Artists' Retreat: Looking for a Safe, Socially Distanced Activity This Weekend? Make It Museum-Worthy! [Updated]

The Duro Oluwo exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.
The Duro Oluwo exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.
Photo: Maiysha Kai

We know, we know—summer’s half-over, and you are over being indoors. So are we—but safety first, Kids. That said, with the future of education being a contentious issue at present, a little arts education might be safer than you think. While there aren’t many public activities we feel comfortable recommending as COVID-19 numbers continue to spike around the country (please mask up, y’all) if you absolutely must partake in some public outings in this still-uncertain season, might we suggest social distancing in the massive, high-ceilinged halls of a museum—or better yet, indulging in a virtual tour from home?


Granted, not many museums are currently open—and several that have reopened may not stay that way if COVID infections continue to rise. We highly advise checking the museums in your area to see what’s open and exhibiting, but here are a few events and exhibitions that recently caught our eye.

Detroit’s Art Mile is currently in progress until August 5, with works from over 60 of Detroit’s galleries, institutional non-profits, museums and artist-run spaces on display—with some options to enrich your at-home gallery. Wisely, this year’s weeklong citywide celebration of public programs has gone primarily virtual, featuring digital installations, artwork sales, virtual museum tours, and live events such as panel discussions, artist studio visits, film screenings and musical performances; you can learn more at

Illustration for article titled Artists' Retreat: Looking for a Safe, Socially Distanced Activity This Weekend? Make It Museum-Worthy! [Updated]
Image: Conrad Egyir, “Yonder”

For you fashion and beauty lovers *raises hand*, here’s a timely reminder that those mediums are art, too—and Black creatives remain at the forefront of its innovation. The acclaimed Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) certainly thinks so, hosting a Guests and Gusto symposium that is free to the viewing public, titled Pass the Mic: Conversations with Black Creatives” today, July 31. Its purpose? “To unite leading beauty and fashion professionals for three insightful panels as they speak to their experiences and the changing industry, explore the ongoing and lasting influence of the Black Lives Matter movement, and discuss how diverse voices impact and improve collaboration and creativity,” reads a release shared with The Glow Up. The conversations include several of our 2020 Glow Up 50 honorees and begin at 11 a.m. ET, continuing through Friday afternoon.

The itinerary is as follows; again, all symposium events are open to the public.

SCAD Beauty Panel ‘Black Beauty Matters’ at 11:00 a.m. ET Moderator: Julee Wilson, beauty director at Cosmopolitan

Confirmed Panelists: Sarah Curtis Henry, CMO at Tatcha; Sir John, celebrity makeup artist; Linda Arrington, Former CEO of Carol’s Daughter and beauty consultant 

SCAD fashion panel ‘Black in Fashion’ at 12:00 p.m. ET Moderator: Mike Mack, SCAD professor and accessory designer

Confirmed Panelists: Jason Bolden, celebrity stylist and designer; Nicole Chapoteau, fashion market director at Vanity Fair; Lindsay Peoples Wagner, editor-in-chief at Teen Vogue

SCAD creative panel ‘Behind The Lens’ at 2:00 p.m. ET Moderator: Tiffany Reid, fashion director of Bustle Digital Group and consultant

Confirmed Panelists: Christian Cody, fashion photographer; Sam Fine, celebrity makeup artist and author; Candace Marie Stewart, Founder of Black in Corporate, educator, and luxury fashion consultant and creative director


After only reopening recently, we don’t know how long Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) will remain open (as Governor Pritzer is threatening to reinstate lockdowns in the coming weeks). But just prior to the initial lockdown, we had the pleasure of previewing Duro Olowu: Seeing Chicago, an eclectic exhibition guest-curated by famed Nigerian-born British designer Duro Olowu (also a Glow Up 50 honoree) in collaboration with Manilow Senior Curator (and all-around badass) Naomi Beckwith.


As evidenced by the designer’s always inspiring Instagram page, Olowu’s eye for art is as enchanting and intriguing as his covetable designs, several of which also find their way into the exhibition (see our header photo above). The exhibit—which includes a full range of artistic mediums that all somehow relate to and evoke the spirit and culture of Chicago—inevitably has a distinctly Black influence, as does the city itself. Along with works by artists like 2019 Root 100 honoree Amanda Williams and Kerry James Marshall, viewers will recognize now iconic pieces like David Hammons’ African-American flag, which also hangs outside the Studio Museum of Harlem (where Beckwith formerly worked with Olowu’s wife, Director Thelma Golden). The exhibit is on now through September 27, but as we consider the renewed restrictions now looming, if you can make it to the MCA, now might be the time.

Again, we don’t actually recommend you venture out if you don’t have to—unfortunately, our time with COVID-19 seems to be far from over, and we prioritize safety above all else, which is why we’ll likely spend the weekend doing a detailed artistic analysis of the visual feast that is Beyoncé’s Black Is King. But should you want a little more arts education in your life, it’s here for you—if you just know where to look.


Corrected: Friday, 7/31/30 at 10:35 a.m., ET: Forgive us for getting ahead of ourselves, but we mistakenly wrote the date of the SCAD symposium as August 31 when it’s TODAY, July 31! Additionally, after reporting that legendary stylist June Ambrose would be moderating the noon panel, we learned that Ambrose, unfortunately, had to bow out last-minute, and will be replaced by SCAD professor and accessory designer Mike Mack. We’ve corrected the post to reflect both of these important changes.

Join the discussion! The Root is hosting its first-ever, virtual Root Institute, presented by Target, featuring several of the leading minds in our community talking about politics, culture, health, community building and social impact. Subscribe for updates today!

Maiysha Kai is managing editor of The Glow Up, host of The Root Presents: It's Lit! podcast and Big Beauty Tuesdays, and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door. May I borrow some sugar?