Revolutionary (Angela Davis), 1972 Wadsworth Jarrell; Publisher: Wadsworth Jarrelle. 2018.41

Black History at Mia

Black History at Mia

Celebrate the exceptional historical and creative cultural contributions made by African American artists with exhibitions, virtual events, videos, stories, and more.

Black History at Mia

Celebrate the exceptional historical and creative cultural contributions made by African American artists with exhibitions, virtual events, videos, stories, and more.

African American Art and Artists

Explore art by African American Artists in Mia's collection

It is our mission to enrich the community by collecting, preserving, and making accessible outstanding works of art from the world’s diverse cultures. With over 90,000 artworks, Mia’s collection includes art from six continents, spanning about 5,000 years.

View the art here.

Current Exhibitions

Rituals of Resilience

March 18, 2021 – July 31, 2022

“Rituals of Resilience” is an audio-visual experience, co-curated by the Twin Cities-based musician and community organizer Chaka Mkali (aka I Self Devine). The experience creates dialog between works by Black visual artists from the United States, Africa, and the greater African Diaspora and new music created for the exhibition by Mkali and his collaborators.

Explore the Exhibition

Past Exhibitions

In Her View

July 3, 2021 – February 20, 2022

This exhibition highlights 50 years of photographic expression by a diverse roster of artists working within, against, and beyond the history of the medium: Nona Faustine, Martine Gutierrez, Deana Lawson, An-My Lê, Rania Matar, Lorraine O’Grady, Adrian Piper, Selma Fernandez Richter, Martha Rosler, Nona Faustine, Mickalene Thomas, Carrie Mae Weems, and Carmen Winant.

Explore the Exhibition

Unexpected Turns: Women Artists and the Making of American Basket-Weaving Traditions

March 11, 2021 – December 12, 2021

American basketry is as culturally and technically diverse as the country’s inhabitants. Baskets can be coiled, crocheted, or composed of interlaced elements that travel over and under one another, as in a woven cloth. They can be made using local grasses, copper wire, celluloid film, porcupine quills, or tubular bugle beads. They can take the form of utilitarian vessels or abstract shapes.

Explore the Exhibition

Leslie Barlow: Within, Between, and Beyond

July 16, 2021 – October 31, 2021

Leslie Barlow’s MAEP exhibition “Within, Between, and Beyond” explores representation, race, family, and belonging. Comprised of both paintings and video interviews, the work shares stories of 16 Minnesotans who use the terms mixed race, multiracial, and/or transnational/transracial adoptee to identify themselves and their lived experiences. “Within, Between, and Beyond” invites us to hold space for, recognize, and reconsider our presumptions about race in Minnesota.

Explore the Exhibition

Words that Presence the Divine: Tezet Metu

September 6, 2021 – February 6, 2022

The exhibition features works from the Council of Black Male Success Rites of Passage, a program of the Cultural Wellness Center. Your experience in this gallery results from a collaboration between Mia and the Cultural Wellness Center. The perspective labels were authored by Cultural Wellness Center faculty: Seba Ahmad Azzahir, Elder Atum Azzahir, Brother Minkara Tezet, the Council for Black Male Success.

Explore the Exhibition

Racism as a Public Health Crisis: Youth and Professional Artists Respond

November 5, 2021 – February 6, 2022

This exhibition features artworks created by high school students in Minneapolis and St. Paul to address the impact of racism on their lives and on the health of their families, communities, and beyond. This project is sponsored by Blue Cross® and Blue Shield® of Minnesota as part of a larger campaign to address racism as a public health crisis.

Explore the Exhibition

In the Presence of Our Ancestors: Southern Perspectives in African American Art

December 12, 2020 – November 28, 2021

This show brings together methods of visual storytelling and ancestral memory through the individual practices of artists from the “Black Belt” region of the American South—a term that refers to the region’s black soil, as well as the legacies of African Americans who shaped its social and agrarian culture.

Explore the Exhibition

Freedom Rising: I Am the Story / L’Merchie Frazier

January 3, 2021 – September 19, 2021

L’Merchie Frazier is a fiber artist, quilter, historian, innovator, poet, and holographer. This show examines the lives and legacies of African-descended people, including children and their communities across centuries of memory, places, and activism.

Explore the Exhibition

The Enduring Soul

October 26, 2019 – April 4, 2021
A collaboration between the Minneapolis Institute of Art and the Cultural Wellness Center, The Enduring Soul presents artwork by African and African American artists that honor the connection between ancestors and the living and between what is seen and the invisible.

Explore the Exhibition

Explore Related Videos

Discover past talks, art-making activities, and other videos connected to Black art and artists. Click through many videos using the < > signs in the upper left of the above video viewer.

Podcast Episodes

The Matter of Black Lives

When Gordon Parks becomes the first Black photographer at LIFE magazine, in 1949, he’s determined to show the full measure of Black lives in America. Whether the magazine, and the rest of America, is ready or not.

Listen Here

Miracles in Stone: The Curious Celebrity of God's Sculptor

William Edmondson is a middle-aged laborer in Nashville, Tennessee, at the height of the Great Depression, when God tells him to carve a tombstone. Soon, he’s the first African-American artist to have a solo show at the Museum of Modern Art.

Listen Here

Young, Gifted, and Gone: The Woman Who Never Came Back

Elizabeth Catlett, the granddaughter of enslaved African-Americans, is a struggling artist at the height of Jim Crow. But when she moves to Mexico City in 1946, she finds love, inspiration, and eventually fame. There’s just one catch: she can’t come home.

Listen Here

Revolutionary (Angela Davis), 1972 Wadsworth Jarrell; Publisher: Wadsworth Jarrelle. 2018.41