Joyce J. Scott. Three Generation Quilt I (Detail). 1983. Collection of the artist, © Joyce Scott courtesy Goya Contemporary. Photo: Joseph Hyde

Joyce J. Scott: Walk a Mile in My Dreams


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Joyce J. Scott: Walk a Mile in My Dreams is the summative career retrospective of one of the most prolific and boundary-breaking artists of our time.

Born in Baltimore in 1948, Scott grapples with profound social, historical, racial, economic, and personal challenges that concern society at large in dazzling beadwork, sculpture, textiles, jewelry, printmaking, and performance. For five decades, she has upended hierarchies of art and craft, insisting that artistic expression is that “extra inch of life” that nourishes the soul even in the most challenging circumstances. Best known for her virtuosic use of beads and glass, Joyce J. Scott’s works across all media beguile viewers with beauty and humor while confronting racism, sexism, ecological devastation, and complex family dynamics. 

Co-organized with the Seattle Art Museum and developed in close collaboration with the artist, this comprehensive career retrospective reveals the full breadth of Scott’s utterly unique vision through nearly 140 objects, from her woven tapestries and soft sculpture of the 1970s to her audacious genre-defying performances of the 1980s, and her ascendancy as a sculptor of astonishing social force and formal ingenuity.

The exhibition also features a participatory weaving and storytelling environment, conceived by the artist as a hub for structured and informal programming. An expansive scholarly catalog accompanies the exhibition. 

Joyce J. Scott comes from a long line of makers in her family who created beautiful, functional objects in their quest for freedom out of slavery, sharecropping, migration, and segregation. A companion exhibition of Scott’s mother’s work, Eyewinkers, Tumbleturds, and Candlebugs: The Art of Elizabeth Talford Scott will be presented at the BMA through April 28, 2024.

Please note: The artist addresses all aspects of human experience in her work, including racist stereotypes, sexual violence, and the grievous history of lynching.

See photos from the Members Preview Party and Community Day.


  • Schedule an interactive guided tour of Joyce J. Scott: Walk a Mile in My Dreams.
  • Listen to the audio guide for Joyce J. Scott: Walk a Mile in My Dreams. In this podcast-style guide, hear Joyce J. Scott reflect on her work and key themes throughout the exhibition with seven of her friends. Bring your mobile device and headphones to hear exclusive conversations about Joyce Scott’s journey, processes, and artistic influences.
  • Use the conversation guide, a resource to help grownups discuss the exhibition’s topics with young visitors.
  • Enter for a chance to take homeTurning the Tables Community Weaving Project tapestry made by you and fellow exhibition visitors.


Joyce J. Scott: Walk a Mile in My Dreams is co-curated by Cecilia Wichmann, BMA Associate Curator of Contemporary Art, and Catharina Manchanda, SAM Jon and Mary Shirley Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, with support from Leslie Rose, Joyce J. Scott Curatorial Research Assistant.

This exhibition and national tour are made possible by substantial grants from the Ford Foundation, Henry Luce Foundation, Terra Foundation for American Art, and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

National Presenting Sponsors

In Baltimore, the exhibition is also supported by the Alvin and Fanny B. Thalheimer Exhibition Endowment Fund, The Dorman/Mazaroff Contemporary Endowment Fund, the Suzanne F. Cohen Exhibition Fund, Bank of America, Wagner Foundation, Joanne Gold and Andrew Stern, The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Foundation, Transamerica, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Clair Zamoiski Segal and Thomas H. Segal Contemporary Art Endowment Fund, Goya Contemporary Gallery and Martha Macks-Kahn, The Coby Foundation, Ltd., and the American Craft Council.