful, diverse show,” agrees Inez Baird, owner of A.R.T. Gallery. “We have paintings, photography, ceramics. Come and get to know people through art.”
Although the opening is free, timed entry tickets are required to ensure social distancing, and masks will be required. Times can be reserved through the Eventbrite page, which also outlines the precautions that will be taken to ensure a safe and healthy experience. In addition, the show will have an outdoor component, and some art will be exhibited at neighboring businesses such as Station BBQ and Gabby’s Café. The Wyoming Fine Arts Center will also offer a schedule of socially distanced indoor activities for families. After the opening, the artwork will be on display inside A.R.T. Gallery until March 13. The ticketing page includes details for artists wishing to submit work for the show; submissions are open until January 31.
Wyoming Community In Action is a grassroots organization dedicated to awareness, unity, and action on behalf of the city’s residents of color. Formed in the summer of 2020 following the tragic and controversial death of George Floyd during an arrest by Minneapolis Police, the group strives to advance the city’s efforts to engage residents of color and to raise awareness of the challenges they face.
To that end, they have worked in collaboration with city government to bring constructive change, holding town hall meetings and October’s Spoken Word and Poetry Jam. As part of their Diversity and Inclusion Initiative, the Wyoming Community Foundation has provided logistical, sponsorship, and promotional assistance to make the exhibition a reality.
“We love this community,” says Tess Harper. “We want to encourage discussion. We want everyone to be involved.”