Metro Weekly

Gallery: Speak Your Truth | Black Lives Matter

The Athenaeum presents an online-only exhibition featuring area artists

gallery, art, erasto curtis matthews
We’ve Always Mattered — Erasto Curtis Matthews

In her painting Don’t Shoot, Holly Cole depicts “the double jeopardy of a black man wearing a pandemic face [mask],” tying together this year’s two biggest issues — the COVID-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement.

Cole’s work is just one of several dozen pieces featured at the Athenaeum, the gallery in Old Town Alexandria that over the summer became one of the first to reopen with in-person displays during the pandemic.

Speak Your Truth | Black Lives Matter, however, is an online-only exhibition featuring area artists who were selected among those who responded to an open call for submissions tackling issues of race and racial justice.

KaNikki Jakarta, the Poet Laureate of Alexandria, selected the works of poetry and spoken word, displayed as written word texts or YouTube video clips.

Two among the many standouts in this category include Elise Marie Cleva’s Captions, sharing an illuminating anecdote about the Reverend Al Sharpton from when he was only 15 years old and a student in her father’s social studies class, and Kim B Miller’s “Black Crayon,” an evocative and metaphorical tale that begins, “I wonder if the black crayon knows it was never meant to color; I wonder if the black crayon knows how it is pronounced in Spanish and treated in English.”

Artist Victor Ekpuk joined Athenaeum Gallery Director Twig Murray to evaluate the visual art entrees by Shawnta Williams, David Mann, Brittany Greene, QuiChen Fan, Miranda J. Spurley, and Balaji Srinivasan, Ed Tepper, Gene Provenzo, and Victoria Walton.


On Lincoln Steps — Jane Podesta
Onyx King — Miranda J. Spurley
Lafayette Square — David Mann


Deadweight — Victoria Walton
Say Their Names — Cathy Abramson

Now through Dec. 1. Visit

Support Metro Weekly’s Journalism

These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!