Calls to Action: Museums, Art, and Achieving Equity

YouTube Video Premiere


Alt text: A large blue banner across the Jewish Museum’s facade reading “All the Stars in the Sky Have the Same Face” in English, Hebrew, and Arabic. Trees block parts of the banner.

Thursday, January 28, 2021
6:30 – 8 pm
Virtual Program

For Lawrence Weiner, language is a universal material that allows for a vast, and diverse audience to connect to his artwork. ALL THE STARS IN THE SKY HAVE THE SAME FACE might be considered a call to action, a piece that challenges us to create an equitable world. How can the Jewish Museum meet this call?

In this YouTube Video Premiere, hear from a panel of community activists, cultural theorists, and artists, discussing the impact of public artworks and the role of museums in achieving equity. Moderated by Kendal Henry, Director of the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs' Percent for Art Program, and featuring Dr. Mijal Bitton, Uzodinma Iweala, Baseera Khan, and Yehudah Webster. 

Kendal Henry (moderator) is an artist and curator specializing in the field of public art for the past twenty years. Henry currently teaches at the School of Visual Arts Summer Residency program in Public Art and is a guest lecturer at the Abbey Mural Workshop at the National Academy Museum & School of Fine Arts; Rhode Island School of Design Senior Studio; and Pratt Institute’s Arts and Cultural Management Program. Henry was the Curator at the Museum of Contemporary African Diaspora Art (MoCADA) in Brooklyn, NY and served six years on the Americans for the Arts Public Art Network Council and Chaired the Communications Committee. He served as a Manager of Arts Programs at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Arts for Transit for eleven years.

Dr. Mijal Bitton is a Scholar in Residence at the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, and the Rosh Kehilla (communal leader) and co-founder of the Downtown Minyan in New York City. Mijal received a BA from Yeshiva University and earned her doctorate from New York University, where she conducted an ethnographic study of a Syrian Jewish community with a focus on developing the field of contemporary Sephardic studies in America. She is an alumna of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship. In 2018 Mijal was selected for inclusion in ’36 under 36′ in New York Jewish Week.

Uzodinma Iweala is an award-winning writer, filmmaker, and medical doctor. As the CEO of The Africa Center, he is dedicated to promoting a new narrative about Africa and is Diaspora. Uzodinma was the CEO, Editor-In-Chief, and co-Founder of Ventures Africa magazine, a publication that covers the evolving business, policy, culture, and innovation spaces in Africa. His books include Beasts of No Nation, a novel released in 2005 to critical acclaim and adapted into a major motion picture; Our Kind of People, a non-fiction account of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria released in 2012; and Speak No Evil, a novel about a queer first-generation Nigerian-American teen living in Washington, D.C.

Baseera Khan is a New York-based visual artist who sublimates colonial histories through performance and sculpture in order to map geographies of the future. The use of fashion, photography, textiles and music, sculpture and performance manifest my native-born femme Muslim American experience, a legacy for my aesthetic concealment. Khan opened their first solo exhibition at Simone Subal, New York and a two-person show at Jenkins Johnson Projects (2019). Khan was an artist in residence at Pioneer Works (2018-19) and Abrons Art Center (2016-17), was an International Travel Fellow to Jerusalem/Ramallah through Apexart (2015), and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (2014). Khan was a recipient of the BRIC Colene Brown Art Prize and the Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors Grant in 2019, was granted by both NYSCA/NYFA and Art Matters in 2018

Yehudah Webster is passionate about ensuring the Jewish community’s commitment to the fight for racial justice and collective liberation. With an analysis of unconditional/revolutionary care, Webster has worked as an anti-oppression trainer and organizational consultant, developing unique programs to bring together communities that are often pitted against each other. He has presented in a wide variety of settings, including youth group conventions, college campuses, and staff development retreats for Jewish organizations. As a community organizer for Jews for Racial & Economic Justice (JFREJ), Yehudah supports JFREJ’s police accountability and transformative justice campaigns through grassroots efforts that include lobbying for legislative reform. Webster has worked on establishing a national support network for JOCs through his JFREJ leadership, working to provide the much-needed institutional support marginalized Jewish communities of color need and most recently co-founding Ammud: The Jews of Color Torah Academy. He is a graduate of JFREJ’s Grace Paley Organizing Fellowship and Bend the Arc’s Selah Leadership Program.


Artwork © Lawrence Weiner