Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Dialogue with Matthews

March 30, 2022 @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

No cost
compilation of Black man and abstract images

We welcome Demar Matthews, architectural designer and founder/principal of OffTop Design, for a dialogue entitled “Unearth-ing the Black Aesthetic” on March 30, 5:30 p.m., Rm. 109/McCarty Auditorium.

In his presentation, Matthews will discuss community projects and their goals. The first of nine case study homes recently reached its fundraising goal of $250,000. The project is a collaboration with offTOP and a Black woman/homeowner whose family has lived in Watts for generations, who has agreed to partner to build an ADU on her property that will serve as an artist residence and makerspace. The goal is to use architecture to provide resources for everyone from local children to artists to home cooks. To that end, we’ve designed an interactive art walk along the property’s 256-foot-long fence line that includes canvases on which local artists can display quarterly exhibitions, a free outdoor library for the community, and a hanging garden with free fruits, vegetables, spices, and seeds, as well as pamphlets that provide growing instructions.

In these ways, “Unearth-ing the Black Aesthetic” is a collaboration with each project’s community, and we continue to speak with them about the approach to this new aesthetic that will be for us and by us. Our goal is for Black communities around the country to rebuild themselves—to take control of our image in architecture, to take control of the perception of our neighborhoods, and to elevate and celebrate Black life and culture.

Get to know Demar Matthews

Demar Matthews is a Los Angeles-based architectural designer and founder/Principal of OffTop Design.

headshot of Demar Matthews

Born in Moreno Valley, CA, Demar received his Bachelor’s from HBCU Lincoln University of PA, and completed his Master’s of architecture at Woodbury University where he was awarded the Graduate Thesis Prize for his project Black Architecture: Unearth-ing the Black Aesthetic. His introduction to the field was through his article “A Black Architecture Education Experience” on archinect. Demar believes architecture and good design should not only be for the privileged. Every community deserves to be proud of the built environment around them, and the built environment around them should be based on the cultures of the people who live there, regardless of income, race, and gender.

Matthews’s dialogue is free and open to the public, and visitors are asked to follow all current guidelines regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. We strongly encourage visitors and our college community to wear masks.

The health of our Volunteer family and the surrounding communities remains our top priority. Due to COVID-19, events in our college are subject to change. Please familiarize yourself with the current COVID-19 protocols on campus. For last-minute changes to this event, check this page as well as the college’s Facebook page.

a building, dancer and grafitti
photos of Black male and female hairstyles

line drawings of altered columns


March 30, 2022
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
No cost


Art + Architecture Building Rm. 109
1715 Volunteer Blvd.
Knoxville TN, TN United States
+ Google Map