The Nasher Sculpture Center has named Dallas artist, curator, and activist Vicki Meek as the inaugural Nasher Fellow in Urban Historical Reclamation and Recognition.
Made possible through funding from the Sapphire Foundation, the Embrey Family Foundation, Humanities Texas, and individual donors, the fellowship is an extension of the museum’s public art initiative, Nasher Public. In 2021, Ms. Meek was selected to exhibit her installation Stony the Road We Trod, a contemporary shrine dedicated to the Black community, as part of the Nasher Public program, which made use of the museum’s storefront space during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a press release announcing Ms. Meek’s fellowship and public art project, Nasher Director Jeremy Strick said, “Nasher Public has demonstrated the unique ability artists have to speak pointedly to those who share their same place and community. The Fellowship in Urban Reclamation and Restoration takes this notion and builds on the possibility for a collective of creative visionaries to make meaningful revisions to which histories are kept, voices are heard, and places are honored. The Nasher is proud for the opportunity to shepherd a project of such immense innovation and importance.”
Conceived and led by Ms. Meek, Nasher Public: Urban Historical Reclamation and Recognition will bring together a collective of artists, scholars, community members, and partners. The official collective includes Ángel Faz, Jonathan Nortan, Christian Vazquez, and Marvin Dulaney. Currently the official partner organizations include the Tenth Street Historic District Association and Remembering Black Dallas, a nonprofit organization focused on preserving and promoting African American life. Together, the group of artists will research, document, and interpret the history of the Tenth Street Historic District Freedman’s Town in Oak Cliff, a neighborhood in southwest Dallas. The Tenth Street District was adopted in 1993 and is one of the only remaining intact Freedman’s Towns in the nation.
Though no timeline has been provided for the start or culmination of this inaugural project, throughout the process the collective will communicate their work during artist-facilitated gatherings, as well as through photo, video, and archival documentation. The research will culminate in a public art project, which could include a performance, installation, or exhibition, to be developed with partners and community members.
Ms. Meek stated, “I have always had a passion for exploring African American history as an inspiration for my work, both in my studio and public art practice. Nasher Public: Urban Historical Reclamation and Recognition will allow me to indulge my love of art making and study of African American History and Culture, while establishing a structure for potential future iterations.”
Following this pilot program, Ms. Meek will advise on the selection for subsequent Fellows and serve as project consultant for future iterations of the program.