AUSTIN (KXAN) — The George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center has been in existence since 1926, and it is an Austin institution that honors Black History year-round.
The museum’s director, Carre Adams, spoke with KXAN’s Jennifer Sanders about the museum’s history and its impact during Black History Month.
Read an edited transcription of the conversation below or use the video player above to watch.
SANDERS: Let’s first talk about the theme for 2024, which is African Americans and the Arts. How are you tailoring your programming around that theme?
ADAMS: Well, I mean, we are a Black Arts institution, and history is one of our focuses as well, so everything that we do is really imbued with that. But for us, I feel like African Americans in the Arts is really about acknowledging all of the magnificent contributions that folklorists, filmmakers, journalists, and musicians have made to US culture. Black folks have always been global tastemakers, right? And so, for us, we want people to really understand that art is life, and artists are responsible for so many of the things that we use every day. They help us solve problems. They reflect on our history. They are really making a contemporary archive. And so, we’re trying to, I think, share that with folks that come to the museum.
SANDERS: Okay, so speaking about people coming to the museum. Tomorrow, you have Solar Saturdays. Tell me about that. What is that? That’s a kickoff for them, huh?
ADAMS: Yeah, so Solar Saturdays is a quarterly program. This is our second annual Solar Saturdays, but we’re able to bring it back as a quarterly program, thanks to the generous sponsorship of PNC Bank. And so, Solar Saturdays is kind of modeled off of Brooklyn First Saturdays, where it’s a sitewide activation. You know, people can go to our garden and learn about growing your own food, we’ll have movement workshops, we’ll have people giving financial literacy talks or fireside chats, we’re also going to have live music, and we’re spinning records from the museum’s archives and collection, just to kind of keep the energy up throughout the day. And so, we want to really invite people to the museum that haven’t been there before, invite people back who have been there, and it’s really a multi-generational, multi-ethnic, multicultural event, but we’re centering African American history, culture and art.
SANDERS: Okay. And then lastly, and you kind of touched on this, but how are you using programming to really rebuild the community especially, and we know what East Austin once was, and you all are still there?
ADAMS: You know, I think for us, we want to be a landing planet. We want to be a place that people consider home. Right? And so, for us, it’s about placemaking. It’s about welcoming people into the community. It’s about educating them about the ground that they stand on, right? You know, black Austin has made significant contributions to this city, from our educational institutions to our infrastructure. They’ve touched every aspect of what Austin is now and so for us, it’s about making sure people understand the past so that they can be proper stewards of the future.