MoAD (San Francisco) hosts artists in studios


Leslie Katz (San Francisco Examiner) explores the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) in San Francisco, California, and its many cultural programs. The programs detailed below include one on August 5, with Leonardo Benzant, a Dominican-American/Haitian sculptor from Brooklyn who focuses on Western, Eastern, African and Caribbean religion, art, history and rituals. Katz writes:

Though the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco is closed, it’s offering up-close visits during its interactive online “In the Artist’s Studio” summer program at 1 p.m. on Wednesdays.

Participants are not just showing their works-in-progress and where they make them, but also addressing how COVID-19 has changed what they do.

“Many of the artists we speak with had exhibitions already installed or in the works as the pandemic emerged. These virtual studio visits provide artists with a much-needed opportunity to keep dialogues open about their practices, and our audiences have really been enjoying these engaging and thought-provoking lunch breaks,” said Demetri Broxton, MoAD’s senior director of education.

The series, co-presented by various galleries, kicked off in April and recently featured popular fiber artist Bisa Butler and Seattle-based mixed-media artist and arts administrator Barbara Earl Thomas, also the former executive director of the Northwest African American Museum.

Upcoming presentations feature photographer Erica Deeman, whose portraits address themes of themes of identity, gender and race, on July 29.

Programs that follow include Leonardo Benzant, a Dominican-American/Haitian sculptor from Brooklyn who focuses on Western, Eastern, African and Caribbean religion, art, history and rituals on Aug. 5; Rodney Ewing, an illustrator and mixed media artist who examines the need to “intersect body and place, memory and re-examine human histories” on Aug. 12; Adebunmi Gbadebo, a sculptor whose works have human hair sourced from people of the African diaspora on Aug. 19; and photographer, archivist and curator Lewis Watts, professor emeritus of art at University of California, Santa Cruz, who addresses the cultural landscape in communities occupied by people of African descent on Sept. 2.

Advance registration is requested at, where patrons are asked to pay what they can to attend and receive a Zoom link.

In addition to the artist series, MoAD is hosting other plentiful virtual presentations.

Among upcoming offerings are a free Zoom open mic nights on July 30, Aug. 13, Aug. 27 and Sept. 10; “Choppin’ It Up with MoAD,” an Instagram live series with MoAD chef-in-residence Bryant Terry on July 31; “Sips with Soul,” a live virtual fundraiser for Black winemakers, winery owners and sommeliers on Aug. 7; the African Diaspora Film Club screening “Whose Streets?” which looks at the Ferguson uprising following the death of Black teen Michael Brown at the hands of police, on Aug. 9, and Oakland author Melissa Valentine discussing her memoir “The Names of All the Flowers,” a “lyrical” portrait of a family affected school-to-prison pipeline and a “love letter to her older brother” on Aug. 14.

For details about these and other programs, visit


Leonardo Benzant:

Museum of African Diaspora (MoAD)
685 Mission Street (at Third)
San Francisco, CA 94105

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