Summer Celebration exhibits open at convention center

After awards were bestowed on Spike Lee, Billy Dee Williams, The O’Jays and others at the Pacers Sports & Entertainment Corporate Luncheon Friday afternoon, Indiana Black Expo president & CEO Tanya Bell encouraged the thousands of attendees to stop by the exhibit halls.

I had naively assumed that a trek through the Indiana Convention Center’s exhibitions was a given. But Bell’s need to plead underlined something that’s easy to forget about such large-scale events: They can be completely different experiences to different people.

For some, Summer Celebration is the corporate luncheon, an empowering gathering that also allows for some celebrity spotting. For others, it means the concerts, free (The O’Jays on American Legion Mall) or paid (Jill Scott at Bankers Life Fieldhouse). Some go for the boxing. Others for the free health screenings. Still others to shop (Macy’s is on board for the first time this year, although there are dozens of other retail booths to browse and buy.)

My afternoon visit included viewing a display of Indiana State Museum photographs titled “To Stir the Conscience: The Civil Rights Movement in Indiana.” From there I segued to artwork from Herron graduates, including some beautiful work from Colette Ross-Boggan, who re-imagines family photographs via collage. Family matters play a key role, too, in Kendra Washington’s “Trayvon: Reflected in my Child,” also a collage, which imposes cut out headlines—and a gun—onto an already strong image of her baby.

Also among the cultural exhibitions: a sample of the Fort Wayne Museum of Art’s current show “Afros: A Celebration of Natural Hair,” featuring photographs by Michael July.

For a complete schedule of IBE Summer Celebration activities and events, click here.

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