“In Our Own Backyard: A Celebration of Joe Minter”

Create Birmingham, in partnership with narrative studio 1504, Navigate Affordable Housing Partners, and sculptor Joe Minter, will produce In Our Own Backyard: A Celebration of Joe Minter. In October, 20-30 of Minter’s pieces will be featured in a groundbreaking exhibition inside of The Marc Steel Building, a historic warehouse in Birmingham’s Titusville community. This site is significant to Mr. Minter’s family history and Birmingham’s industrial history, as well as the lives of other prominent artists in Mr. Minter’s peer group, including artist and musician Lonnie Holley and artist Thornton Dial. The exhibit will be developed collaboratively by 1504 and Mr. Minter, with creative support from curator Matt Arnett and Mr. Holley.

Mr. Minter has lived in the Titusville community for more than fifty years where he has created the sprawling African Village in America on the half-acre property around his home. Part sculpture garden and part memorial, this art environment is filled with sculptures made from scrap metal and found materials. Its theme is recognition of African American history from the first arrivals of captured Africans through slavery to the convict labor system and the Civil Rights Movement to the systemic racism and violence that persists today.

Mr. Minter’s pieces have been in major US exhibitions and are in the collections of the National Gallery of Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Birmingham Museum of Art. While he has been the subject of solo shows elsewhere, In Our Own Backyard will be the first exhibit in Birmingham and the state that focuses solely on his work.

The sculptures will be shown alongside new audio and film components created by 1504 that will contextualize the importance of Mr. Minter’s work. Free public programs will take place throughout the October exhibit.



Create Birmingham will offer FREE guided and self-guided tours of the exhibition for youth and adults on Friday, October 4th, 11th, and 18th. The tours are open to organizations and schools and meet Alabama’s Visual Arts Standards for 4th—12th grade.

Please note that tours must be booked at least two weeks in advance, and we ask for 24 hours’ notice for any cancellations. For questions or assistance with scheduling, please contact Viola Ratcliffe at viola@createbirmingham.org or by phone at (205) 458-1393 ext. 804.

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“In Our Own Backyard: A Celebration of Joe Minter,” is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. “To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit www.arts.gov.” This project is also supported in part by South Arts.