A Seat at the Table
“If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.” – Shirley Chisholm
“A Seat at the Table” exhibit is inspired by Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm’s words and work toward creating a more inclusive democracy. The first phase of the exhibit opened in October 2018 and is made possible with the generous support of the Fund II Foundation.
In 1968, Shirley Chisholm became the first black woman elected to Congress. Four years later, she became the first black woman candidate to run for the presidential nomination of a major party and the first woman to seek the Democratic Party’s nomination. The exhibit shares how Congresswoman Chisholm stepped up, claimed her seat at the table of public discourse, and made a difference by representing a wide range of people and issues.
This exhibit features chairs created by community groups and individuals during Institute-hosted workshops at schools, community organizations, libraries, and social justice offices. The chair-makers creatively show their thoughts on identity, values, and the social issues that need to be addressed at inclusive tables of power. The exhibit features audio recordings of the chair-makers’ visions about their art, and a feedback area where visitors can contribute their own thoughts about representation and access to spaces of power.
The newest phase of “A Seat at the Table” opened on June 12, 2019. The exhibit has evolved to include twenty artist-created chairs representing the stories of both historic and contemporary trailblazers who found their own seats at the table.
News & coverage
- Read the news article about the project from Metro: Kennedy Institute’s Seat at the Table project highlights importance of inclusion.
- Read the coverage of the Institute’s national call to artists in The Taos News: National diversity exhibit issues call for artists.
- Read the Bay State Banner coverage of how Institute partner the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts took part in the exhibit: Dorchester Girl Scouts contribute to Kennedy Institute exhibition.
- Read the June 2019 press release about the opening of the newest phase of the exhibit.
- See the May 2019 press release about the historic and contemporary trailblazers featured in the exhibit, the October 2018 press release describing the exhibit’s opening, and learn more about the related Seat at the Table Project.