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The Rise and Fail of the N-Word: Implicit Bias and the N-Word Living in our Subconscious by Rhinold Ponder


Presented by the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund, The Rise and Fail of the N-Word by New Jersey based artist Rhinold Ponder, challenges the lack of a common language in our efforts to understand and communicate across perspectives about racism. This provocative exhibition contains work created by Ponder himself, as well as work commissioned by Ponder that includes a series of “N-Word Logos” created by artists worldwide. The exhibition seeks to engage viewers in an emotional and often redemptive dialogue. 

“In my artwork, I try to offer the viewer a narrative about race, and the issue of racism, which is one of the most important discussions we need to have in this country, but also one of the most difficult,” says Ponder. “I’m not there to tell [viewers] what to think … the work is there to help them think.”

This exhibition is brought to New Haven by the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund (WCGMF), marking a new venture for WCGMF to work with art and artists to create opportunities for discussion around race and poverty in our society.

“The ‘N’ Word is intrinsically embedded in the implicit bias that affects people who are charged with the success of children of color in our community,” says Executive Director David Addams.

Rhinold Ponder is a mixed-media artist from Princeton, New Jersey. He began his artistic journey as an award-winning winning artist in Chicago, where he majored in commercial art at a vocational high school, before obtaining advanced degrees in law, journalism, and African American studies. Much of Ponder’s work reflects his love of explosive colorful abstract and expressionist art with a focus on humanity’s faith and will to overcome adversity. He is largely interested in expressions of hope and faith as unifying elements in a diverse society. His work has been exhibited worldwide. For more information, visit:

William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund’s mission is to achieve equity in education by working with those affected and inspiring all to end racism and poverty. For more information, visit:

Exhibition Events and Programs:

  1. Opening Reception & Discussion with the Artist: Wednesday, February 21st, 6:00pm-9:00pm. Discussion with the artist moderated by Enroue Halfkenny at 7:30pm. Free and open to all. Reservations required: 
  2. Press Event: Wednesday, February 21st @ 4:00pm. Press are invited to talk with the artist before the opening.
  3. The Rise and Fail of the N-Word Exhibit: Performance & Discussion Hosted by Literary Happy Hour: Thursday, March 15th, 6:30pm-8:30pm. Literary Happy Hour is a radically inclusive reading and performance series featuring diverse New Haven writers curated and hosted by Hanifa Nayo Washington. Reservations recommended: 
  4. Exhibition Conclusion: Roundtable Discussion: Saturday, March 17th, 6:00pm-9:00pm. Free and open to all those who have visited the exhibition. Facilitated by Enroue Halfkenny. Reservations required: