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ABOUT THE CURATOR
Juana Williams is a community-based arts curator and writer residing in Detroit, Michigan. Her curatorial practice predominantly focuses on deconstructing cultural and social issues, transgressing traditional boundaries of art criticism and curation, and countering anti-blackness within the arts. Williams is passionate about engaging communities, elevating diverse voices, and giving a platform to artists for innovative expression. She also persistently advocates for supporting artists and preserving art-centered spaces.
Williams was the 2021 Art Mile Inaugural Curatorial Fellow. She recently joined Library Street Collective as the Director of Exhibitions and previously served as the Exhibitions Curator at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA) in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Prior to joining UICA, Williams held multiple positions at various art institutions including the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, the Wayne State University Art Department Gallery, the Elaine L. Jacob Gallery, and the Detroit Institute of Arts.
She has curated exhibitions at several galleries and museums featuring a roster of artists at various stages of their careers including Wangechi Mutu, Firelei Báez, Devan Shimoyama, Mavis Pusey, and Elizabeth Catlett, to name a few. She has recently guest-curated at the Westmoreland Museum of American Art, the Detroit Artists Market, and the Grand Rapids Art Museum. She has presented lectures at numerous venues such as Kendall College of Art and Design, Carnegie Mellon University, and Central Michigan University. She has also contributed to multiple exhibition catalogues, including Up From the Red Clay through M Contemporary Gallery, Before Words through Kavi Gupta Gallery, and the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh 107th Annual Exhibition through the Westmoreland Museum of American Art. Her work has been supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, the Wege Foundation, and the Frye Foundation.
She holds a BA in Art and an MA in Art History, both from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan.
Historic Futures is a multidisciplinary exhibition bringing together a group of artists who explore history, create commentary around current happenings, and dare to imagine a distinctly different future. When visualizing a future world, minds often shift between numerous manifestations of improvement and innovation. Perhaps what’s imagined is a world consisting of people and systems that are more just, kinder to the environment and each other, healthier, safer, more accepting of differences, and less polarizing. Yet, all of these ideas are subjective. How do we individually and collectively define these terms? What’s most significant when designing future societies? An exceedingly important question to explore when considering the future, is where have we been? What have we learned from our past and what lessons are continuing to guide us into the future?
Fluidity is a compelling idea when juxtaposing ideas are so adamantly different, that even imagining an intersection seems virtually impossible. Although some semblance of agreement may not be envisioned, one element that must not be forgotten is that change is constant. History has proven that if nothing else remains true across expanses of time, change is always dependable. It is an absolute necessity. To move forward, to progress, to make positive change happen, there must be a deliberate examination of the past. The artwork within Historic Futures acts as a guide, questioning the past and envisioning what’s to come, as life edges forward toward the future.