BECAUSE OF THIS is a year-long exhibition + performance series that celebrates contemporary Black artistic life through the healing and transformative works of Midwest artists of the African Diaspora. Because of This is an ambitious undertaking in community building, spearheaded by curator Mary Lawson (Omaha, NE) whose selection of over thirty virtual and outdoor programs include visual art, performances, audio archive, critique series, panel discussions, and community bike rides.

Performances and public programming for this series will be divided into four parts. For Quarters 1 + 2, public programming will be accessed virtually, and outdoor installations including a sculpture walk, light work, sound art, murals and window vinyl, will be visible to the passerby at Charlotte Street Foundation’s new art campus and headquarters (3333 Wyoming St., KCMO). For Quarters 3 + 4,  public programming and performances will take place in real space and be limited to small, outdoor gatherings. Virtual platforms will be used as a contingency plan for these series components.  

Participating artists: Michael Toombs, Dwight Edward Brown Jr., Tonina Saputo, Kat Wiese, Desiree Morales, Pamela Conyers-Hinson. 

Events + Programs

Here We Are. We Are Here.

Here We Are. We Are Here​ is an ​audio archive​ designed by Mary Lawson + Glyneisha Johnson, co-founders of ​Strange Fruit Femmes​, a BIPOC Femme Collective that centers the works of Black, Brown, and Indigenous femmes living in the Midwest. ​Carrying the gift of storytelling and cultural preservation, ​Here We Are. We Are Here​ draws upon the legacy of Black, Brown, and Indigenous music and literature to talk about the spectrum of ​contemporary Black Artistic life and spirit​.

Soulful SafeSpace Sundays

Soulful Safe Space Sundays is a recurring program created by artists-of-color, for artists-of-color with the purpose of building trust through ​healthy, mindful exchanges​ within an ​art critique​ space. ​Meditation, literature, and discussion will be used as tools to facilitate this gathering.

Just Ride: Community Bike Ride Series

Partnered with Urban Planner and Placemaker, Emmanuel Cook Jr. will promote local community engagement through a community bike ride series:​ ​Just Rid​e​. This effort will be co-leading this effort with a KC Urban Planner/Developer in the latter half of the year. These rides are rooted in the ideas of community + mobility justice​, meaning the right to live in and move through public space without the fear of violence, harm, or oppression.