'The Six Feet Away Museum' In Florida Becomes Place For Discussions On Race, Justice Shawana Brooks, a curator, and her artist husband, Roosevelt Watson III created an outdoor gallery at their home when the pandemic closed museums. Now, it's also a place for conversations about race.

'The Six Feet Away Museum' In Florida Becomes Place For Discussions On Race, Justice

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/868469807/868469808" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript


Shawana Brooks is an art curator. Her husband, Roosevelt Watson III, is an artist. The pandemic closed all the art spaces where they live in Jacksonville, Fla. But when they were cleaning up their home studio, they had an idea.


The couple turned their yard into a gallery. They put up a sign. It's called The Six Feet Away Museum. And people came. A lot of Roosevelt's artwork examines race and justice, and that resonated with their neighborhood.

ROOSEVELT WATSON III: The community loved it, and that was the one kicker that we wanted because a lot of the urban community don't feel welcome in museums.

INSKEEP: So they've got this project going. It's outdoors. It's safer. And then George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis. Protests began across the country. Roosevelt's art displayed in public took on more meaning.

SHAWANA BROOKS: And you could see people - their mentality and how they needed to connect around this art and how they also needed to talk.

KING: Now their gallery is a gathering place for critical conversations.

BROOKS: Art really helps to make those hard dialogues. And much of his work goes to a lot of the historical context around racial inequities and his experience as a black person.

INSKEEP: Shawana Brooks and Roosevelt Watson III bringing art to their community.


Copyright © 2020 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.