In July of 1974, Dana C. Chandler, Jr., already an acclaimed artist, became the first artist in the space he would open as the African American Master Artist-in-Residency in November 1978. On July 1, 2018, four months shy of its 40th anniversary, as the country to prepared to celebrate Independence Day, Northeastern University attempted to free itself of AAMARP. Citing safety violations, the university originally gave the AAMARP artists 14 days to vacate but locked them out just 48 hours later.
But several of the program's 13 current artists watched stunned as locksmiths blocked their access to their studios. A few who witnessed the lockout have labored for decades creating museum-level fine art in their AAMARP studios. There also was a show for an emerging black artist hanging in AAMARP's gallery.
Yet, it appears the Boston-based university has been working for feverishly to eviscerate the watershed program from its institutional memory. Screenshots of search results for the term “AAMARP” on the school's site bring up no results. As it claws its way up the college rankings, NU seems to have no further use for the venerable program, a community treasure that brought it significant acclaim and financial support in its heyday.
What's the history behind the university's disrespectful and grievous actions? Why weren't white artists in an adjacent space given a notice to quit if there are safety issues in the space? Why aren't most local press covering the story of the loss this first of its kind visual and performing arts complex?
Tune in as Dana Chandler answers those questions.
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