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New Conner Prairie exhibition “Promised Land as Proving Ground” explores how African culture shaped America

The upcoming multi-media exhibition and artist residency program delivers an immersive historical + cultural experience.

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shot from behind of a woman looking at an exhibition about African American history

An inside peek of one of the Resistance Cabins showcased in the exhibition.

Photo provided by Conner Prairie

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Landonia Brown, a beloved teacher and anti-lynching advocate, became one of the state’s first Black school principals. Benjamin Talbot, a blacksmith who fled from Indiana to Canada after the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act threatened his freedom.

These are just a few of the stories told in “Promised Land as Proving Ground,” Conner Prairie’s forthcoming exhibition, planned to open in March 2024. Presented alongside their brand-new Artist in Residency program, this exhibition will bring to life and explore how African culture has shaped America, with a special focus on the stories that unfolded right here in Indiana.

What does “Promised Land as Proving Ground” mean?

As a free state, Indiana represented a “promised land” for some African American families, filled with opportunity, independence, and freedom from racial violence. It also served as a “proving ground” for this freedom, a place to develop African American faith and challenge American democracy.

Attendees can expect an interactive, multimedia experience that furthers Conner Prairie’s mission of inspiring curiosity by encouraging guests to ask questions and think deeply about African American culture and history.

portrait-style photo of a man painting

Solomon describes his work as “color, shape and rhythm merg[ing] with eye-catching composition and storytelling.”

Photo provided by Conner Prairie

A new Artist in Residency program

Complementing “Promised Land as Proving Ground” is the introduction of Conner Prairie’s new Artist in Residence program, inaugurated with artist Israel Solomon.

Through this program, Solomon is creating art based on his interpretation of the exhibition’s major themes. His work will be on display as part of “Promised Land as Proving Ground,” bringing a present-day, modern twist to the exhibition’s themes.

Over the course of a year, Solomon will also spearhead community outreach projects aimed at engaging youth in Marion and Hamilton counties, and continue to create art.

See it for yourself

“Promised Land as Proving Ground” will open March 2024. The whole story is waiting to be told.

Learn more about “Promised Land as Proving Ground.”

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