The Maryland Institute Black Archives (MIBA) uncovers The Maryland Institute College of Art’s (MICA) Black History. The collection shares the stories of the college’s first black artists, the accomplishments of those who attempted to study from 1896 to 1954 but could not because of the color of their skin, and the portraits of MICA’s existing Black community. MIBA’s physical archive consists of documentary images, ephemera, and facsimile artifacts. Nevertheless, the information presented is authentically drawn from databases and special collections. In addition to documenting MICA’s Black community through environmental portraiture, MIBA also collects oral histories to revive the voices of past.
MIBA was created in response to the lack of physical evidence of Black History at MICA and the nostalgia lost to technology. The Archives, traveling exhibition Blackives: A Celebration of Black History at MICA”, and remembrance demonstration Take Back The Steps have shed light on MICA’s false nostalgic past. The culmination of these ventures in early 2019, prompted MICA’s President to issue a letter apologizing for the institution’s racist past. MIBA has created a collective awareness around race on campus and within the broader art world as expressed in numerous publications. Although many claimed to have been informed, transformed and empowered as visitors and residents of Baltimore City, there is still more work to be done.
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