Dig In | Akron Inspired by AfriCOBRA

Programming the Akron Art Museum with Contemporary Black Culture

by Josy Jones


Art museums are not merely quiet buildings where people go to see gallery exhibitions. They are spaces to inspire, challenge and reshape paradigms. Galleries can be reimagined and utilized in many different ways.

That’s why The Devil Strip and the Akron Art Museum will feature the work of three Akron artists and performers in the Museum’s galleries during “Jeff Donaldson: Dig,” an AAM exhibition which runs from Oct. 27 to Jan. 21.

The collaboration, DIG IN AKRON, will challenge the use of exhibition space, respond to beautiful artwork and titillate visitors’ minds and senses — and showcase the work of contemporary Black artists in Akron.

Jeff Donaldson is one of the co-founders of the African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists (AfriCOBRA), an artists’ initiative born in 1968 in Chicago’s South Side. AfriCOBRA arose amid political and social unrest and into a world that “privileged white artists and audiences.” They sought to respond to the political climate as well as portray “contemporary Black culture” and appeal “specifically to a Black audience.”

This exhibition explores Donaldson’s career, featuring works never previously presented publicly. He went on to become chairman of Howard University and a seminal scholar on African and African-American art.

Through DIG IN AKRON, three Akron artists will use their mediums to create pieces inspired by the ideology of AfriCOBRA and the works of Jeff Donaldson: Drummer and producer Holbrook Riles III, also known as HR3; dancer and choreographer Dominic Moore-Dunson; and makeup and special effects artist Jenniva Cummings.

Each artist will present an original, unique experience to audiences for one night only.

Join us on Nov. 1, Nov. 15 and Dec. 13 at AAM to visit the exhibition. 


Jeff Donaldson/Allison Zuckerman Opening Party

Friday, October 26, 2018, 6-9 pm

Whether you want to dress up or keep it casual, we want to share an unforgettable art experience with you, so come as you are and enjoy provocative art from two groundbreaking artists, along with music, food and special guests.


Dig In: HR3: Beats, Drums, and Music

Thursday, Nov. 1, 6:30 pm

Catch leading local producer and drummer HR3 as he creates an energizing musical production inspired by AfriCOBRA and Jeff Donaldson. Follow his work at @hr3drumz.


Dig In: Dominic Moore-Dunson, Dancer and Choreographer

Thursday, Nov. 15, 6:30 pm

Dominic Moore-Dunson, creator of The Black Card Project, will present new choreography inspired by the exhibition. Follow his work at @dmooredun.


Dig In: Jenniva Cummings, Special Effects and Makeup

Thursday, Dec. 13, 6:30 pm

Experience live body painting and makeup in the gallery by local artist Jenniva Cummings. Follow her work at @beatsbyjey_.