Centre College’s Norton Center for the Arts announced the opening of its new exhibition, titled “We Were Here:” The African American Experience in Boyle County. The special exhibition is presented in partnership with the Danville Boyle County African American Historical Society (DBCAAHS) and Centre College’s Program in Anthropology and Sociology.
“This exhibition tells the story of a proud community, standing tall during periods of segregation, struggle and urban renewal,” shared Michael Hughes, president of DBCAAHS.
Through the presentation of archival photographs, oral history listening stations and physical artifacts, “We Were Here” highlights the individual and collective experiences of African Americans living in Danville and Boyle County in the middle part of the 20th Century when multiple urban renewal projects and school desegregation were changing the community forever.
Norton Center Executive Director Steve Hoffman stated, “Having the opportunity to work alongside Michael and other members of the DBCAAHS on this exhibition has been an eye-opening experience. I have learned so much about the African American community in Boyle County — from their incredible stories of celebration to the effects of segregation and racial disparities.”
Hughes continued, “As this project has developed, I have witnessed the combined effort of so many people coming together, sharing a passion for our stories and our work. So many thanks to Centre College, the Norton Center and the outstanding team there. Without them we could have never done this.”’
The collaborative project was coordinated by Molly Baker, the Norton Center’s engagement services manager. Baker notes, “For those who are new to the topics this exhibition addresses, we hope that the content it explores and the experience shared throughout, will shed light on the complicated nature of systems like urban renewal and how historically unjust policies can permanently change the landscape of communities like Danville.”
The Norton Center will host two performances in conjunction with the exhibition: Makin’ Cake and Other Stories of Food and Community with Dasha Kelly Hamilton, Crystal Wilkinson and Frank X Walker (October 4, 7:30 p.m.) and Eric Owens and Singers from the Curtis Opera Theatre (November 19, 7:30 p.m.). Exhibit receptions, special tours and community workshops will be scheduled throughout the year.
The free exhibit, located in the Norton Center Grand Foyer is open to the public Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., through May 2023. Please call 859-236-4692 or visit nortoncenter.com for additional information.