Located in Ralph and JoAn Talmage Meeting Room
On view November 24–December 8
Marla’s Block Party! is included with the cost of general admission.
Curated by Marla McLeod, Marla’s Block Party! marks the end of her time as the 2023 Aminah Robinson Artist in Residence, where she has spent three months living and working in the late Aminah Robinson’s home studio.
The installation combines McLeod’s aptitude for data analysis and social construction with quilting, sewing, painting, costume design, and collage to reveal a deeply colorful and information rich environment of the familiar.
When McLeod moved into Aminah Robinson’s home studio in Columbus’ Shepard neighborhood, she quickly adapted to her surroundings. Inspired by friendly and talented neighbors, embraced by gracious local creatives, and emboldened by the gifts and mysteries of Robinson’s last dwelling place, McLeod began to collect, sew, apply, paint, and burn remnants of her past dwellings and relationships into an inspired projection of personalities, ideas and imagery found in Robinson’s milieu. This constellation of works is not only a study of a neighborhood block but also a microcosm of the artist’s life.
Marla L. McLeod (she/her) was awarded the 2023 Aminah Robinson Residency. She received her BS in studio art from Southern Connecticut State University in 2014 and her MFA from The School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University in 2020. She currently teaches at Boston College, Maine College of Art & Design and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
In her work, McLeod explores Black identity and social constructs through her portrait paintings, textiles and sculptures. Her past exhibitions include installations at the deCordova Sculpture Park & Museum as a part of the 2022 New England Triennial, and the 2020 Area Code Art Fair held within the New England area. Her solo exhibitions include a 2022 show titled Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood at the Essex Art Center in Lowell, MA, and We the People (Our Love Will See Us Through) installed at Brandeis University in Waltham, MA. She was awarded the Walter Feldman Fellowship from the Arts & Business Council of Greater Boston as well as the Emerging Artist Award from the St. Botolph Club Foundation in 2021. McLeod has presented her work at several institutions and served as a juror for the Massachusetts Scholastic Awards from 2021-23. Read more about McLeod at marlamcleod.com.
In 2017, a committee of community advisors met and voted unanimously to renovate Aminah Robinson’s home studio and establish it as an artist residency. In 2020, the Museum and GCAC formed a partnership to support an annual resident selected from a national pool of African American artists and a fellow selected from a local pool of African American artists to live and/or work in Robinson’s home studio, receive an award of $15,000, and an opportunity to present their art in the Columbus community. In 2022, the Museum instituted the Aminah Robinson Residency for African American writers, scholars, and researchers to honor Robinson’s strong research and writing legacy.
To date, awardees include DonCee Coulter (2020 Artist Fellow), Johnathan Payne (2021 Artist Resident), Wendy Kendrick (2021 Artist Fellow), Richard Duarte Brown (2022 Artist Fellow), Darlene Taylor (2022 Writer Resident), Anthony Peyton Young (2022 Artist Resident), Beverly Whiteside (2023 Artist Fellow), Alison Martin (2023 Writer Resident), Marla McLeod (2023 Artist Resident), and the most recent, Jana Cardwell (2024 Artist Fellow).