Thank you to the more than 800 people who have already come out to see the BOBV3 exhibition! Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond our control, the exhibition is not currently open and will be changing venues in the next couple of weeks. We will be sending information about the second opening of the exhibition as soon as possible!

“People of color in the United States have been systematically marginalized by both those in power and the institutions they represent. Media has portrayed us as violent and uneducated, while history books describe us as savages with no moral standing. Since people of color don’t control media or write history books, the problem of inaccurate depictions persists.”
-Guest Curator Mike Williams

For three years now, the Black on Black series has challenged those portrayals by exploring some of the structural and historical oppression people of color have and continue to face through art that spans media including sculpture, mixed media, paintings, performances, videos and more. This third iteration of Black on Black, BOBV3, looks at how people of color have come up with solutions and ways to deal with the continued oppression, degradation and daily emotional labor endured. 

The artwork in BOBV3 seeks to heal and reveal the agency that people of color have always had.

”We didn’t create the problems, but we’ve created solutions.” #BlackOnBlackV3 #BOBV3

Photo of Linda Dallas giving Mike William bunny ears as Mike talks

Guest curator + BOB Projects founder Mike Williams is taking BOBV3 to new levels.

Mike Williams is about fostering community. He spent 15 years in media at The News & Observer where, among several roles, he was the curator of and managing editor of the and Triangle Today publications. 

A graduate of North Carolina Central University in Durham, Williams founded the Black On Black Project as an extension of the first Black On Black exhibit, which Williams guest curated with Linda Dallas at VAE in 2016. The BOB Project works with artists of color on exhibitions and events that discuss issues affecting the community and seeks to bring communities closer together by promoting the principle of equity.

Mike has been a mentor at Neighbor2Neighbor in Southeast Raleigh, is currently working with the youth at DREAMs of Wilmington in the Port City, helping them engage with artists through community programs.

Mike Williams + Linda Dallas, BOB 2016

Mike Williams + Linda Dallas, BOB 2016


Before Black on Black was a series of ambitious exhibits or a community-nourishing project, it was four people chatting over lunch in 2016—two folks from VAE staff, Mike Williams, and Linda Dallas. When the conversation turned to how the arts should best celebrate and empower Black creativity, Mike and Linda’s shared vision, drive, and perspectives as educators and mentors lit a spark. A few fast months later, the first ever Black on Black exhibition opened in VAE’s main gallery and featured work by artists of color thinking about how they told their own stories vs how other people might. The exhibit was a pivotal experience for VAE and its guest curators, changing how VAE structured community partnerships and exhibitions going forward, and opening the door for Mike to found the Black on Black project and elevate community awareness and appreciation of the outstanding talent present in the Triangle’s Black community.


Email with questions.

Email with questions.

BOBV3 has public hours of Wed - Fri 11am-6pm and Sat 11am-4pm. Be advised that the exhibition does include some mature content.

For BOBV3, we were lucky enough to have our run of a giant 180,000 sq ft former Kmart in south Raleigh! (Thanks again, Baker Roofing!) Finding the space takes a little bit of focus, so here are some tips:

  • The easiest way to locate the exhibition space is to plug the Sears Outlet at 4300 Fayetteville Road, Raleigh, NC 27603 into your GPS.

  • Enter the parking lot at the traffic light, between the Denny's and construction site.

  • The space formerly housed a Kmart and you will immediately recognize the building.

  • Use the door on the left (next to Sears)


> The building is enormous. You might consider operating under the buddy system. Please stay in the open area of the exhibition and do not wander into the back room.
> The building has sat dormant and some renovations have begun, closed toe shoes and spacial conscientiousness is advised!
> The building and its restrooms are physically accessible. 
> The restrooms are exactly what you think they'd be in an abandoned Kmart building...but cleaner. They are located in the back right corner. Warning: depending on where you're standing in the exhibit, it could take you upwards of a minute and a half to walk to them. Plan accordingly or do the pee pee shuffle.


To show Blue Cross NC commitment to diversity, artists for BOBV3 were paid, in part, through the Blue Cross NC Artist Fund. Visual Art Exchange is supported by United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County. Visual Art Exchange is funded in part by the City of Raleigh based on recommendations of the Raleigh Arts Commission.