Vonnie Quest, collage, detail

There's Black People in Milwaukee: Rose Theatre

Vonnie Quest //
December 3, 2021 - February 6, 2022

During his residency and exhibition at Artspace, Durham-based artist Vonnie Quest re-imaged the former Rose Theater in Milwaukee, WI. Originally built in 1917, the 425 seat theater (later renamed the Regal theater) was built specifically for African American audiences. As often happened with black businesses created in the early part of the 20th century, the Rose Theater was demolished in 1958, its history erased. Quest’s decision to feature this recreation as the main anchor for his exhibition comes from his interest in exploring the intersections, mechanics, and deconstruction of narratives, place, and politics. Like Quest’s hometown of Milwaukee, Raleigh also has a history of gentrification that has threatened to erase the story of traditionally black spaces and businesses. Quest uses this installation to explore the concept of how narratives about people and places are written after their spaces have disappeared.

This project brings the Afro Projection Lab to Raleigh while at the same time adding the additional component of the theater installation. Re-imagining the Rose Theater in conjunction with the Afro Projection Lab creates an immersive alternate future where the theater was never torn down and Black filmmakers are celebrated.

Sponsored by South Arts.

Re-imagining the Rose Theater in conjunction with the Afro Projection Lab will create an immersive alternate future where the theater was never torn down and Black filmmakers are celebrated.

Related Programming

Stewarding Cinematic Spaces of Care // Presented by The Afro+Projection Lab

The Afro+Projection Lab presents Stewarding Cinematic Spaces of Care. These videos engage with questions that arise at the convergence of archival practices, gestures of care, and the moving image. Stewarding Cinematic Spaces of Care uses Gil Z. Hochberg’s, archival imagination as a thematic link between the five films in the program. Each filmmaker not only engages with the archive(s), but reimagines its function for alternative futures. 

Both events will screen these five selected films and will be followed by a Q + A. Free, but please register so that we may anticipate attendance. Masks are required for the in person event.

// Filmmakers:

  • Jasmine Best – A Wilmington Doll
  • Tatiana Garnett – These Hands Lay Open
  • Cydnii Wilde Harris – Cotton
  • Amir George – Optimum Continuum
  • Vonnie Quest – Remnants of A Room

Virtual Film Screening // Feb 3, 6-8pm

In Person Film Screening // Feb 5, 6-8pm