Tulsa’s own Greenwood Art Project is featured as part of Google Arts & Culture’s Black History and Culture project this month at https://artsandculture.google.com/project/black-history-month-2021. Scroll down to the Greenwood section – “Using Art to Understand the Past.” The Greenwood Art Project page that will remain on Google Arts & Culture after the special exhibit is located at https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/greenwood-art-project
“One hundred years after the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, the Greenwood Art Project is advancing healing in our community through art,” Mayor G.T. Bynum said. “For generations, the worst event in Tulsa history wasn’t spoken about in public. Today, artists are helping to educate and inform people all around the world about this tragedy – and by doing so honor the memory of our neighbors who were lost.”
The Greenwood Art Project is an initiative of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission. Tulsa was awarded $1 million in 2019 from Bloomberg Philanthropies as a winning city in the foundation’s Public Art Challenge. The George Kaiser Family Foundation also has contributed $200,000 to the Greenwood Art Project.
“Greenwood’s tragic and important history lay buried for far too long, so when local leaders brought their moving proposal for the Greenwood Art Project to Bloomberg Philanthropies, we were honored to help them bring it to life,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies and 108th mayor of New York City. “Our foundation created the Public Art Challenge because we know firsthand how public art can inspire both conversation and action. The Greenwood Art Project not only honors the past of America’s Black Wall Street, but it also helps strengthen and unify a historic neighborhood that more Americans should know about – and see for themselves.”
The Greenwood Art Project, led by artists Rick Lowe and William Cordova with Jerica Wortham, Marlon Hall, Jeff Van Hanken and Kode Ransom, seeks to raise awareness of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre and destruction of its thriving Black community in the historic Greenwood District that included Black Wall Street, one of the most prominent Black-owned business districts in the United States during the early 1900s. The Greenwood Art Project also celebrates the resilience, healing and recovery of the community, with new resonance in today’s challenging times.
“Google Arts & Culture is proud to invite everyone to experience the story of the Black community in Tulsa, Oklahoma,” said Simon Delacroix, U.S. Lead, Google Arts & Culture. “By sharing the Greenwood Art Project on our platform, we aim to raise awareness of the city’s history and inspire everyone with the beauty, hope and resilience that can be found in the community today.”
The Greenwood Art Project Google Arts & Culture page is a one-of-a-kind gathering of documentary photos and short films collected and curated by visual anthropologist Marlon Hall. The page features online exhibitions of intergenerational storytelling and photography by Tulsan photographers Don Thompson and Brian Ellison with ethnographic photos and short films framed as visual poems directed by Marlon Hall.
“The process of curating this digital exhibition has been anthropological,” Hall said. “Laughing, crying, dancing, and doing life with folks in this resilient community inspires the Greenwood Art Project’s Google Arts & Culture exhibits. Most of the stories, photos, short-films, and ethnographic documentaries you will see in the exhibits have not only come from collection and observation. The digital artifacts came from my participation in the beautiful culture of the people here in Greenwood where I have since chosen to live. We are telling the story of a phoenix that is rising from the ashes of the 1921 massacre of Black Wall Street one story after the next. So much so that we call our ethnographic films, Visual Poems because they are driven by the heartbeat of the people from stanza to stanza rather than moved by chronological events from chapter to chapter. Our GAC page is visual prose to a community.”
Greenwood Art Project artists were chosen in 2020, and the commissioned artists are preparing their works for display during the next few months. Through a Call-and-Response Poster Project, the broader community has been invited to participate by submitting posters to let their voices be heard at the centennial of the massacre, to inspire healing and hope. The poster project remains open for more submissions. These posters will be displayed in several public venues in Tulsa, including at City Hall.
For details about the Greenwood Art Project, visit www.greenwoodartproject.org/about and follow social media on Facebook at www.facebook.com/greenwoodartproject and Instagram at www.instagram.com/greenwood.art.project
About Google Arts & Culture
Google Arts & Culture is an online platform through which the public can view high-resolution images and videos of artworks and cultural artifacts from partner cultural organizations throughout the world. Google Arts & Culture is both a website and an iOS or Android app that provides free access to art, culture, and historical collections. It allows users to explore by specific museums’ collections or themes, and to filter by movement, artist, historical event, historical figure, medium, and more.
About Bloomberg Philanthropies
Bloomberg Philanthropies invests in 810 cities and 170 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s giving, including his foundation and personal philanthropy as well as Bloomberg Associates, a pro bono consultancy that works in cities around the world. In 2020, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $1.6 billion. For more information, please visit bloomberg.org or follow on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and TikTok.