PENUMBRA CENTER FOR RACIAL HEALING
Penumbra is a nationally renowned 45-year-old Black theatre company. Founded in 1976 by celebrated scholar and director Lou Bellamy, Penumbra has earned national accolades, producing nearly 200 plays, over 30 premieres, and has cultivated generations of artists of color now working across the nation, including Peabody-award winning actor Roger Guenveur Smith, MacArthur Genius Dominique Morisseau, Obie-winners Laurie Carlos and Marion McClinton, US Poet Laureate Rita Dove, Pulitzer Prize-winner August Wilson, Grammy-winner Jamecia Bennett, Academy-award nominee Jevetta Steel, “Empire” star James T. Alfred, and McKnight Foundation Distinguished Artists Seitu Ken Jones and Faye Price. The artists who call Penumbra home are groundbreaking change-makers who bind our community together through their leadership and fellowship. Penumbra’s prowess as a racial equity catalyst is also well established: for over fifteen years, we have trained people all over the country in our equity practices–from state and federal agencies to businesses, hospitals, and educational institutions, we leverage strategic partnerships to support racial equity.
Today, under President Sarah Bellamy's leadership, Penumbra is evolving into our next life cycle: a performing arts campus and center for racial healing that nurtures black artists, advances equity, and facilitates wellness for individuals and community.
The Penumbra Center for Racial Healing is a brave space where the community is called in to learn, rejuvenate, and stand up in support of racial equity. The environment we envision is peaceful, inspiring, and gently provocative, providing moments of deep reflection and respite as visitors navigate the campus. This is a space that centers the black experience, will learn from and support people of color who are not black, and will welcome and support white individuals interested in building resiliency and competency for racial equity work.
Community will engage, learn, rest, and restore, in the following areas:
The Arts (changing narratives)
Our arts program will continue to produce work from within the traditional Black theatre canon, will foster new work through a robust commissioning program, and will feature opportunities to learn with and from the art through panel discussions, curated galleries, and more.
Racial Equity (nurturing leadership)
Helping individuals build comfort, dexterity, and stamina for racial equity work is essential to our long-term strategy for sustainable social change. Penumbra’s racial equity trainings will be refined to serve established and emerging leaders with culturally mindful curricula. The training and equipment that BIPOC leaders need is different from what white-identified leaders need; our intention is to support everyone through year-round trainings and a leadership development institute.
Wellness (building power)
A full fleet of culturally specific healing services will be available for individuals seeking to detoxify their bodies from the stress of racism. Our programming will include embodied learning, integrative therapies, mindfulness practices, meditation, and healing touch.
SUPPORT OUR FUTURE
We recognize the serious body of work it will take to achieve this bold vision, and we need you to help us realize something that can serve all of us. Whether you are a longtime champion of the work we do or new to our organization, you can be part of our success story. Together, we can build upon our 45-year legacy to extend the impact of our mission to make truly transformational change here in Minnesota and beyond.