In 1939 and '40, psychologists Kenneth and Mamie Clark published papers detailing tests that showed that African-American children routinely chose to play with white dolls over black dolls. With this landmark study on self-image as an inspiration, the 38th annual Black Doll Show honors black girlhood in all its many splendors. Reclaiming the doll as both an affirming archetype and a blank canvas, the exhibition illustrates aspects of the black experience: activism, play (“Double Dutch β€” Black Girlhood” is the show's theme this year), pride and self-worth, and hair β€” as seen through the prism of a child's doll.

William Grant Still Arts Center, 2520 S. West View St., West Adams; Thu., Jan. 3, noon; thru Feb. 16; free. (323) 734-1165, wgsac.wordpress.com/exhibition/annual-black-doll-show.