kalamazoo institute of arts

Filmmaker Tom Ludwig
Tom Ludwig

This summer, the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts is showing movies by local and regional filmmakers. Tom Ludwig will show some of his short films on Thursday, June 9th. Chicago filmmaker Chris Hefner’s movie The Poisoner will screen on July 14th. Both films start at 6:30 p.m.


Courtesy KIA

About five years ago, the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts took on an ambitious goal: to create a tour within the museum that was accessible to those who are visually impaired. This was tricky for a number of reasons. The most pressing issue was that the KIA specializes in visual art. So how do you take an visual medium, and bring it alive for someone who can’t see it? KIA docents Frank Wolf and Tracy Klinesteker will give a talk on March 22nd explaining how the museum did it.


Back in August, the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts brought in "Common Ground," a joint exhibit from art museums in Kalamazoo, Muskegon and Flint featuring centuries of African-American art. On February 4th -- almost six months later -- the KIA is putting on a new event, called “Common Threads," where activists, musicians and poets will gather together to perform a kind of “call and response” to the “Common Ground” exhibit and explore how its themes still resonate today. 


James Marcellus Watkins, Victims, ca. 1986, oil on board. Collection of the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts;  Director's Choice Purchase Award, 1991 Kalamazoo Area Artist Show.
Kalamazoo Institute of Arts

Common Ground is a multi-city exhibit that shows African American art through the ages, stretching all the way back to the 19th century. Kalamazoo is the exhibit’s last stop in the state after showing in Flint and Muskegon.  The opening reception is August 21st at 5:30 p.m.


Courtesy Kalamazoo Institute of Arts

Seventy years ago, Nina Belle Ward was a big deal in Kalamazoo. Ward was one of the founders of the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts back in 1924, and she served as the museum’s first and only teacher for nearly two decades. But once Ward passed away in 1944, her works were spread out across the country. Now, with the help of one of Ward’s relatives, the KIA has reconstructed her legacy in a brand new exhibit, called "Rediscovering Nina Belle Ward."


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