Grow, As We Are | Minneapolis College of Art and Design

Grow, As We Are

Main Gallery
Gallery Exhibition
Grow As We Are

Opening Reception: Friday, June 9, 6:00–9:00 p.m. (RSVPs are encouraged)

Black Americans have long been a part of Martha’s Vineyard’s historical legacy: before Shearer Cottage, a Black-owned inn in Oak Bluffs, was designated a safe space in the Green Book and even before the island was made a stop on the Underground Railroad. For centuries, Black families have used Oak Bluffs as a haven, safe from the rampant and violent racism of the rest of the country and to find, what Maya Angelou described as, “a safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.”

After being introduced to Martha’s Vineyard over three years ago, The Bureau team learned that of the 2,000+ known images officially archiving the history of the island’s inhabitants, only a handful contained a Black presence: physically and viscerally erasing the Black body from the history of the vineyard. In 2021, The Bureau returned to document the Black community, starting in Oak Bluffs and expanding throughout the island. They spent time gathering digital and film portraits, along with audio interviews of families and individuals with a connection to the island that span several generations, as well as first-time visitors, and long time business owners. 

Expanding on this project in Minneapolis, The Bureau opens a cross-community dialogue about space, safety, legacy, and presence across the Black diaspora.  This interdisciplinary exhibition serves not only as an enrichment of the Black body that is deeply woven throughout the history of the island, but also a beaming lighthouse for our future to connect and live out, even if briefly, the freedom dreams of our ancestors.

Learn more

About The Bureau

The Bureau is a multidisciplinary studio and creative media platform. Art, as an expression of love, provides one of the few avenues in which the imagination can be completely unbound. As such, our work utilizes photography and film, design and fashion, research and dialogue, exhibitions and creative experiences to weave the thread of our collective histories.

Our distinctive approach to storytelling allows for unique cross-category solutions that merge robust artistic production with critical dialogue.

The Bureau was founded in Minneapolis in the wake of local and international uprisings sparked by the killing of George Floyd. The team coalesced around the desire to produce work that reflects the political, cultural, and social needs of those most marginalized in the contemporary landscape.