On December 6, the exhibition Pen, Lens & Soul: The Story of The Beautiful Project will open in The Ruth and Harold D. Uris Center for Education at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, where it will be on view through February 24, 2020. There will be an opening reception on Friday, December 6, from 6 to 8 p.m. Pen, Lens & Soul, the first New York exhibition created by The Beautiful Project, presents over a decade of work by image makers and storytellers, including young artists as well as their adult mentors and coaches, who create spaces for black girls and women to express their power and beauty.
Pen, Lens & Soul: The Story of The Beautiful Project is made possible by The
William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust.
The Beautiful Project is a North Carolina-based collective that uses photography, writing, and care to advance the representational justice and wellness of black girls and women. It is one of 21 arts and cultural organizations—including The Metropolitan Museum of Art—that form the Collaborative for Creative Practice and Social Justice, which explores the impact of the arts in and with communities through themes of justice and equity, relationship building, sustainability, and social impact.
The exhibition features photography and writing from young artists who have been trained to use the camera and pen to document how they see the world and their aspirations. Founded in 2004, The Beautiful Project is a collective of black artists, scholars, and educators who encourage and equip black girls and women to be the caretakers of their needs, images, and stories.
“This presentation is a celebration of the incredibly talented girls and women who have channeled their experiences into powerful art,” said Sandra Jackson-Dumont, the Museum’s Frederick P. and Sandra P. Rose Chairman of Education. “We are proud to partner with a fellow member of the Collaborative for Creative Practice and Social Justice to host the first exhibition featuring the work of such a vital organization.”
“I hope when our young artists walk through the exhibition they will meet their undeniable selves, and see clearly what their creativity and diligence inspired. The world needs to hear their voices,” said Jamaica Gilmer, Founder and Executive Director of The Beautiful Project. “We wanted to offer black girls and women a space of sisterhood and hope.”
Pen, Lens & Soul: The Story of The Beautiful Project was organized by Jamaica Gilmer, Khayla Deans, Erin M. Stephens, and Pamela Thompson of The Beautiful Project.
In celebration of this exhibition, on Saturday, December 7, 1–3 p.m., The Met and The Beautiful Project invite black girls and young women ages 12 and over to a creative workshop using storytelling and image making as wellness tools to affirm and empower and to disrupt harmful misrepresentations.
About The Beautiful Project
The Beautiful Project is a collective of image makers using photography, writing, and care to create spaces for black women and girls to confront the mass misunderstanding, misrepresentation, and misuse of their likeness in the media and in the world at large. For more information, visit www.thebeautifulproject.org and follow on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter
About The Met
The Met presents over 5,000 years of art from around the world for everyone to experience and enjoy. The Museum lives in three iconic sites in New York City-The Met Fifth Avenue, The Met Breuer, and The Met Cloisters. Millions of people also take part in The Met experience online.
Since it was founded in 1870, The Met has always aspired to be more than a treasury of rare and beautiful objects. Every day, art comes alive in the Museum’s galleries and through its exhibitions and events, revealing both new ideas and unexpected connections across time and across cultures.
Dedicated to making art accessible to everyone, regardless of background, ability, age, or experience, The Met’s Education Department is central to the Museum’s mission and currently presents over 39,000 educational events and programs throughout the year. Exhibitions organized with the support of the department include the annual P.S. Art and New York City Scholastic Art & Writing Awards in the Ruth and Harold D. Uris Center for Education.
Through its website and social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, The Met expands its visitor experience to people all over the world. For additional information about the Museum, visit www.metmuseum.org.
*Photo credit: #dearblackgirl, 2015. Kaci Kennedy, The Beautiful Project Intern 2016, Virginia. Digital photograph. Image courtesy of The Beautiful Project.