JoAnne McFarland & Sasha Chavchavadze, co–curators


Sarah ‘Sally’ Hemings, a mixed–race slave woman, and Thomas Jefferson, one of America’s Founding Fathers, had six children together. While a teenager in France with Jefferson’s family, Hemings had a chance at full freedom, but returned to America with Jefferson in 1791 when he was 47 years old.

SALLY explores how contemporary conceptions of white/black, male/female, young/old, rich/poor reflect or disrupt earlier cultural norms, and how connection, which all humans crave, happens across differences. The exhibition unites an eclectic array of artists and thinkers who use their practices to strengthen community and open dialogue around complex, often divisive issues.

The SALLY Project showcases artists at different stages of their lives and careers, making different kinds of work using different media, from different backgrounds, cultures, races, and ethnicities. In this way the curatorial premise encourages a vibrant mix of viewpoints around the theme of living with agency and radiance in spite of, and perhaps even due to, challenges in one’s environment.

The SALLY Project opened in October 2019 at three Brooklyn venues: The Old Stone House & Washington Park, The Gowanus Dredgers Boathouse, and Artpoetica Project Space. Due to enthusiastic response, the project went online at East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania during the pandemic, and traveled to Wellfleet, MA in August 2021. In November 2021 SALLY opened at SUNY Adirondack, and will be at The Brickbottom Gallery in Somerville, MA in September 2022. 

SALLY highlights the work of artists interested in reanimating the narratives of women from the past who can serve as catalysts in this radical present.

A website that archives materials related to past and present female makers serves as the fulcrum of SALLY.

Artists represented in images:

Jee Hwang

Fabiola Jean–Louis

Marisa Williamson

Deborah Castillo

For more information:


SALLY Wellfleet Exhibition Brochure