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Somewhere to Roost

April 12, 2024–May 25, 2025

Featuring over 60 works including paintings, textiles, photographs, and sculptures, Somewhere to Roost will explore the ways that artists evoke and construct ideas of “home.” 

The exhibition’s title is drawn from an artwork by Thornton Dial, Sr. (1928–2016), Birds Got to Have Somewhere to Roost,” which will be among the works on view. Reflecting on this statement, the exhibition will explore the importance of rest, comfort, and safety, while considering the poetic and unspecified nature of the word “somewhere.” Taken both literally and metaphorically, Somewhere to Roost represents spaces where artists live and work, as well as places remembered, imagined, or dreamed. The exhibition will highlight experiences of immigration, incarceration, and housing insecurity, as well as visions of home that are playful, inventive, and unexpected.

The exhibition is curated by Brooke Wyatt, Luce Assistant Curator at the American Folk Art Museum (AFAM). It is the third in a series of thematic shows drawn from the Museum’s collection and generously supported by a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation.


Thornton Dial Sr., Birds Got to Have Somewhere to Roost, Alabama, United States, c. 2012. Wood, carpet scraps, corrugated tin, burlap, nails, and enamel on wood, 61 1/4 × 48 × 10″. Gift of the Thornton Dial Family, 2013.6.1.Photo by Stephen Pitkin / Pitkin Studio © 2016 Estate of Thornton Dial.

Mozell Benson, (1934 – 2012), “Sampler Variation Quilt,” Waverly, Lee County, Alabama, 1985, Cotton, yarn, 88 × 67 in., Collection American Folk Art Museum, New York, Purchase made possible in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, with matching funds from the Great American Quilt Festival 3, 1991.13.10.

Joseph Warren Leavitt (1804–1833), Interior of John Leavitt’s Tavern, Chichester, New Hampshire, United States, c. 1825. Watercolor, ink, and pencil on paper, in original maple frame, Sheet: 7 x 9 ” Frame Dimension: 8 9/16 x 10 1/2 x 1/2. ” Gift of Ralph Esmerian, 2005.8.5. Photo by John Bigelow Taylor.

Kapo (Mallica Reynolds, 1911–1989), Roberta Flack, Kingston, Jamaica, 1970, Oil on canvas, American Folk Art Museum, Gift of Maurice C. and Patricia L. Thompson, 2003.20.6.


The Henry Luce Foundation seeks to enrich public discourse by promoting innovative scholarship, cultivating new leaders, and fostering international understanding. A leader in art funding since 1982, the Luce Foundation’s American Art Program supports innovative museum projects nationwide that advance art-centered conversations that celebrate creativity, explore difference, and seek common ground. Learn more at