Sandy Williams IV

A multilayered public performance on the ground and in the sky above Crown Heights, Brooklyn

Free Tickets

Admission to Open Call events is free. Tickets will be available Tuesday, October 17.

To reserve free tickets, visit the Open Call 2023 Group Exhibition page.

About this commission

Sandy Williams IV’s photo and video installation documents 40 ACRES: Weeksville, a multilayered public performance that took place in the sky above Crown Heights, Brooklyn on Juneteenth 2023. A skywriter traced the borders of the historic Weeksville community—an area 492.72 acres in total—in the sky to honor the legacy of one of the first recognized free Black communities in the country, which occupied the location from 1838 to around 1930. This skywriting pays homage to the memory of Freedmen communities and acknowledges histories and social oppressions that are often unseen and paved over, by connecting current national inequities to the failures of Reconstruction in the United States after the Civil War.

The flyover took place in partnership with the Weeksville Heritage Center’s Juneteenth Food Festival. 40 ACRES: Weeksville was commissioned by The Shed as part of Open Call. It was developed in collaboration with the Weeksville Heritage Center and has been generously supported by the University of Richmond.

Get to Know the Artist

This is a portrait of Sandy Williams IV. They pose with the trees lining a street behind them. They are wearing a dark blazer over a dark hoodie and have their hair in short locs that fall to their jawline.
Photo: Johnny Fogg.
Sandy Williams IV
Sandy Williams IV
Sandy Williams IV is an assistant professor of art at the University of Richmond, a recipient of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Artist Fellowship, and the New York Community Trust Van Lier Fellowship. Williams has had solo shows at 1708 Gallery (VA), the Visual Arts Centre of Clarington (Ontario), Reynolds Gallery (VA), and Second Street Gallery (VA). Selected group exhibitions and performances include Socrates Sculpture Park (NYC), The Museum of Contemporary Art in Virginia Beach, The Arlington Museum of Contemporary Art, The Harnett Museum, Institute of Contemporary Art at VCU, Martos Gallery (NYC), M+B Gallery (LA), de boer Gallery (LA), Springsteen (Baltimore), NADA House (NYC). Williams has been an artist in residence at Mass MOCA, the Atlantic Center for the Arts (FL), SOMA (CDMX), ACRE (IL), and the University of Cumbria (United Kingdom). Permanent collections: the Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Pamela and William A. Royall’s private collection, The Harnett Museum, the Westhampton College at the University of Richmond, The Roanoke College Olin Hall Collection.

part of an exhibition

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Thank you to our partners

The Sponsor of Open Call is
Support for Open Call is generously provided by

Additional support for Open Call is provided by Warner Bros. Discovery 150, The Wescustogo Foundation, and Jody and John Arnhold | Arnhold Foundation.

The creation of new work at The Shed is generously supported by the Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch Commissioning Fund and the Shed Commissioners.