The Black Lunch Table (BLT) is an ongoing collaboration between artist and UNC Assistant Professor of Art Jina Valentine and New York-based, media and social-practice artist, Heather Hart. First staged in 2005 at the preeminent artist residency Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, this project augments the dominant history of contemporary art with the testimonies of living, working, African American artists. Our primary aim is the production of discursive sites, wherein cultural producers of color engage in critical dialogue with one another on topics directly affecting our community. The Black Lunch Table cultivates audience contingency—participants become constituents as they find their agency within the project. We provide site, prompt, and premise; participants fill that space with discourse. Though BLT events are ephemeral, the conversations begun at these events precipitate individuals’ further meditation on subjects addressed and have often served as the germinal point for extended discourse thereafter.

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