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Construction begins on public art installation the Praise House Project, coming to Emory in October
Media Contact
Emma Yarbrough
Assistant Director, Emory Arts

This week, construction begins on the Praise House Project at Emory, a public art installation and immersive digital experience culminating a multi-year engagement between artist-activist Charmaine Minniefield and Emory University. Located on the grounds of Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church, Minniefield’s Praise House Project is presented in partnership with Emory University and with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

The building is modeled after historical praise houses—small, wooden structures commonly used for worship by enslaved African Americans in the coastal South. As an act of resistance, historical praise house congregants would gather in a circle to shout and stomp upon the wooden floors, performing what is known as the Ring Shout. This act created a communal drum, secretly preserving the cultural identity and traditions of communities.

Featuring an immersive digital rendition of a Ring Shout performance, the Praise House Project at Emory honors this tradition while igniting scholarly and artistic inquiry on campus and across the broader Atlanta region. 

“Like these historic structures,” Minniefield states, “the Praise House Project creates a safe space to imagine a new freedom today.”

The installation culminates a series of collaborative projects between Emory and Minniefield, the most recent of which was Indigo Prayers, an exhibition of her work at the Michael C. Carlos Museum that closed in September 2022. 

An opening celebration of the Praise House at Emory will take place in Glenn Memorial Church on Thursday, Oct. 19, at 7 p.m. The Praise House will be open for previews during the Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs’ Elevate Public Art Festival, Oct. 14-15.

Following previews, the Praise House opens to the public Friday, Oct. 20, remaining open through Dec. 15. It will be accompanied by a series of on-campus programming including the opening concert, round-table discussions and a city-wide oral history project.

Synergy Construction Inc. began construction of the Praise House at Emory University on Monday, Sept. 11. The Praise House Project at Emory is a partnership between Charmaine Minniefield, Emory Arts and the Emory University Office of the Provost with support from the Michael C. Carlos Museum and the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library.

The Praise House Project is made possible with funding from the National Endowment of the Arts with municipal partnership from the City of Atlanta. Charmaine Minniefield’s work is supported by the Center for Cultural Power’s Constellations Fellowship.

For more information on the Praise House Project at Emory and upcoming programming, visit the Emory Arts website.

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