Open today 12 – 5pm CLOSED FOR GALLERY RESET | Three new exhibitions open March 1

As I Recall Her: Artists Expand the Legacy of the Douglass Women

March 3, 2023 - May 6, 2023

As I Recall Her is a juried exhibition inspired by Anna Murray Douglass, Rosetta Douglass Sprague, and Annie Douglass. A call to artists of all media and creative practices was held and the following artists were selected. This exhibition builds upon several other initiatives dedicated to the Douglass Women (see below) and it constitutes a collective effort to expand their legacy and inspire the community. As I Recall Her... is presented in partnership with collaborating organizations 540WMain, Inc. and Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives, and other programs for International Woman’s Month.

Artists

Hannah Bell
Helen Bishop-Santelli
Lydia Boddie-Rice
Erica Bryant
Yvonne Buchanan
Annette Daniels Taylor
LaShonda Davis
Sampa Diseko
Lynn Donahue
W. Michelle Harris
Virginia Malone
Hinda Mandell
Jessica Nikic
Lucy Ray
Stephon Senegal
Todd Stahl
Julie Thurber
Matthew Vanderlee
Teresa Werth

CALL FOR ART

In 2022 RoCo invited submissions of all media related to, or inspired by, the Douglass Women. We welcomed artworks that help expand public awareness of these figures within the Douglass family and those that creatively interpret their lives. We also encouraged projects that highlight the stories and voices of other Black women who make significant, but overlooked, contributions to the world. Jurors: Erica Mock & Quajay Donnell.

CONTEXT, RELATED PROJECTS, AND ADDITIONAL READING

As I Recall Her… builds upon several projects dedicated to the Douglass Women and invites artists of all media to participate in honoring and expanding their legacy.

During Black History Month February 2022 540WMain, Inc. organized a public art project to pay homage to Anna Murray Douglass and Rosetta Douglass Sprague. This public art initiative was preceded by an online panel titled; The Douglass Women: Another Look at Anna Murray and Rosetta. The keynote speaker was Dr. Leigh Fought professor of history and author of the biography Women in the World of Douglass. Led by Project Organizer Quajay Donnell, this call for artists was dedicated to BIPOC Women Artists. LaShonda Davis and Lucy Ray were selected to paint Murals of the Douglass Women. Expanding on their public murals, Davis and Ray have each painted a large scale canvas which will be a central feature of the exhibition at RoCo alongside a wide range of artworks selected by the jurors. Read more about the mural artists below, and the public art project here. View the online panel here.

Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives has made several efforts to honor the Douglass Women including the recent placement of two headstones in Mt Hope Cemetery. Read more here.

Read Another Look at Anna, The Other Douglass by Rachel Y DeGuzman here.

View Shawn Dunwoody’s public artwork on the site of the Douglass Family home here.

Rosetta Douglass Sprague wrote the text Anna Murray-Douglass-My Mother as I Recall her read the full text here.

In 2018, Rochester Contemporary Art Center organized the exhibition No Soil Better: Art & The Living Legacy of Frederick Douglass. The exhibition featured new, contemporary monuments that commented on how Frederick Douglass has been memorialized and the importance of his legacy today. Learn more about the exhibition here.

ABOUT THE JURORS

Erica Mock, originally from Ohio and now a resident of Rochester, NY, is the National Executive Director for (FDFI) Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives, an anti-human trafficking and equity organization founded by the direct descendants of Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington. She works with administrators, teachers and community to develop a Douglass descendants legacy curriculum, which will be implemented in schools throughout the city, with future plans to bring it to schools and students overseas. Erica created the historic monuments project that now cover the graves of Anna Murray Douglass and Annie Douglass (Frederick’s first wife and mother of his five children and their ten year old daughter). Erica is the project manager for the Frederick Douglass International Airport Observatory Renovation for arts and education. Erica is honored to participate with FDFI Board members and Senior Advisors in planning for the “Frederick Douglass Museum and Center for Equality, Justice and Knowledge,” which will be a state of the art, international destination right here in Rochester.

Quajay Donnell is a Rochester, NY based photographer and writer whose most recent body of work focuses on street and public art. His work has been published in local and national publications, including The Washington Post. Donnell is a crew member and photographer for WALL\THERAPY and staff photographer for Roc Paint Division. His work was part of the Memorial Art Gallery’s 67th Rochester-Finger Lakes Exhibition and he was the recipient of the 2020 George Eastman Museum Award for the Rochester Contemporary Art Center’s 30 Annual Members Exhibition. In addition to the recent group show with RoCo, St. John Fisher University hosted his first solo show, How I See It, in the Patricia O'Keefe Ross Gallery

ABOUT THE MURAL ARTISTS

LaShonda Davis is a painter who creates artwork using colorful washes of acrylic paint. She focuses on a range of subjects, including nature, flowers, landscapes, portraits, and figure drawing. Davis completes large-scale art projects in the Northeast region, and operates from her studio in Upstate New York.

Lucy Ray is a painter, illustrator, muralist and photographer from Rochester, NY. She draws inspiration from Rochester's history in relation to her personal experiences growing up there. Lucy is a Roc Paint Division alum, and has worked on collaborative murals at city Rec-Centers and other community spaces.

ABOUT THE PARTNERS

540WMain, Inc. was founded by Calvin Eaton in 2016 as a grassroots community space in the Susan B. Anthony district of Rochester, NY. Today, our purpose remains unchanged; engaging our community through antiracist, accessible, and compelling digital and virtual content, centering Black and Indigenous thinkers and creators.

The mission of the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives is to build strong children and to end systems of exploitation and oppression. Since its inception in 2007, Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives has been advocating for a more equitable world on the issues of human trafficking and racism. Co-founded by direct descendants of Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington, FDFI is headquartered in Rochester, NY — a place Frederick Douglass once called home.

ABOUT THE IMAGE

Photograph of Annie Douglass (1849-1860), second daughter of Anna and Frederick Douglass, died at age 10.
Photograph of Anna Murray Douglass (1813–1882), the first wife of Frederick Douglass
Photograph of Rosetta Douglass Sprague (1839-1906), was the first child of Anna and Frederick Douglass.
Annie Douglass photograph - Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives
Anna and Rosetta Douglass photograph National Park Services

Supported by:

New York State Council on the Arts
Farash Foundation
Rochester Area Community Foundation
Gouvernet Arts Fund
County of Monroe
Mary S Mulligan Charitable Trust
and over 1,000 Members!