Arcadia Public Art Project Resident Artist, NE Brown, Gives Lecture on April 22

By Sydney Welch ’20 | April 24, 2024
NE Brown and members of the APAP team.

NE Brown, resident artist with The Arcadia Public Art Project, began her lecture by offering listeners a glimpse into her artistic processes and the evolution of her work over time. She delved into complex themes surrounding her identity and familial history, shedding light on her experiences growing up as a black woman and navigating the complexities of colorism within her own family.

NE’s artistic journey has led her to collaborate with Arcadia in exploring and revitalizing the history of the Beaver College Blacks, an association of black students from Beaver College. Through extensive research in the Archives, NE and student apprentices unearthed the stories of three alumnae who had been hesitant to reconnect with the university due to their past experiences. Despite initial reluctance, these women have agreed to participate in interviews with the student apprentices, whose project this year focuses on preserving their oral history.

NE Brown giving her lecture.

The culmination of their efforts will be manifested in a public art installation on campus, featuring benches and flower pots adorned with QR codes that allow visitors to listen to these captivating stories. The recent return of one of the original co-founders of the Beaver College Blacks to Arcadia highlights the significance of this project in bridging past and present.

NE and the students are leveraging public art as a powerful medium to explore a crucial aspect of history: Black History. They are revitalizing a forgotten narrative and fostering reconciliation with an important group of alumnae. Art has always served as a conduit for connection and community-building, and The Arcadia Public Art Project exemplifies this ethos.

Indeed, Black history is not separate from but an integral part of human history, American history, and Arcadia’s history. The project is slated for completion and celebration in the fall semester, marking a significant milestone in preserving and honoring this vital aspect of our school’s history.