This is a Black Neighborhood.

Project Background

“This is a Black Neighborhood” is the result of Dr. Allie Martin’s time as the Aminah Robinson Fellowship and Residency Program writer-in-residence. During her three-month residency, she lived and worked in the late Aminah Robinson’s home studio, a celebrated Columbus artist known for her profound depictions of Black life. This residency program, organized by the Columbus Museum of Art (CMA), aims to support African American writers, researchers, and scholars from across the nation, celebrating Aminah Robinson’s legacy.

Transforming Spaces, Amplifying Identity Through Sound

Dr. Allie Martin’s transformative project, “This is a Black Neighborhood,” seamlessly combines elements of immersive art and sound to recreate the vibrant essence of Black neighborhoods. Within the gallery space, visitors are invited to engage with motion sensors that activate carefully curated soundscapes capturing the diverse range of sounds from various communities, including Columbus, Ohio, Washington, DC, and Prince George’s County, Maryland. These soundscapes encompass the heart of Black life, from the joyous celebrations of arts festivals and Juneteenth to the everyday sounds of laughter, music, and gatherings, challenging preconceptions about Black neighborhoods. Dr. Martin, also a professor of ethnomusicology, delves into the complex issue of gentrification, exploring what gentrification truly sounds like and highlighting the potential dangers of noise complaints that involve law enforcement. Her compositions, including “Aminah’s Wave Song,” embrace unconventional music standards and offer a fresh perspective on Black life through sound, reflecting a commitment to creating safe spaces for Black voices. This project ultimately redefines our understanding of Black communities, showcasing the powerful role of art and sound in cultural exploration and identity.