Where Art and Social Change Converge

Renowned Juror Leslie King Hammond Talks Manifesting Beloved Community

by Beau Desire

Leslie King Hammond Juror for Manifesting Beloved Community
Dr. Leslie King Hammond

In the two previous years of its existence, the annual Manifesting Beloved Community exhibition hosted by the West Windsor Arts Council and Art Against Racism (both 501(c)(3) organizations) have been juried by accomplished national and international creatives. The third annual exhibition follows suit with juror Dr. Leslie King Hammond, a notable arts administrator, artist, and curator.

Dr. King Hammond is the Graduate Dean Emeritus of the Maryland Institute College of Art where she also taught art history for many years. She is also the founding director of the Center for Race and Culture. Additionally, she currently is chair on the board of directors of the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture.

An artist in her own right, Dr. King Hammond has been curating for many years. We had the opportunity to speak to her about her experience judging the 2024 Manifesting Beloved Community exhibition for which artists were asked to share their visions of a healthy and just community.

Dr. King Hammond said, “I tried to pick the most provocative, compelling, inspired, and different points of view so that the artist had representation. So not only the artist but also the people coming to see the exhibition will have an engaged time, and look at how these artists interpreted their beloved community. Everybody had a different voice and approach in terms of medium and content. It was a very refreshing experience to jury the show because of the richness of the applications.”

Universal Beauty by Nancy Gunkelman
Miss Bessie Gets a New Home by audrey roth

The artworks come together cohesively, and each speaks to the theme in their way. Dr. King Hammond touches on this when discussing her process for selecting the pieces.

“I selected based on firstly, curatorially, it’s always a question of size consideration, and not only because of size but because I found looking through all the works that they were so energized and diversified, so I wanted to make sure that had a vibrant complement of works that could talk to each other, ” she said.

The selected artworks all follow through on the theme of beloved community while also staying unique and original to the artist.

Dr. King Hammond believes the final product of the exhibition is fantastic and truly focuses on the connection to the theme. She said, “ I loved them all, every one of them.  I will not prioritize one over the other because this is an exhibition that talks about the collectivity, continuity, and bonding regardless of whether or not these artists worked in isolation or in collaboration. So I will not prioritize one over the other because I want to keep them all similarly inspired to continue doing what they do so well.”

Dr. King Hammond’s comments speak to the essence of what this call to art has accomplished throughout the entire exhibition, that social justice focused on community creates a healing society.

The exhibition will take place in person at West Windsor Arts in Princeton Junction, New Jersey. The gallery will be open from January 10th to March 4th, 2024. The artwork is also presented on the website in our virtual gallery.

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