“Claiming Freedom: Selections from the Petrucci Family Foundation Collection of African American Art” will be on display in Skillman Library through Spring 2024. Drawing inspiration from Annette Gordon Reed’s “On Juneteenth,” this exhibition seeks to highlight the tension present in commemorating the past, celebrating progress, and acknowledging the urgent need for further change. Claiming Freedom begins with a focus on resistance and remembrance across decades, from paintings that reflect on the Amistad Rebellion to prints featuring contemporary Civil Rights movements, such as Black Lives Matter. The second portion of the exhibition holds space for inward reflection, healing, and celebration of Black creativity. As the title implies, the claim to freedom includes freedom from oppression and the freedom to thrive in this nation. The works that were selected for this exhibition address both conceptual frameworks of what it means to be free.

Claiming Freedom spans over 20 pieces, including work by legacy artists, such as Emma Amos, James Van Der Zee, and John Biggers. It also includes contemporary artists, such as Titus Kaphar, LaToya Hobbs, Allison Janae Hamilton, and others.