4/22 Encounters: City Beautiful

Thursday April 22


Hosted by the Wadsworth Atheneum

Participate in an Encounters discussion about the way in which urbanism, public sculpture, and the City Beautiful movement perpetuated and solidified racist exclusions at the beginning of the modern age. The World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago aimed to establish an experience of wonder and innovation in an endless array of exhibits showcasing artistic achievements, technological improvements, and increased knowledge of the world. Over 27 million visitors from across the globe visited the fair to partake in the spectacle that covered Chicago’s Midway, However, the vision of progress endorsed by the World’s Fair was undercut by its omissions.  About thirty years after the end of the Civil War, the fair tended to essentialize non-white participants and excluded African Americans from participating in the displays beyond caricature in racist stereotypes. This Encounters discussion will explore the critiques decrying the absence of black culture at the world’s fair.


Encounters is a series of free virtual discussions fueled by short readings and timely subjects. Co-sponsored with the Hartford History Center at the Hartford Public Library, The Amistad Center for Art & Culture, The Old State House, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, and the Democracy and Dialogues Initiative at the University of Connecticut.