‘Imagine Blackness’ begins Jan. 19 at Creative Pinellas

‘Imagine Blackness: Alternate Realities and Collective Dreaming’ is a collaborative exploration of Blackness and Black representation through AI-generated images created by artist McArthur Freeman II and sociologist Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman. The work pictured above is entitled ‘Where Mine Begins.’

LARGO – Creative Pinellas is pleased to announce another new exhibition at their gallery in Pinewood Park. “Imagine Blackness: Alternate Realities and Collective Dreaming” is a collaborative exploration of Blackness and Black representation through AI-generated images created by artist McArthur Freeman II and sociologist Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman.

The exhibition begins on Jan. 19, and an opening reception with an artist talk will be held on Saturday, Jan. 28, from 2-4 p.m. The exhibition will run through Feb. 26, with additional events planned.

“We are very excited to host the ‘Imagine Blackness’ exhibit at the gallery at Creative Pinellas,” said Barbara St. Clair, Creative Pinellas CEO. “We think it’s very important to offer our residents and tourists stimulating and inspiring artwork that gives visitors to the gallery a space to explore, connect and have conversations, see things they’ve never seen before, and of course, experience the work of amazing artists from the Tampa Bay region.”

Inspired by Black speculative fiction and Afro-Futurism, the project offers viewers interactive opportunities to question, inspire, and escape by engaging the viewers’ own imaginations in the co-construction of the future and alternate worlds.

‘Full Bloom’

“‘Imagine Blackness’ provides us with an incredible platform to share and explore our collective interests in art, technology, and social justice,” said McArthur Freeman II and Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman. “Through this space, we can empower, engage, and inspire viewers to (re)-imagine the future.”

The ‘Imagine Blackness’ reception and exhibition are free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Sunday, from 12-5 p.m. at the Gallery at Creative Pinellas, 12211 Walsingham Road, Largo, adjacent to the Florida Botanical Gardens. Artwork will be available for sale at the gallery and will also be available to view and purchase online in a virtual gallery at creativepinellas.org/IMAGINEBLACKNESS.

“Combining exceptional artistic talent with technology and sociology, McArthur Freeman II and Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman have created a panoply of Afrofuturistic images that propel us past the challenges, injuries and pain entangling us today, enabling us to craft and experience new realities that are more expansive, beautiful, and just,” said Beth Gelman, Creative Pinellas senior director of Arts and Cultural Programming. “This is the power of art. Art can open minds to new ideas and ways of thinking which have the potential to truly transform our community and world for the better.”


Opening reception: Saturday, Jan. 28, from 2-4 p.m.

Exhibition dates: Jan. 19 – Feb. 26

Gallery times: Wednesday – Sunday, 12-5 p.m.

For additional details on the IMAGINE BLACKNESS exhibition, visit creativepinellas.org/IMAGINEBLACKNESS.

About the artists

McArthur Freeman II

McArthur Freeman II is a visual artist and designer whose work explores hybridity and the construction of identity. His works have ranged from surreal narrative paintings and drawings to digitally constructed sculptural objects and animated 3D scenes. His most recent works combine three interrelated emerging technologies: digital sculpting, 3D scanning and 3D printing. Freeman’s work has been published in Nka Journal of Contemporary African Art and has been exhibited nationally in both group and solo shows.

Freeman earned his undergraduate degree in Drawing and Painting from the University of Florida. He received his Master of Fine Arts from Cornell University, with a concentration in Painting. He also holds a Master of Art and Design from North Carolina State University in Animation and New Media. Freeman is currently an Associate Professor of Video, Animation, and Digital Arts at the University of South Florida, where he continues to use digital tools to address traditional processes as he explores hybrid ways of making and thinking about art.

Dr. Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman

Dr. Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman is a Tampa native and a sociologist whose work addresses the intimate ways that systems of oppression (racism, sexism, and colorism) are reproduced through the material and affective experiences of Black women and families in Brazil and the United States. She earned her undergraduate from Cornell University and her master’s and doctorate degrees in Sociology from Duke University.

Dr. Hordge-Freeman’s first book, “The Color of Love: Racial Features, Stigma, and Socialization in Black Brazilian Families,” received multiple book awards and was the topic of her 2016 TEDx talk. Her research has been published in leading academic journals, and she co-edited a volume entitled “Race and the Politics of Knowledge Production: Diaspora and Black Transnational Scholarship in the US and Brazil.”

With research support from a Fulbright grant, Hordge-Freeman recently published a new book, “Second-Class Daughters: Black Brazilian Women and Informal Adoption as Modern Slavery.” Dr. Hordge-Freeman is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Interim Associate Vice Provost for Faculty Recruitment, Retention, and Engagement at the University of South Florida.

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