2021 / Black Doll Show / Virtual Exhibition / What's Happening This Week

Black Doll Magic: The 41st Annual Black Doll Show December 11, 2021 – February 26, 2022 

RSVP For The Black Doll Show
We are excited about this Saturday and hope you are too. The official opening reception of the 41st Annual Black Doll Show is Saturday, December 11 at 7 pm. Please click this link to rsvp via Eventbrite for our Saturday virtual program on Zoom.
Click here to RSVP to the 2021 Black Doll Show 
Black Doll Magic: The 41st Annual Black Doll Show
December 11, 2021 – February 26, 2022 

The William Grant Still Arts Center’s 41st Annual Black Doll Show, Black Doll Magic, is a virtual experiment for us as artists, collectors and lovers of Black Dolls to prepare ourselves to come out into the world. In our second year of online exhibition, we asked our community to show us a before and after, influenced by social media #challenge videos, to work in their own style with their doll of choice. The #BlackDollMagic videos show how we are re-emerging into the world after difficulty and isolation. Using Black Dolls as a metaphor for our creative selves and force of faith, our community shows up with the most fascinating, personal and sometimes comical view of a path towards transformations. 

Opening Reception and Premier (via zoom):December 11, 2021 7 pm screening submitted videos 

Platform:Instagram @Black_Doll_Magic_WGSAC, after the opening reception premier 

Doll Making Workshops:December 18, 2021 – (Zoom) Brandy HealyJanuary 22, 2022 – (Zoom) Dr. Cynthia DavisFebruary 12, 2022 – Info TBA 

For more info or rsvp:wgsarts@lacity.org213-855-9390
You can still submit videos to be uploaded to the Black Doll Magic page. Here’s how:


● What is the name and theme of this year’s Black Doll Show?
The name of the Show is “Black Doll Magic: The 41st Annual Black Doll Show”.The theme is just to feature videos of a “before” and “after” of you with your favorite doll.

● Will the show be in person this year?
No, this year’s show will be in a video format online. You will NOT need to bring or ship your dolls to the center. You will video tape you and your doll at home and upload the video to this form.

● What should my background look like?
You should keep your background as clear as possible, so you and your dolls are prominently featured. A white or gray wall works best, but yellow curtains or brightly colored walls work well.

● How many dolls can you have in the video?
You can have as many dolls as you like, but just use one doll to dress down and dress up using all the other dolls as the background.

● How many videos can I make with my dolls?
Each submission has two videos (one before or dressed down and one after or dressed up). We are accepting a maximum of 2 submissions per person (2 submissions is 4 videos, ie a before and after). To clarify, for each doll you will need to make a separate video. One with yourself and/or the doll dressed down or the “before” and one with you and/or the doll dressed up or the “after”. This will make two videos for a one doll submission and four videos for a 2 doll submission.

● What if my dolls don’t have the ability to dress up and down, and their clothes are attached?
You can dress yourself down for the first video and dress yourself up for the second video.Then, just show yourself playing with the doll in a different position for each video or it can look like you are making/working on the doll as well. This will still be a fun video with the variations. If your doll is made of wire or some other material that is difficult to dress, you may wrap the doll in fabric with the head sticking out for the “dress down” video and then have the doll fully visible for the second video. Another option is to put the doll in a bag or burlap sack for the “dressed down” video.
A couple of examples that came up were, if you make paper dolls, maybe the before video can be you dressed simple and a drawing on paper of a stick figure. Then the after video can be you and your paper doll completely prepared. Another example was, if you have a wooden doll, the first video can be you dressed down and a tree or a stack of wood and the second video would be of you and your doll in a “finished” state.
You can also be creative and not do the traditional “glam up” looks, but create a different sort of before and after. Maybe you become a superhero, maybe you can go back in time, or jump into the future or whatever your creative mind brings forth. We can help you brainstorm ideas if it’s difficult.

● What if I’m not Femme identified?
Please feel free to express gender the way that works best for you. Black Doll Magic is foreveryone.

● Is participation only for adults?
Participants can be all ages!

● Do I have to appear in the video?
Yes! We want these videos to be about the artists, collectors and Black Doll lovers. However, if you want to be incognito, feel free to be creative with how you appear. As long as it’s PG rated

● Can other people be featured in the video?
Yes! Invite your children, aunts, uncles, grandkids, cousins, neighbors, friends etc. The only criteria is that everyone will need to dress down and dress up along with the video.

● Where is the form for me to submit the videos?
Here is the form: WGSAC 2021 Black Doll Show Online Submission Form

● How do we upload the videos on the registration form?
Click on the tab at the bottom of the registration form that says “Upload Video and or Photos here” then select the file for your video and/or photos that you want to upload. Next click the upload button and your files will be uploaded to our form.

● Is there a phone number we can call if we have questions or need extra help?
Yes. Ami Motevalli our center director can be reached via phone at 213-855-9390 or by email at wgsarts@lacity.org

● Should we hesitate to ask for help?
Not at all. We are here to help. If you’ve been in touch with any of the WGSAC staff, reach out. Or email us at wgsarts@lacity.org

● Do you have an example video?
Here is a link to the tutorial and example video made for us by Myshell Tabu: Black Doll Show Submission Video Instructions

● Are there examples of similar #challenge videos?

Have fun and reach out if you need help!

WGSAC 2021 Call For Dolls
Call for Dolls 
The William Grant Still Arts Center (WGSAC) is pleased to announce our 2021 Black Doll Show: Black Doll MagicWGSAC is in the process of selection for our 41st Annual Black Doll Show. This year we will present a video compilation of collectors and creators with their dolls. We are still in a global pandemic, so everything will be done via online submission and video contribution.  

Dolls do not need to adhere to a specific theme to be accepted. We only ask that the doll(s) be capable of being presented both bare and dressed up, as our exhibition will include a transition from one state to the other. We would prefer fresh dolls that have not been submitted to our shows in the past. We accept handmade, artistic, and commercial dolls from doll makers, artists and collectors. Given the nature of the presentation, we will likely accept only two dolls per contributor. The doll(s) will be held on video by the artist/collector and both will appear bare faced and then after a flash, both the artist/collector and their doll(s) will be dressed up in their finest attire. There are no size restrictions, since the exhibition will be virtual. If you can fit the doll on screen and dress it up, we’ll consider it.   

Dolls can fit any of the following and more:  
·    Dolls made of various materials – carved, cloth, wood, metal, fabric, paper, corn husk, ceramic, etc…
·    Dolls of any gender
·    Dolls of any size 
·    Traditional dolls, rag dolls, baby dolls, manufactured dolls
·    Afrofuturism and Black liberation
·    LGBTQ+ dolls
·    Disabled dolls 
·    Dolls that embody joy
·    Dolls that reinterpret gender and sexuality 
*Please share dolls that we can get permission to display.

How To Submit (Please refer to video example below)
Please use a plain clean background with no distractions (a white or gray wall works best) The show will be viewed by children. Please dress accordingly. 

Video tape you and your doll in casual clothes with little to no accessories for 10 seconds.
The video should be framed from your chest to the top of your head.

After 10 seconds push your dolls head towards the camera until the entire lens is covered.
Stop recording.

Change into your cute/fancy outfit, and dress your doll up too. 
Start recording.

Put your dolls head very close to the lens, and then back it away slowly to reveal your new look.
Continue to record you and your doll posing in different positions for 10 seconds. 

Push your doll’s head to the lens to cover it again.
Stop recording. 


In addition to the video submission, please submit photos of your doll per the following instructions: 
1. Please take individual photos of every doll or doll related artwork you are submitting. 

2. Images should be well-lit. Dolls should be clearly visible, with nothing in the background. The entire doll must be visible.

3. Images should be at least 300 dpi. Most Android and iPhones will be able to take images of this quality.

4.  If images are on a website, please provide a direct link to the doll.

5. Please send your images in JPEG format with a short description of the work and a brief bio.

6. Submissions should be emailed to the selection team at wgsarts@lacity.org 

7. Accepted submissions will be notified and receive next steps.Please contact us with any questions at 213-855-9390 or ami.motevalli@lacity.org. 

About the William Grant Still Arts Center’s Black Doll Show The Black Doll Show was inspired by a doll test conducted by Mamie and Kenneth Clark. The tests concluded that due to social stigmas, many black children preferred white dolls over black dolls. This test went on to become evidence in civil rights lawsuits. The Clarks became expert witnesses in Brown vs. Board of education and helped the landmark decision to desegregate schools. This doll test was conducted again in 2006 by 17-year old filmmaker Kiri Davis, sadly with the same results. Inspired by the doll test, artist and curator Cecil Fergerson started the Black Doll Show in the 1980s. Fergerson brought together handmade dolls by artists and collectors from across the nation, with the goal of reframing negative connotations of black people. Through its many transformations, the Black Doll Show has been a celebration and documentation of the black experience.  https://wgsac.wordpress.com/exhibition/annual-black-doll-show/

WGSAC 2021 Black Doll Show Online Submission Form