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The Art of Black Urbanism; a conversation on black visibility and shifting spaces in community. It featured a panel discussion with Dr. Matthew Miller (right) , and Seattle artist Jessica Rycheal sitting beside him.
For Jessica Rycheal, being visible as a Black woman is a way for her to be disruptive. The premise of visibility is central to her photography in “Everyday Black,” a series of portraits that highlight black visibility in a predominantly white space like Seattle.“What I hope to provide with Black urbanism is a counterweight that allows us to see that Blackness is beautiful and celebratory and poetic,” Miller said. “Those principles are weaved into the art.”
She discussed this sentiment during a discussion with Matt Miller, a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania. Hosted by theUW department of urban design & planning in honor of Black History Month, this event on the art of Black urbanism explored the complexity of visibility, Blackness, and space and how these topics are reflected in their photography.“Walking into all of my computer science [classes], it’s overwhelmingly white and East Asian,” Linda Vong, attendee and UW sophomore, said. “It was powerful to work in the architecture hall and not see the same demographic.”The event began with the acknowledgment of Black urban planners, artists, and designers and introduced the event as a pro-Black space. Shortly after, Tiana Brawley, co-creator ofBlack Excellence in Planning, Public Service, Art, & Advocacy, asked Rycheal and Miller a series of questions about the role of public space in their work, the moments where they feel the most visible, and the ways they show up as their authentic selves.Rycheal started by sharing her story as an art director, Southern interdisciplinary storyteller, and Black queer woman working at Amazon as a senior art director.“My Black experience was the only reflection of blackness I …