Naima Keith’s Electric Vision: Giving the California African American Museum a Jolt of Energy

Los Angeles Times – On a recent July evening more than two thousand people circulated at an unusually vibrant art-world party in Exposition Park. It was the summer season debut at the California African American Museum (CAAM), with four new exhibitions opening at once. Guests streamed through the freshly painted galleries, food trucks doled out steaming bowls of jambalaya and spiced catfish nuggets, and DJs spun a mix of hip hop, soul and R&B. Then came the electric slide.

Dozens of guests spontaneously coalesced, forming rows of dancers in the museum’s atrium, and soon they were side-stepping to the song “Electric Boogie.” All the while Naima Keith, the museum’s new deputy director and chief curator, worked the crowd in a multicolored silk kimono and patent-leather sneakers, ping-ponging between artists, lenders, museum directors and city officials as the line dance spread outdoors to the courtyard. “It was just this moment—I looked around and, wow, this is what we were hoping for, this is what we wanted to create,” says Keith.  Read more…