Bët-bi: a new museum and community center

Bët-bi is a new museum and center for culture and community in rural Senegal being developed by the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation and Le Korsa. Due to open in early 2025, the museum will be a living and breathing institution with art as its focal point and offer a dedicated education program with a variety of initiatives aimed at engaging local and national communities, as well as performances, film screenings, and other events, all free and open to the public.

Bët-bi’s core goal is to bring the joys of visual art to a population that may not previously have had access to museums, as well as to an international audience, and to bring human beings together through art from all corners of the globe. Bët-bi — which means the eye in Wolof — will be constructed on a site in the vicinity of Kaolack situated in the Senegambia region of West Africa which is renowned for the remarkable ancient stone megaliths that proliferate across this area and includes four UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Mariam Issoufou Kamara, an architect from Niger and founder of the award-winning practice atelier masōmī, has been selected by a jury to lead the design of Bët-bi. The practice, based in Niamey, is guided by the principle that “architecture is an important tool for social change,” with the possibility, through intentional design, to “give dignity and better people’s quality of life.”

Kamara and her team are designing an inspiring, welcoming, and environmentally sustainable center that will comprise indoor and outdoor exhibition, event, and community spaces, a library, a café, and an area for local artisans to showcase and sell their work. To be staffed by a team of locally recruited curators and personnel, the museum intends to partner with a range of institutions in Africa and overseas to facilitate internship and guest curator programs.

We are on our way to building a museum for the 21st century, for everyone, and we’re seeking funding not just to break ground but to build an endowment to ensure Bët-bi can serve its community into the future. Please join us as we reimagine what a museum can be!