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A King of Prussia Mall Art Installation Celebrates Black History Month

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Photos courtesy of Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board

King of Prussia Mall adds to the region’s art scene with a new and engaging art installation featuring local BIPOC artists.

Add some color and creativity to your next shopping trip by checking out the one-of-a-kind art display in King of Prussia, which highlights fifteen local artists from Montgomery County.

Part of the art installment in the King of Prussia mall

Through March 31, King of Prussia Mall will be hosting a new art installation which highlights diverse artists and creators. To celebrate Black History Month, the large-scale display includes artwork from 15 different artists in the region and is free to the public.

The art installment is a collaboration between Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board (VFTCB), through its Arts Montco initiatives and King of Prussia Mall. The installation is part of Arts Montco’s ongoing mission to bring awareness to spaces of art and culture in Montgomery County, with a focus on amplifying the work and voices of artists of color during Black History Month.

Previously, a similar exhibit was on display between October and December, but with a smaller selection of artists. The number of artists has more than doubled from the current display.

Rachel Riley, the Associate Vice President of Communications for VFTCB, says that visitors will be able to enjoy a large floor-to-ceiling graphic display that incorporates a variety of art mediums from 15 different artists.

A woman viewing the King of Prussia art installment

The display, which is open and free to the public, can be found in The Connector corridor across from Macy’s at the King of Prussia Mall. In addition to the artwork on display, QR codes will be displayed to link viewers to artsmontco.com, where they can learn more about other art and culture projects in the county.

“The importance of this second installation is for shoppers at KOP Mall to see diversity of art, people, and places; to learn about black artists, studios and galleries…and to honor and celebrate Black History Month by highlighting works from artists of color,” Riley explains.

Exploring artists of the community isn’t the only goal of the installation, however. Like many industries, art and culture, which is considered part of the tourism and hospitality industry, took a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through projects like the King of Prussia Mall installation, Arts Montco aims to return support and awareness to the positive economic impact these sectors have on the community.

Brian Hearns, one of the artists featured in the installation, describes the experience of being involved in the project as both exciting and humbling. He hopes the installation can be a new experience for many.

“I would like the visitors to connect to pieces and never forget the experience. If those things can be accomplished, the opportunity was well worth it in so many capacities,” Hearns says.

A blue and green piece of abstract artwork

“Bonded to Compromise” – Brian Hearns

Hearns’ piece, “Bonded to Compromise,” represents the complex emotional response elicited by the 2020 killing of George Floyd in Minnesota. For Hearns, part of what makes art beautiful is the ability to make something both personal and relative. His piece, in conjunction with the other featured pieces, is intended to inspire visitors to want to learn more about the history and culture behind the artwork.

The installation is the first of its kind in Montgomery Country, but Riley notes it will not be the last.

“Future plans include: two more installations showcasing artists in the LGBTQ community around Pride Month in June and Hispanic/Latinx/Native American/Indigenous Peoples artists in the fall,” she says.

More information about this and other Art Montco events can be found at VFTCB’s Arts & Culture website.

The exhibition is free to the public and will be on display across from Macy’s at the King of Prussia Mall from Feb. 1–March 31.

Artists featured in this new display include James Atkins (Moody Jones Gallery, Glenside), Ruth Bridges (Moody Jones Gallery, Glenside), Shelby Brisbane (Montgomery County Community College, Blue Bell), Kayla Cayemitte (Ursinus College), Abigail Coachi (Ursinus College, Collegeville), Andromeda J. Cook (Moody Jones Gallery, Glenside), Brian Hearns (Montgomery County Studio Tour), Lassalle Jackson (Moody Jones Gallery, Glenside), Taylor Morris (Moody Jones Gallery, Glenside), Jailene Rodriguez (Ursinus College, Collegeville), Mydera Taliah (Haya Ground Studio Art Gallery, Norristown), Eric Nigel Taulton (Haya Ground Studio Art Gallery, Norristown), Dane Tilghman (Moody Jones Gallery, Glenside) and Mekha Varghese.

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