The Minneapolis Foundation recently hosted a special viewing of “Art and Healing: In the Moment,” a new exhibition at the Minneapolis Institute of Art featuring work created by community artists in response to the fatal shooting of Philando Castile. On July 6, 2016, Philando Castile was shot and killed by a police officer after being pulled over for a traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minnesota.
Philando Castile’s death motivated artists across the community to create art. Many artists presented their work to his family as gifts intended to help the people closest to him “process their grief and start to heal, while also bearing collective witness to the tragedy of his untimely death.” Valerie Castile, Philando’s mother, contacted the Minneapolis Institute of Art and asked if they could work together to display the art to the public.
The exhibition features a wide range of work, including drawings, paintings, sculptures, videos and quilts. Nicole Soukup, the museum’s assistant curator of contemporary art, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that when she and her colleagues visited Valerie Castile’s home “it was a moment of awe.”
“To see that generosity from our community and that support,” Soukup said. “It was overwhelming and beautiful and yet heartbreaking.”
After the viewing, more than 100 people gathered in the Reception Hall at the Minneapolis Institute of Art for a reception that featured a conversation between Valerie Castile, Nicole Soukup, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria (“Rondo”) Arradondo, and Chanda Smith Baker, The Minneapolis Foundation’s senior vice president for community impact.
Coming just days after another young African American man, 31-year-old Thurman Blevins, was shot and killed by Minneapolis Police, the conversation provided and opportunity for those on stage and in the audience to reflect on the meaning of community, healing and hope.
Valerie Castile said the next generation of leaders gives her hope. She said it gives her comfort to know that following her son’s death “young people [were] out there demanding change.” Her hope is that they will do even more. “That’s great to march for change, but you should also go out and be the change,” she said. “Be a lawyer. Be a doctor. Be a Congressman. Be the change.”
“Art and Healing: In the Moment” will be on display at the Minneapolis Institute of Art’s Cargill Gallery through July 29, 2018. The exhibition is free and open to the public. For more information, visit artsmia.org or call 612-870-3000.