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The Bottom: Stories from the Neighborhood

JUNE 1 – AUGUST 3, 2024

Organized by Phillip Collins of Good Black Art

This exhibition is in collaboration with The Bottom, Good Black Art, and Dr. Enkeshi El-Amin.

In Southern Black communities, our stories aren’t simply passed down from one generation to the next—they serve as maps with markers for our future. This truth is evident in The Bottom, a neighborhood in East Knoxville, Tennessee. Despite its demolition in the 1950s due to urban renewal and systemic racism, its legacy lives on.

Curated by Good Black Art and grounded in the research of Dr. Enkeshi El-Amin, a local sociologist specializing in race, place, and Black communities, The Bottom: Stories from the Neighborhood is an exhibition that delves into life in the neighborhood beyond its destruction. While it highlights the narrative of Knoxville, it resonates with Black, Brown, Indigenous, and underprivileged communities across different times and places. The exhibition presents both familiar and imaginative interpretations by two Southern artists through a dialogue of folklore and futurism, drawing from oral histories of former residents and archival sources from The Bottom.

The Bottom has long been a home to Knoxville’s Black creatives. To complement the contemporary works on exhibition by Ahmad George and Erin LeAnn Mitchell, Good Black Art has curated a selection of work by by Beauford and Joseph Delaney and Ruth Cobb Brice from the permanent collections of the Ewing Gallery of Art + Architecture and borrowed works from the Beauford Delaney Estate and the Beck Cultural Exchange Center to honor those visual artists who came before.

First Friday Receptions

June 7, 2024
July 5, 2024

August 2, 2024
5-9PM | UT Downtown Gallery

We hope to see you at one or all of our First Friday events! First Friday events are free and open to the public.

Ahmad George | Hadacol, 2024

Black Creatives Meet-up Brunch

Saturday, June 1, 2024
10am-12PM | UT Downtown Gallery

Join us in collaboration with The Bottom for an afternoon brunch and conversation with Good Black Art artists Ahmad George, Erin LeAnn Mitchell, and founder Phillip Collins. The discussion will be moderated by Ty Murray, Director of Art and Communication at The Bottom.

Stitching Stories: A Community Storytelling Workshop

Saturday, July 6, 2024
3-5pm | UT Downtown Gallery

Explore the rich tradition of quilting as a cornerstone of storytelling within the Southern Black experience. Each attendee will create an individual quilt block using a variety of textile materials and decoration techniques, including appliqué, stamping, and embroidery. These blocks will be sewn together to create a vibrant community quilt, proudly displayed in the permanent art collection at The Bottom.

Erin LeAnn Mitchell | Map of the Bottom, 2024

The Bottom logo

Community Cookout Celebration

Saturday, July 20, 2024
2-5pm | The Bottom

Join us for a free community barbecue gathering with music provided by DJ Ty Dye, and the unveiling and hanging of the community quilt.