2022 MLK Day: Speaking Love

2022 MLK Day: Speaking Love
Museum Hours

“People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other” - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  

Join us on Sunday, January 16 to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a day of reflection through art. Jazz pianist Christopher Pitts, spoken word poet Januarie York, storyteller Natalie Pipkin, and Kenyettá Dance Company will all be performing throughout the day at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. After taking in a thought-provoking performance, move beyond your comfort zone and explore new perspectives with more activities. Color Your Feelings on a button, put your own mark on the Sphere of Influence Banner, explore the galleries with self-guided tours, or purchase a couple of books from Black Worldschoolers Mobile Bookstore

Newfields is free on Sunday, January 16, advance tickets are required. If you are able, we encourage you to bring an unopened box of pasta to benefit Second Helpings.  

Sunday, January 16, 2022
Free for everyone
Advance tickets required


11 a.m. – 12 p.m., 1-2 p.m., & 3-4 p.m. | Piano Performance by Christopher Pitts | Pulliam Family Great Hall, Level 2  

12:30 & 2:30 p.m. | Storytime with Natalie Pipkin | European Galleries, Level 2 

12:30 & 2:30 p.m. | Performance by Kenyettá Dance Company | Pulliam Family Great Hall, Level 2 

11:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. | Ask Me! Docents | IMA Galleries, Levels 2 & 3


All day activities

Second Helpings Pasta Drive | Efroymson Family Entrance Pavilion, Level 1 

Black Worldschoolers Mobile Bookstore | Efroymson Family Entrance Pavilion, Level 1 

Art Making: Sphere of Influence | Studios 3 & 4, Level 1 

Hot Chocolate Bar | Café, Level 1 free with a voucher & while supplies lasts 

​Self-Guided Mobile Tours | IMA Galleries, Levels 2 & 3 

Art for Thought

Community members LaShawnda Crowe Storm and Sampson Levingston have chosen artworks in the IMA Galleries to highlight on this day inspired by the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and invite you to reflect on the importance of art, connection, perspective, and community. Find out more about the 5 artworks they chose.

Find all 5 artworks in the IMA Galleries at Newfields.


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1. Double Concave Circle,(Deep Violet Red), 1970

De Wain Valentine (American, b. 1936)

De Wain Valentine (American, b. 1936), Double Concave Circle (Deep Violet-Red), 1970, polyester resin, sculpture: 91-1/8 x 93-1/2 x 10-3/8 in. (thickness at top 5-3/8 in.). On loan from Randall and Sheila Ott © De Wain Valentine

Check out this video  of LaShawnda Crowe Storm.

This is the first piece of artwork that I encountered when I began planning the pieces for this discussion. Before even reading anything, I immediately thought this is a giant drop of blood. As an artist whose practice for nearly two decades has been intimately exploring lynching in America, the reality is that America’s soil is blood soaked. Recent events that took place in our nation’s capital, summer uprisings against police shootings, the on-going disparate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and so much more . . . the question remains, “if these weeping wounds can be healed, do you want to heal them? And if so, how?”

Dig a little deeper:


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2. three-piece Christian panel painting, 18th-19th century

Amhara People (Ethiopia)

Amhara people (Ethiopian), three-piece Christian panel painting, 18th–19th centuries, wood, cloth, plaster, pigment, left) 11-3/4 × 3-13/16 in., middle) 11-3/4 × 7-5/8 in., right) 11-5/8 × 3-7/8 in. Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, Mr. and Mrs. William R. Spurlock Fund, 1997.59.1–.3.

Check out this video of LaShawnda Crowe Storm.

It is without question that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a man of faith. Violently forced upon the enslaved African population, Christianity’s history in America is fraught with contradictions. Yet, many could see the liberation aspects of Christianity lived out within the compassion of Jesus while slave owners used the same Bible to justify slavery. As a faith, Christianity’s oldest forms were not born in America but birthed on the African continent.  As Christianity continued to manifest in America, it has become deeply impacted by racism and white supremacy. As such, how do we understand our faith traditions, if we have not started to be honest about the root of where those traditions were born and then continued to evolve? Or how we have mis-stepped and what we can do about it now? The book White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity by Robert P. Jones explores the intersection of racism and Christianity in America.

Dig a little deeper: 

Urhobo People - Janiform male figure.JPG

3. Janiform Male figure (eshe), 20th century 

Urhobo People, Nigeria

Urhobo, Janiform male figure (eshe), 20th century, wood, incrustation, iron, 64-7/8 × 13-1/2 × 11-1/2 in. Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Harrison Eiteljorg, 1989.817.

Check out this video of LaShawnda Crowe Storm.

As we think about the ancestors of those that arrived on these shores either by choice or force, and those who were already here but decimated by the arrival of European and enslaved Africans, how do we heal these histories and our ancestors that lived through the violent “making of America”? Those questions are not the same for everyone. Questions to explore based on your background may include:

  • What does racial healing look like?
  • Is racial reconciliation possible? What is it and who is it for?
  • How do you heal the violence inflicted by your ancestors?
  • How does healing these histories, heal the land and its people?


Dig a little deeper: 

  • The Lyncher In Me: A Search for Redemption in the Face of History by Warren Read
  • The Little Book of Dialogue for Difficult Subject by Lisa Schirch and David Campt​​​​​​​​​​​​​
  • The Little Book of Race and Restorative Justice: Black Lives, Healing, and US Social Transformation by Fania E. Davis​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
  • The Little Book of Racial Healing by Thomas Norman DeWolf​​​​​​​

  • The Little Book of Transformative Community Conferencing by David Anderson Hooker

  • The Little Book of Trauma Healing: Revised & Updated: When Violence Strikes and Community Security Is Threatened  by Carolyn Yoder

  • Workshop: Interrupting Racism for Children

Artist Unknown, Central India, Pala Period -Dancing Ganesha.JPG

4. Dancing Ganesha, 1000s

Artist Unknown, Central Indian, Pala Period (730-1119)

Pala period (Indian), Dancing Ganesha, 1000s, sandstone, 27 × 18 in. Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, Gift of Alan Hartman, 74.601.

Check out this video of LaShawnda Crowe Storm.

King’s dreams are possible, but not without a lot of hard work. They must move beyond mere “intention.” However, some would argue that the premise of the United States is working EXACTLY as it was meant to work and the violence witnessed in the nation’s capital reflects what happens when the system of white supremacy and structural racism is challenged. – Within the Hindu pantheon Ganesha is the remover of obstacles and bringer of prosperity. In this piece he is dancing linking him to his father Shiva, who destroys and recreates the world through his dance. If we could wipe the slate clean and start again, knowing what we know now, what type of America would we build from scratch? Can we build a society where all prosper? These ideas are currently be explored through Spirit & Place’s Corona Dialogue series, where they will bring community together to begin designing the next world that comes after – the pandemic, the uprisings, the elections and so much more. www.spiritandplace.org.



Dig a little deeper: 

Dolly and Rach - John Wesley Hardrick.jpg

5. Dolly & Rach, about 1930

John Wesley Hardrick (American, 1891-1968)

John Wesley Hardrick (American, 1891–1968), Dolly & Rach, about 1930, oil on board, 43 × 38-1/8 × 2 in. (framed). Lent by Constance Stubbs © John Wesley Hardrick.

Check out this video Sampson Levingston.

I’ve always believed that if we stop to look at the beauty of life, we can notice the simplicity. The first Hardrick painting I saw, about a year ago, showed his Indiana surroundings, like many, he saw beauty in the simple nature of Indiana. This painting shows the beauty Hardrick sees in human nature, conversation. Even children know the value of communication and compassion.

Our human nature and advancements in technology allow us to connect with each other in a multitude of ways. As we grow older, do we as a society get better, or worse, with how we communicate with one another? Why?

For more resources and stories about our unique and often untold Indiana Black History, visit www.through2eyes.com/black-home-again

LaShawnda Crowe Storm - Headshot.jpg

Meet LaShawnda Crowe Storm

LaShawnda Crowe Storm is a mixed media artist community-based artist, activist, community builder and occasionally an urban farmer. Whether making artwork or sowing seeds, she uses her creative power as a vehicle for dialogue around topics such as racial and gender violence, social change, and justice. At the core of my practice is a desire to create community; any community in which the process of making art creates a space for difficult discussions with an eye towards community healing. She has received numerous awards for art and community activism including but not limited to an ArtPlace America National Creative Placemaking Award and DeHaan Artist of Distinction Award. Crowe Storm received an M.F.A. from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. 

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Meet Sampson Levingston

Sampson Levingston, the storyteller, Indiana history-lover, and tour guide, was born and raised here in Indianapolis. He attended Cathedral High School and was a member of 3 state championship football teams from 2010 to 2012. Levingston accepted a full scholarship to play football at Indiana State University and was a 4 yearr starter at wide receiver for the Sycamores. He is the founder of Through2Eyes, a platform that believes in discovering who you are, through discovering where you are. Over the summer Sampson launched his “Walk & Talk” tours down Indiana Avenue and on the eastside in Irvington. Since June of 2020, Sampson has led over 60 walking history tours. Visit www.through2eyes.com to see more.