ILLUMINATION opens during the Second Friday Art Walk on Friday, December 8, 2023, from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the Springfield History Museum. The exhibit features stories and photographs of eight contemporary Springfield community members exploring Black and African American history and experience in the area.
ILLUMINATION is an annual celebration of community sourced narratives that reflect the plurality of voices in Springfield and rural east Lane County, Oregon. The exhibit will also include evidence of the impact of Black and African American Oregonians in the Willamette Valley dating back as far as 1880’s.
This year our team includes Michael Klindt, Marcus Holloway and Irene Rasheed who worked in collaboration with museum staff Madeline McGraw and Mindy Linder. “We are working to overcome the white supremacy inherent in museum institutions including gatekeeping and erasure,” said Curator Madeline McGraw. “So many have been left out of our historical records and we are working to change that, one story at a time.”
Irene Rasheed reflects, “it was important to us to collect interviews that told multiple generations of our people’s stories… What was surprising were the common threads that wove in and out of each person’s narrative. All felt a need to gather, connect and build cultural bridges. Each went about those missions in different ways. All saw the opportunities Springfield held and gravitated toward them. Each person led unique and impactful lives, legacies that have been built and are being built. Growing up and moving to an area where excluding Blacks – specifically – was the letter of the law brings with it life experiences that make for unique history. Blazing the Oregon Trail looked very different for our people. As Lois Reynolds said, ‘We were pioneers.’ Arguably, they still are.”
The exhibit will be installed in both the east-facing windows and Main Street windows of the Museum gallery, where viewers have unlimited access through June, 2024. The Opening Celebration is presented by Day in the Life Entertainment featuring live performances by local Black artists, booths with local Black businesses and light refreshments from a local Black author and chef. Bring your friends and family to celebrate Black history, joy, and success in our community. This event is free and open to all.
Everyone is also welcome to the Community After Party with DJ Smuve at OG Studio at 129 14th Street in Springfield (just down the street from the Springfield History Museum). From 8:00 – 10:00 p.m. enjoy food, beverages, a dance circle and more. Your hosts for the evening will be one of Springfield’s rising hip-hop dancers, “Sparxx,” and Best of Eugene DJ Smuve.
This project is made possible by the support of the Springfield Utility Board (SUB), the City of Springfield City Manager’s Office, the Friends of the Springfield Public Library and History Museum, and Springfield Arts Commission.
Current regular Museum hours are Thursday – Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and as always, admission is free! For more information about the exhibit visit https://wheremindsgrow.org/illumination, find us on Facebook and Instagram, or call 541-726-2300.
What: ILLUMINATION exhibit Opening Celebration
When: Friday, December 8th, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Where: Springfield History Museum at 590 Main Street
Additional Information: Mindy Linder, 541-744-3388 or email@example.com