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Napoleon Jones-Henderson

Napoleon Jones-Henderson was born in 1943 in Chicago, Illinois. Jones-Henderson attended the Sorbonne Student Continuum Student and Artists Center in Paris, France in 1963 where spent one year immersed in an independent study program. Upon returning to the United States, he enrolled in the Art Institute of Chicago and received his B.F.A. degree from there in 1971. Jones-Henderson went on to earn with his M.A. degree from Northern Illinois University in 1971 and his M.F.A. degree from the Maryland Institute College Art in 2005.

In 1968, during the apex of the Chicago Black Arts Movement, Jones-Henderson became involved with a Chicago-based artists’ collective called COBRA (Coalition of Black Revolutionary Artists). The collective changed their name in 1969 to AfriCOBRA (African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists). During the formative years of AfriCOBRA, Jones-Henderson created large pictorial weavings that were included in the group’s important series of exhibitions mounted at the Studio Museum in Harlem in the early 1970s. He has been an active member of AfriCOBRA since 1969 and is the longest standing member of the group. In 2011, Jones-Henderson produced Africobra: Art for the People (2011), a documentary about the groups’ involvement with the 1960s Black Arts Movement.

Jones-Henderson became the Executive Director of the Research Institute of African and African Diaspora Arts, Inc., in Roxbury, Massachusetts in 1979. He then went on to serve in various academic positions at Malcolm X College in Chicago, the Massachusetts College of Arts, Emerson College in Boston. Jones Henderson was appointed adjunct artist critic and lecturer at the Vermont College of Norwich University in Montpelier, Vermont in 1989. In addition, Jones-Henderson served as an artist-in-residence at Towson University, Syracuse University, and the McDonough School. In 2005, Jones-Henderson was appointed associate professor of art at Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina. His artwork is housed at the DuSable Museum of African American History, Schomburg Cdner of Research in Black Culture, Southside Community Art Center, Hampton University Museum, Art Institute of Chicago, and the Studio Museum in Harlem.

In recognition of his art, Jones-Henderson received the Merit of Honor Award from the Walters Art Museum and the Award for Outstanding Recognition from the Museum of Science and Industry. He was also honored by the National Conference of Artists with the Award of Excellence.

Napoleon Jones-Henderson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 22, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.009

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/22/2013

Last Name

Jones-Henderson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Occupation
Schools

George Washington Carver High School

Wilson Junior College

Shore Shore Junior College

School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Northern Illinois University

Maryland Institute College of Art

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Napoleon

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

JON32

Favorite Season

All Seasons Except Winter

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere

Favorite Quote

History Does Not Make Appointments.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Birth Date

11/23/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Boston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Beans (Lima)

Short Description

Mixed media artist Napoleon Jones-Henderson (1943 - ) is director of the Research Institute of African and African Diaspora Arts Inc. and associate professor of art at Benedict College, is the longest standing member of AfriCOBRA.

Employment

Research Institute of African and African Diaspora Arts, Inc.

Benedict College

Vermont College

Emerson College

Roxbury Community College

Massachusetts College of Art and Design

Favorite Color

All Colors

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Napoleon Jones-Henderson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson talks about his maternal grandfather's migration from Alabama to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson talks about the history of Juneteenth and Emancipation Day celebrations across the United States

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson describes his mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson describes his father's life in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson describes his memories of growing up on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson talks about his father's World War II service and how his parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson describes his parents' personalities

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson talks about his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson explains the origin of his first and last names

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson recalls his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson remembers the sights, sounds, and smells of growing up in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson recalls the Hall Library, Regal Theater, and Museum of Science and Industry on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson recalls moving to Chicago's Altgeld Gardens community and attending George Washington Carver High School

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson talks about Pan-Africanist scholar Frederic H. Hammurabi Robb and about Chicago's Chicken Man, Anderson Punch

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson describes the Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson recalls his teachers at George Washington Carver High School in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson recalls his teachers at George Washington Carver High School in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson recalls his elementary school years in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson describes his educators at George Washington Carver High School in Chicago, Illinois including principal Curtis C. Melnick

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson describes the Altgeld Gardens community of Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson describes the Altgeld Gardens community of Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson describes his extracurricular activities at George Washington Carver High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson remembers Sammy Davis, Jr.'s performance at George Washington Carver High School in Chicago, Illinois, and learning to dance

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson describes preparing for college as a student at George Washington Carver High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson recalls receiving a scholarship from the Jewel Tea Company to attend Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson talks about his decision to attend junior college and continue working for Jewel Tea Company after graduating from high school

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson describes receiving a scholarship to study art at the University of Paris in France

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson talks about leaving his position at the Jewel Tea Company to study abroad in Paris, France

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson recounts his journey to Paris, France to study art at the University of Paris

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson describes studying art at the University of Paris in during the summer of 1963

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson describes his travels in Europe during the summer of 1963

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson describes his return to Chicago, Illinois from Paris, France in 1963

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson describes the Black People's Topographical Research Centers on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson describes the intellectual environment of Paris, France in 1963

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson recounts his decision to stop cutting his hair

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson recalls the black community of Chicago, Illinois during the 1960s, the Nation of Islam, and HistoryMaker Margaret Burroughs

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson talks about Malcolm X and black activism in Chicago, Illinois during the 1960s

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson recalls the Black Arts organizations in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson talks about his interest in African textiles in art of the African Diaspora

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson recalls a lecture by Whitney Halstead on African art at the Art Institute of Chicago

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson recalls receiving a fellowship from the Art Institute of Chicago to study African art and art of the African Diaspora

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson talks about his religious upbringing

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson describes his grandmother's religious beliefs and the spiritual importance of family and African heritage

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson recalls the formation of AfriCOBRA in 1968, civil unrest in Chicago, Illinois, and the Wall of Respect mural project

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson talks about AfriCOBRA and the desire to foster a uniquely African American artistic tradition

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson describes AfriCOBRA's aesthetics and the role of the image-maker

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson describes AfriCOBRA's first exhibition, at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York in 1970

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson talks about the National Conference of Artists

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson explains the aesthetic principles of AfriCOBRA's works

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson talks about HistoryMaker Wadsworth A. Jarrell, Sr.'s Wall of Respect mural

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson talks about the Afro-Arts Theater and the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson describes the network of African American cultural and political organizations in Chicago, Illinois in the late 1960s

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson talks about his mentors at the Art Institute of Chicago, including HistoryMakers Margaret Burroughs and Richard Hunt

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson talks about his fellowship with textile artist Claire Zeisler and the founding of Ankh Studio

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson explains the roles of African art and Egyptian symbols in the Black Arts Movement

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson talks about Raah Bird and the Ankh Studio in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson describes the South Shore community of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson recalls teaching at Malcolm X College in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson describes Malcolm X College in Chicago, Illinois, and how it has changed since the 1970s

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson lists artists involved in AfriCOBRA, including Omar Lama

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson talks about muralists Calvin B. Jones, Mitchell Caton, William Walker and Eugene Eda, and other artists

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson recalls studying textile arts under Mahboob Shahzaman at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson talks about marrying Annette Jones and moving to Boston, Massachusetts to teach at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson talks about teaching at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson talks about buying the Edward Everett Hale House in Roxbury, Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson describes the history of his home and studio, the Edward Everett Hale House in Roxbury, Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson describes cultural events at the Edward Everett Hale House in Roxbury, Boston, Massachusetts, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson recalls the 1999 Juneteenth celebration at the Edward Everett Hale House in Roxbury, Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson contrasts the political and social environments of Chicago, Illinois and Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson recounts his 1979 arrest in Detroit, Michigan, pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson recounts his 1979 arrest in Detroit, Michigan, pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson talks about NCA artists in Detroit, Michigan, including HistoryMakers Willis Bing Davis, Jon Onye Lockard, and Tyree Guyton

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson talks about accepting an offer to teach at Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson describes challenges he faced teaching students at Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson remembers a controversy in 1999 over the flying of a Confederate battle flag over the South Carolina State House

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson talks about employment opportunities for art faculty at historically black colleges and universities

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson recounts his consulting work for USAID in Haiti

Tape: 10 Story: 9 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson describes traveling to Barbados and Mauretania

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson recounts his trip to Mauritania, pt. 1

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson recounts his trip to Mauritania, pt. 2

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson recalls Festac '77, the Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture, in Lagos, Nigeria

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson talks about experiencing a spiritual connection to Africa at Festac '77 in Lagos, Nigeria

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson talks about the people he met in Nigeria during Festac '77

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson describes his visit to the Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove of Osogbo, Nigeria

Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson reflects upon Festac '77 and the presidential election of HistoryMaker Barack Obama

Tape: 12 Story: 1 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson recalls the contrast between luxury guest accommodations and local poverty in Nigeria during Festac '77

Tape: 12 Story: 2 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson talks about his plans for the future

Tape: 12 Story: 3 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 12 Story: 4 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 12 Story: 5 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson describes his family

Tape: 12 Story: 6 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson talks about his desire to preserve his artworks and his books

Tape: 12 Story: 7 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 13 Story: 1 - Napoleon Jones-Henderson narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$7

DAStory

4$9

DATitle
Napoleon Jones-Henderson recalls his teachers at George Washington Carver High School in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2
Napoleon Jones-Henderson talks about his mentors at the Art Institute of Chicago, including HistoryMakers Margaret Burroughs and Richard Hunt
Transcript
Now was Carver [George Washington Carver High School, Chicago, Illinois] rather new, I mean new when you when you moved out there (unclear)--$$No, no, it was an old, old--well, it might have been new in the sense that the high school building might have been built in the '50s [1950s], early '50s [1950s], before I moved out there. But the older part of the school, which were single-story long structures, because Altgeld Gardens [Chicago, Illinois] was built right after World War II, as those sort of settlements they were building around the country for relocation of military and their families. Brother Green, Thomas Green [ph.], the English teacher, he was friends with, and it's not surprising when I think about it, they were all colleagues together with Lorraine Hansberry, and Gwendolyn Brooks, and [HM] Margaret Burroughs, and you know, you go on down the line. All of these people were a part of the people who taught me at George Washington Carver High School. And actually, when Lorraine Hansberry's 'A Raisin in the Sun' was on Broadway, because of that friendship with my teachers, T. Green, we were the only persons outside of the Broadway production who were given rights to perform 'A Raisin in the Sun' while it was on Broadway (laughter).$$So were in it? Did you, did--$$Walter Lee.$$Okay.$$Yep. I still got my script and all my notes. And--$$Now that's some, that's basic, that's one of the lead roles--$$Hey--$$--in the play.$$--you know.$$Yeah, the role played role played by Sidney Poitier and other great actors.$$Yeah, but I don't think they did as good a job as I did--$$Okay (laughter).$$--'cause see, I'm from Chicago (laughter).$$Okay.$$But, yeah, so we had a, we had a deep education in terms of our school being populated by artistically engaged faculty. And I mean they, they didn't just--we didn't have a relationship with them just in school. We had relationships with them after school as well, 'cause they were very much committed to that community of students beyond the classroom, 'cause Helen used to, Mrs. Joyner [ph.] used to take us out to tile companies and get all the broken tiles or out to bottled soda distributors and get all the broken bottles that they'd have, 'cause back then they used to put soda in glass bottles. Yeah, we'd get all that broken glass, and we'd get ceramic tiles. And we'd go to fabric stores and get all the leftover fabric. And you know, she just opened up where that art was more than painting, and drawing, and sculpting. It was anything you can do with the stuff you do things with. And so she would have us, and our parents were very comfortable in lettin' us do whatever the teachers wanted after school, and they'd take us to do different things. And they were really, they were just an extension of our family.$In terms of that, just speaking about that, I mean, I, I haven't asked you who your, other than high school, I haven't asked you who your mentors were. And did you have a particular mentor at, at Art Institute [of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois], and was there, was there any particular mentors amongst the older artists in Chicago [Illinois]?$$Yeah, well, you know, Marion Perkins, and [HM] Margaret Burroughs, and Charlie Burroughs [Charles Gordon Burroughs], and [HM] Richard Hunt of course 'cause I knew about him because he had gone to the Art Institute, and he graduated in '55 [1955]. And, and serendipitously I guess you could say, since he graduated in 1955 and won a traveling fellowship from the Art Institute, no other black person had won one until I did in 1971. So, I mean, you know, take that, you know, so those and Etheline [ph.] Henderson, who was a ceramist and [HM] Geraldine McCullough, sculpturist, I mean, you know, all these different people, and Bill Walker [William Walker], and you know, on and on and on. I, those, particularly those who were older than me, I knew about them when I was at the Art Institute. And in our--quote--"activism" at the Art Institute, the handful of black students I mentioned were, that were students there, lobbied the school for--(unclear)--you need to get some black instructors here. And of course, the first thing they say, "We don't know no black artists." Oh, I do, we do. And so we just, we just pull it a lit--you know, we went from Jeff [HM Jeff Donaldson], from Margaret to Jeff. And he was doing his graduate work at Northwestern [University, Chicago, Illinois] then. And of course, they brought Margaret in to teach a class, and that's fine, 'cause we, we done, we're not trying to get the whole door. We just want the doorknob now. We'll get the hinge next, we get this part; we, you know, we move on to the whole thing. And even for the fellowship competition, the way they invite jurors into judge, and we said no, you've got to have some black artists as a part of this jury. You know, you've got black graduates here, so how is it that you cannot--and there are black artists out here, so we gave them a whole list of people. And of course, they, they took [HM] David Driskell--not so much of course, but they took David Driskell 'cause he was the most prominent academic artist out there at the time. This was '71 [1971]. So--$$That's right.$$--Driskell came in and was a part of the jury. And so, all of these were people--you know, I knew of, of Aaron Douglas, and I knew of you know, Hale Woodruff, and you know, all these people. And I, and, and I knew about them because of being in, in, in, connected to Margaret Burroughs, you know, and her being the well-spring of information. And at an NCA conference, I mean, you know, Margaret had you by your collar, not by your hand, but by your shirt collar, taking you around saying: well, this is Charles White, this is Elizabeth--(unclear)--this is--(unclear)--you need to sit down here with this person and talk to them, sat us down there, and she'd go off someplace else. So we had to get engaged with these people, so they became my mentors from afar. But the ones who were up close and personal was Margaret, you know. And so, through Margaret, I mean, you know, that was like having a job, being with Margaret, 'cause she put you to work. I mean you had to go to this; you had to do that; you had do this; you had do that, and all, all it was about was giving us the stuff we need to have to go forward, you know. She was committed. And from her level of commitment, which was the same as I was speaking about my high school teachers, it became mine. Like I said, you had to choose not to be an activist if you grew up in Chicago.

Brenda Singletary

Artist Brenda Singletary was born on May 23, 1954 in Detroit, Michigan. She received her B.A. degree in art education from Morris Brown College. Prior to becoming a fulltime visual artist, she worked several years in television broadcasting until 1985.

Singletary’s original pieces are done in oil, enamel, acrylic, gold leaf, and pastels; they range from figurative and abstract to floral and landscapes. Singletary’s experience in broadcasting, along with her artistic dedication, created a unique artistic career that is centered on projects to help support community non-profits. She has raised funds for organizations such as The March of Dimes, 100 Black Women and 100 Black Men, United Negro College Fund, the Atlanta Day Shelter, the Senior Connection, and the National Black MBA Association.

Singletary served two years as a panel judge for the President’s Commission on White House Fellows. Her artwork is a part of the White House permanent art collection and hangs in the conference room of the White House Fellows Administration Office and the Georgia State Capital.

In 2001, Singletary was invited by the White House as the guest lecturer for a luncheon hosted by the President’s Commission on White House Fellows to speak on current events and express her views as an African American artist.

Collectors of Singletary’s work include Andrew Young, Hank Aaron, Terry McMillan, Thurbert Baker and Marion Wright Edelman. She has been presented with the American Express Cultural Arts Award, the Golden Sable Award from the United Negro College Fund, and the Daimler-Chrysler Motion through Expression Art Competition Award.

As an advocate of community arts, Singletary has worked with Atlanta-area high schools and facilitated seminars for students who wish to express themselves creatively.

Singletary lives in Stone Mountain, Georgia.

Singletary was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 16, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.011

Sex

Female

Interview Date

1/16/2007 |and| 1/17/2007

Last Name

Singletary

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Hillger Elementary School

Barbour Magnet Middle School

Oakland University

Morris Brown College

Kettering High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Brenda

Birth City, State, Country

Detroit

HM ID

SIN01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Michigan

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

5/23/1954

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pizza

Short Description

Mixed media artist Brenda Singletary (1954 - ) was an artist whose original pieces are done in oil, enamel, acrylic, gold leaf, and pastels; they range from figurative and abstract to floral and landscapes. Singletary's artistic career was centered on projects to help support community non-profits.

Employment

WSB-TV Atlanta

11Alive Atlanta

WTVC Chattanooga

WGCL Atlanta

Independent Artist

Favorite Color

Blue, Purple

Timing Pairs
0,0:3182,115:4070,132:7712,165:8209,174:9274,186:9629,192:10055,200:15025,343:16658,366:17155,374:17439,379:22652,402:23163,410:26667,478:27032,484:28784,520:38628,674:45732,827:47878,879:48766,894:49950,921:58174,1005:58482,1013:62486,1073:63179,1088:63795,1097:64719,1124:66875,1169:88148,1421:89296,1434:98206,1530:98596,1536:102340,1638:102652,1643:103042,1649:104602,1681:123535,1929:124055,1938:124380,1944:124965,1953:133964,2099:134948,2112:135686,2126:137736,2176:138064,2181:140770,2260:141426,2270:149520,2329:149880,2335:151000,2354$0,0:1968,27:4761,71:5125,76:5853,85:6490,95:11313,177:12678,198:13133,207:15863,252:16773,263:19940,284:20954,300:21266,305:22202,318:23060,334:24464,370:25400,384:29738,439:30518,453:30986,460:33710,484:33970,489:34555,499:35335,512:36830,537:37610,551:38650,577:39040,584:40015,602:41445,632:42030,644:43980,698:44370,706:44955,717:46775,758:47165,765:51060,773:52110,793:52560,800:53760,824:58098,882:58710,892:59730,909:60954,943:61362,950:61702,956:62518,972:63810,1006:65850,1038:66258,1046:72486,1109:73410,1123:74250,1137:75510,1158:76266,1168:77190,1190:78030,1201:79038,1216:79878,1228:82314,1282:90468,1395:91170,1405:93772,1427:98152,1495:102313,1579:104868,1630:108100,1646:109220,1666:109570,1672:109920,1678:110480,1689:114808,1781:116056,1798:117400,1814:118168,1823:118552,1828:121528,1886:125950,1911:126535,1921:126990,1929:129070,1967:129915,1984:130630,1998:133490,2064:134010,2076:134465,2085:135180,2099:142870,2194:143220,2200:144200,2215:146090,2255:148190,2307:148750,2316:149100,2322:156055,2375:159240,2428:161788,2489:162243,2495:168530,2536:169594,2551:169898,2556:170202,2561:172026,2595:173900,2607
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Brenda Singletary's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Brenda Singletary lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Brenda Singletary describes her family background in Clarksdale, Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Brenda Singletary describes her maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Brenda Singletary describes her maternal great-grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Brenda Singletary describes her mother's life

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Brenda Singletary describes her father

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Brenda Singletary lists her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Brenda Singletary describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Brenda Singletary describes her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Brenda Singletary describes childhood Christmas celebrations

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Brenda Singletary recalls her schools in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Brenda Singletary describes her art classes in elementary school

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Brenda Singletary recalls attending Detroit's Saunders Memorial A.M.E. Church

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Brenda Singletary lists her schools in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Brenda Singletary describes attending Barbour Junior High School

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Brenda Singletary remembers the music she enjoyed as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Brenda Singletary recalls her homeroom teacher at Barbour Junior High School

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Brenda Singletary describes her extracurricular activities

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Brenda Singletary remembers Detroit's Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Brenda Singletary remembers Charles F. Kettering Senior High School

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Brenda Singletary remembers the pressure from her parents to study teaching

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Brenda Singletary recalls winning an art contest in high school

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Brenda Singletary describes her high school music teacher

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Brenda Singletary recalls her admission to Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Brenda Singletary remembers attending Oakland University

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Brenda Singletary recalls her decision to attend Morris Brown College

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Brenda Singletary remembers her arrival at Morris Brown College

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Brenda Singletary describes her art classes at Morris Brown College

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Brenda Singletary describes her early artwork

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Brenda Singletary recalls her aspiration to become a professional artist

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Brenda Singletary recalls leaving Morris Brown College

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Brenda Singletary recalls working for WWSB-TV in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Brenda Singletary remembers her internship at WXIA-TV

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Brenda Singletary recalls African American television news reporters

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Brenda Singletary describes working in community affairs at WXIA-TV

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Brenda Singletary talks about WXIA-TV reporter John Pruitt

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Brenda Singletary recalls leaving her position at WSB-TV

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Brenda Singletary describes working at WTVC-TV in Chattanooga, Tennessee

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Brenda Singletary remembers interviewing Reverend Jesse L. Jackson

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Brenda Singletary recalls a Ku Klux Klan rally in Chattanooga, Tennessee

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Brenda Singletary remembers working as a private investigator

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Brenda Singletary describes her work as an organ tuner

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Brenda Singletary remembers working at WGCL-TV in Atlanta, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Brenda Singletary remembers working at WGCL-TV in Atlanta, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Brenda Singletary remembers selling her art to the Tritt Gallery

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Brenda Singletary remembers how she learned about the art market

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Brenda Singletary talks about selling on consignment

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Brenda Singletary remembers selling her artwork on a national circuit

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Brenda Singletary recalls partnering with nonprofit organizations as an artist

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Brenda Singletary describes her artistic styles

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Brenda Singletary describes the arts community in Atlanta, Georgia, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Brenda Singletary describes the arts community in Atlanta, Georgia, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Brenda Singletary recalls gender discrimination she experienced as an artist

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Brenda Singletary describes the collectors of her art

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Brenda Singletary talks about selling her art in California

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Brenda Singletary describes what she does with her unwanted paintings

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Brenda Singletary describes her art burning fundraisers, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Brenda Singletary describes her art burning fundraisers, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Brenda Singletary describes her work with the White House Fellows program

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Brenda Singletary talks about the White House Fellows program

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Brenda Singletary recalls speaking to the White House Fellows

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Brenda Singletary lists the nonprofit organizations she supported

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Brenda Singletary recalls creating an art library for the White House Fellows

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Brenda Singletary reflects upon her life

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Brenda Singletary shares her advice for aspiring artists

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Brenda Singletary describes her favorite artists

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Brenda Singletary describes her concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Brenda Singletary shares her advice for aspiring art collectors

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Brenda Singletary describes the value of art reproductions

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Brenda Singletary narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Brenda Singletary narrates her photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$5

DAStory

8$4

DATitle
Brenda Singletary recalls winning an art contest in high school
Brenda Singletary recalls partnering with nonprofit organizations as an artist
Transcript
Well, did he [Singletary's high school art teacher, Mr. Yost (ph.)] see your talent?$$Yes, he did. He was the one that got me into that art competition. There was this art competition every year in Detroit [Michigan]. It's featured by one of our major department stores, called Hudson's [J.L. Hudson Company, Detroit, Michigan] and the New York, no New York, the Detroit Free Press, and I entered a fashion illustration and it won one the prizes, one of many. It wasn't the first prize, but it was one of the prizes that was given out. And I remembered my picture later being in the paper with my parents [Mattie Hicks Singletary and James Singletary] and everybody at school was excited about it. I said hey, I like this, publicity too, and I win a prize, and, you know, I said I like this art thing, you know, I really like this. And I didn't have to get up in front of people and say anything or didn't have to raise my hand, they just took my picture and they did everything for me, so I liked that, I liked that a lot. So when I, I did think about a future in college, I was thinking more along the lines of an artist, but I was still struggling trying to find some kind of mentor, someone who was doing this, that I could say, okay, I can do this. Or tell my parents, see, he's an artist or she's an artist, you know. But I just didn't know where to look.$$So, by the teacher helping you to get into this competition, what happened? Did you being to do more artwork to get into other competitions? What happened after that initial contest (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Well, I was truly inspired, I was truly inspired that other people thought it was important enough to put in the paper. So I say, it's got to be important, what I do has got to be important to somebody, you know. I just hadn't found the audience yet. But, he wasn't really in a position, you know. He was an art teacher, he didn't know anything other than art education. So, he did as much as he could for me. He just encouraged me to go on and study art in college, but he didn't say you could become a professional artist if you study hard or, you know.$$Okay. Was there anyone like that (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) No, no.$$No one. Like you said, you just could not really find a mentor or anybody that could lead you in the right direction.$$No, no.$And I realized then when I left Channel 46 [WGCL-TV, Atlanta, Georgia] that anything that I do with exhibiting artwork, an art show, a nonprofit organization has to be involved because I learned by being in television that if you're nonprofit, you get television coverage. If you're nonprofit, then that organization supports you in what you do. They will bring their people out to support you. You have an automatic audience and all I have to do is donate part of the proceeds to that nonprofit organization which is a win, win, win situation for everybody. Number one, I really feel so important that the work that I do gives back to the community. That's really important to me. I learned that by working in television. I learned that primarily in public affairs because that's what public affairs did. It worked with nonprofit organizations. And I love that. Then the nonprofit organization had that built-in audience, all those people there supporting that organization. So they would come there with a mission, to buy my work to support the organization, so that's a win for me. So, it just really worked well, and for coverage I could get newspaper coverage, I could get television coverage, just because I'm helping this nonprofit organization, just because I'm helping them. I said, that is so wonderful. And so I changed my title. Instead of just being an artist, I'm a community service artist. So I really liked that so every exhibit that I do, it is to benefit some nonprofit. Now, I don't bring the newspapers or try to get coverage for everything that I do, because a lot of the fundraisers are in people's homes, because nonprofits, their whole goal is to raise money (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Money.$$--without spending a lot of money. So because I was so prolific, I put together this huge show at the Woodruff Arts Center [Atlanta, Georgia], large paintings, and the community affairs director at the Woodruff Arts Center, David Manuel, he helped me get that show. He was the, he worked in the facilities department at that time. They had nothing to do with art, but they let me do the show. So I brought in Remy Martin, they sponsored it and all these other sponsors came in and it was a huge show. It was fabulous. It was one of the largest events for the National Black Arts Festival that year. Martin Luther King III was there. I had never met him before, just a number of people came. It was just very exciting for me. This was my first really big art show, huge art show, so I really enjoyed that very much. And then I had a direction with my art.

Kevin Cole

Art professor and mixed media artist Kevin E. Cole was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas on January 19, 1960 to Jessie and Sam Cole, Jr. He received his B.S. degree in art education from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff in 1982; his M.A. degree in art education a year later, and his M.F.A degree in drawing from Northern Illinois University in 1984.

Cole began his art career as an art teacher at Camp Creek Middle School in College Park, Georgia in 1985. At the same time, he also became an adjunct oprofessor at Georgia State University’s School of Art and Design where he remained until 1998. In 1990, Cole was chairperson of the visual and performing arts magnet program of Tri-Cities High School in East Point, Georgia until 1994. Later, in 2003, he became the chairman of the Fine Arts Department at Westlake High School where created the school's first arts program. Cole’s artwork is well known for including imagery of neckties as symbols of power and emphasizes the relationship between color and music, particularly jazz, blues, hip-hop, and gospel. He incorporates patterns and textures from traditional African cloths to speak to human conditions and behaviors.

In 1994, Cole was commissioned by the Coca-Cola Company to create a fifteen story mural celebrating the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia. The mural took two years to create and was a little over 800 square feet. He has been featured in Who’s Who in Education and received the Award of Excellence for Public Art by the Atlanta Urban Design Commission.

Cole was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 15, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.009

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/15/2007

Last Name

Cole

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Pine Bluff High School

University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff

University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

Northern Illinois University

Indiana Street Elementary School

Belair Middle School

Southeast Junior High School

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Evenings, Weekends

First Name

Kevin

Birth City, State, Country

Pine Bluff

HM ID

COL12

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Youth, Teens

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - $500 - $1,000

Favorite Season

Spring

Speaker Bureau Notes

Preferred Audience: Youth, Teens

State

Arkansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Forests, Water

Favorite Quote

There's No Limit Of What A Man Can Do And Where He Can Go If It Doesn't Matter Who Gets The Credit. You Learn Through The Process Of Doing.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

1/19/1960

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Cabbage

Short Description

Mixed media artist and art professor Kevin Cole (1960 - ) was an adjunct professor at Georgia State University's School of Art and Design until 1998. From 1992, Cole's artwork evolved from the use of the necktie as an icon, motif and symbol of power. His work emphasized the relationship between color and music, particularly jazz, blues, rap, and gospel.

Employment

Westlake High School

North Springs Charter High School

Georgia State University

Tri-Cities High School

Favorite Color

Brown

Timing Pairs
0,0:41112,717:70620,968:75250,1180:110240,1690:159492,2569:173690,2727:174062,2732:191962,2996:208500,3162:209445,3172:216060,3323:232412,3702:256415,4056:258490,4094:258822,4099:259154,4104:265047,4358:276322,4616:281943,4731:299491,4999:317260,5221$0,0:5320,98:7525,306:42978,706:50161,778:62072,973:73084,1117:74002,1137:75226,1175:85701,1333:102885,1573:106845,1606:111265,1714:125630,1909:136640,2057:137080,2068:144346,2175:147636,2240:149892,2293:155646,2367:162420,2548:185842,2703:197566,2890:203342,2937:226360,3296:227900,3319:238092,3437:243000,3503
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Kevin Cole's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Kevin Cole lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Kevin Cole describes his paternal grandfather, Sam Cole, Sr.

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Kevin Cole describes his maternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Kevin Cole describes his father

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Kevin Cole talks about his father's education and military career

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Sam Cole describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Kevin Cole describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Kevin Cole describes lessons from his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Sam Cole describes how his mother and father met

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Kevin Cole lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Kevin Cole talks about growing up in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Sam Cole describes Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Sam Cole talks about his daily life as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Sam Cole describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Sam Cole describes his experience at Indiana Street Elementary School

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Sam Cole remembers discovering his talent for art

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Kevin Cole describes his experience at the integrated Belair Middle School

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Kevin Cole describes his parents' political views

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Kevin Cole describes his education at Belair Middle School in Pine Bluff

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Kevin Cole describes growing up on the east side of Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Kevin Cole remembers Southeast Junior High School in Pine Bluff

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Kevin Cole describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Kevin Cole remembers his early mentors

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Kevin Cole describes his experience at Pine Bluff High School

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Kevin Cole recalls his mentors at University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Tape: 2 Story: 15 - Kevin Cole talks about his artistic mentors' awards

Tape: 2 Story: 16 - Kevin Cole describes how his artwork developed in college

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Kevin Cole lists his art professors at University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Kevin Cole describes his experience pledging Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Kevin Cole talks about Halima Taha's book

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Kevin Cole recalls racial discrimination at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Kevin Cole describes his artistic process at graduate school

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Kevin Cole describes pursuing his Master of Fine Arts degree [MFA]

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Kevin Cole talks about his experience as an African American artist

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Kevin Cole talks about racial discrimination in the art world

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Kevin Cole talks about his student, Kara Walker

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Kevin Cole talks about artists he admires

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Kevin Cole remember his early teaching career

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Kevin Cole recalls his commission to create a mural at Atlanta City Hall

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Kevin Cole describes the visual performing arts magnet program at Tri-Cities High School

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Kevin Cole talks about his art made from bent wood

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Kevin Cole recalls being commissioned for the 1996 Summer Olympics

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Kevin Cole talks about collaborating on the 1996 Summer Olympics mural

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Kevin Cole describes his career after painting the 1996 Summer Olympics mural

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Kevin Cole talks about his future career plans

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Kevin Cole talks about other artists that he admires

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Kevin Cole describes the subjects of his recent work

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Kevin Cole shares a message for future generations

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Kevin Cole describes his concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Kevin Cole talks about the importance of art education

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Kevin Cole describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Kevin Cole lists some of the proprietors of his art

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Kevin Cole talks about his children, Skylar Cole and Nia Cole

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Kevin Cole narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

14$4

DATitle
Kevin Cole recalls his mentors at University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
Kevin Cole recalls being commissioned for the 1996 Summer Olympics
Transcript
So, you decide to go to work--to college, and tell me about your first experience when you get, get to college.$$Well, okay. When I decided to attend University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff [Pine Bluff, Arkansas], I went out for an interview and I talked to this guy. His name was John--the late John Howard, and I know there were a lot of people trying to become artists at Pine Bluff. And Mr. Howard, he took me around and I had these drawings and took me around to all the faculty, and Ernest Davidson, the--'cause I was doing sculpture, Ernest Davidson was the sculpture teacher. He just died recently. And then there was--[HistoryMaker] Henri Linton was on leave. The one that stood--that stood out to me the most was this guy named Tarrance Corbin, guy about maybe 5'6", 5'7". And everybody was ranting and raving over my portfolio. I took my portfolio to him. He looked at it, he said, "It's typical seventeen-year-old work." I got outside, I said, "You know what? That little short man, he think he bad," (laughter). And he became my--he--he's still--he--I'm his--I'm his godson. We, we talk--we talk every--we talk at least three times a week. I never knew he would be that mentor for me. And I always say when my career has gone--I've, I've always had good, good, good mentors. Ernest Davidson, who recently just passed away, he was the one that, that--he was that calm part of it, for me. And Ernest--and, and so that's why if you notice, I do paint and sculptures because I would've been torn between painting and sculpture. So my--I do paint, paint and sculpture or I'm doing metal now. And the late John Howard was the one that got me involved in, in like--in like education. And I always would wonder about Mr. Howard. I'm like--I'll never--I'll never forget, I had a painting class--well, at that time, Mr. Howard--in 1980, Mr. Howard, he was--he, he had gotten old. Whenever you would ask him to come upstairs to look at your painting, he'll tell you he couldn't come up to look at your painting, but--so, you had to bring your painting down for him, him to see, all right. And I would do at a time. He said, you have a nice painting. But then, you see Mr. Howard in the hallway, he'd tell you, "Cole [HistoryMaker Kevin Cole], nice painting you got upstairs." I'm like, "How'd you get upstairs?" "'Cause you never bring it up." And I'll, I'll never forget taking a class with him, and taking a class with Mr. Howard, and in my painting class with him, Mr. Howard, he would beat me up. I had the best painting in the class, he would just beat me up, I mean, tear me up. So this girl named--her name was Dorothy Deportes [ph.]. Dorothy was doing these folk-type paintings. They were real stylized and, and Dorothy would get a A and I'd get a B. "Mr. Howard, but Dorothy can't paint, worth a shit," I would say--but, you know, I would--I would say to myself. So, then at the end of the semester, he said, "You know what? I knew what to say to you. I knew you would always rise to the occasion. You always rise. Even though Dorothy couldn't paint, I had to make Dorothy feel good, like she could." But in my mind, seventeen years old, Dorothy can't paint, okay. I understand what he was trying to do, but his whole thing was, you know, "At the end--at the end of the day, I always wanted to make sure that you would always--I wanted to know each one of my students--." Then--and then I asked, I said, "Mr. Howard, why is it everybody want, want to come to Arkansas Pine Bluff?" He said, "You know what, 'cause--because I know all my people. You gotta know all your students. You gotta know what they're capable of doing, what they're not capable of doing at the end of the day." So I--that philosophy stayed with me as, as I teach. I always trying to build--I'm always trying to build whoever I can up but then push whoever I can on the--on the side, say, "Okay, this is where you can be and this is what you can be."$$Okay. So you had some great mentors--$$Oh--$$--your first year of college. Now, this was in 1978 'cause you graduated from high school [Pine Bluff High School, Pine Bluff, Arkansas]--$$Yeah, in--$$--in--$$Yeah, I graduated in '78 [1978].$$--nineteen seventy-eight [1978], and you went straight to college.$$I went straight to college. I went to--and then--and then another mentor, like Henri, Henri, Henri Linton who's still the chairman of the department. And, and we've talked to--and we've talked--we've talked about me coming back and being chairman but I don't think I'm, I'm gonna do that. But he was the one--he's one of the ones that stayed with me until the end and, and made you work. It was just it. I mean, he'd tell you to work all day, work all night, always be--always be prepared, always be better. And I think with him and Tarrance Corbin, a lot of commissions I've got--you know, commission of Michael Jordan, commission for the Olympics [1996 Summer Olympics, Atlanta, Georgia]. See, I learned--I learned how to do murals when I--when I was seventeen years old. I was working as an apprentice for Tarrance Corbin and doing things, things for him, washing out paint brushes, blocking in shapes, so that was easy for me.$So, what happens--you, you were at Tri-City [Tri-Cities High School, East Point, Georgia] from--$$From 1990--$$Ninety [1990] to ninety-four [1994].$$--to '94 [1994]. Well, in 1994, and then I was represented by the, the, the McIntosh Gallery here, here in Atlanta [Georgia], which I always tell the story that she, she, she had some of the top African American artists in the country. She gave Romare Bearden his first show. She gave Benny Andrews his first one and gave John Scott [John T. Scott]. And I was represented by her. And when, when the--when The Coca-Cola Company [Atlanta, Georgia] became official sponsor of the Olympics [1996 Summer Olympics, Atlanta, Georgia], they kept asking, who's able to do large scale pieces of artwork? My name kept coming up. And another guy knew her from Coke, said, you know what? Her name is Louisa [Louisa McIntosh Edwards], Louisa, can we talk to this guy? They came over and they--and they talked to me about, about, about, you know, about they wanted to do. And they told me the artists they looked at. So, she and I talked. I said, well, you know what? I think that they are just interviewing me as a part of the process because--and, and, and because I'm black. So I went on, I started to do--I said, well, you know, I really wanna--I really wanna do something for the Olympics. And how you do a 15 story mural, you never touch the wall, they give you what you ask for, and I came in, I, I--my--I said, I, I know what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna do it on--I'm gonna do it on a--I'm gonna do it on like a vinyl, came in with my presentation. I said, gentleman, how many days you--well, you gotta look at it--now, if you want somebody to get this mural done by the time of the Olympics, how many days--I'm looking at how many days it rained from 1990 'til 1994, how many days it was over 40 degrees, how many days it was under 80 degrees, how many days it snowed, how many miles an hour that the wind is going one way. If a person is trying to paint this on a wall that--on a scaffold painting, they would never get it done. Let me--let me introduce you to a vinyl. The vinyl lasts, lasts between seven and ten years. It'll be--it'll be done in sections. I found a company, company that can install it in. I want this, I want this, I want this. I'm gonna use this, I'm gonna use this, I'm gonna use that. I also wanna hire five of my former students, part of the deal, and if you look in the--look in the lower right-hand corner, everything is copyrighted. I would love to hear from you soon. I got the project.$$Wow. And where does this mural hang?$$It was on the side of, of--it was on the side of a building called Carter Hall, which was the dormitory for Clark Atlanta University [Atlanta, Georgia] students, Georgia State [Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia] students. And it took two years, six months, seventeen days, fourteen hours, and thirty-two minutes. I kept a diary on it. It was--it was--it was one them--one of them--matter of fact, the--it, it was--it was 8200 square feet, bigger than the Sistine Chapel [Apostolic Palace, Vatican City] and which was--which was 7700 square feet, okay? It was one of the largest single-hand projects for any Olympics done, but it was done with the input of the community, whereas the idea was to, to paint the unsung heroes. Then, I used some of my former students. I brought in two artists from the community who I knew to just give them the experience of doing it.

Joyce Owens Anderson

Chicago-based artist, teacher and curator Joyce Owens Anderson was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She grew up in a working class neighborhood in Philadelphia. Owens’ mother, Eloise Owens, was a trained opera singer, who encouraged her daughter to become an art teacher. Nevertheless, Owens attended Howard University, where she earned her B.F.A. degree in art. Owens then attended Yale University, earning her M.F.A. degree in painting. After working various jobs, including arts and crafts director, art teacher, and producer for Philadelphia’s CBS television station, Owens moved to Chicago, Illinois. She then spent eight years working for WBBM-TV, CBS Channel 2 in Chicago as the graphic arts coordinator for news. Owens did additional work for the company as a graphic artist, researcher and news assistant, all the time painting and exhibiting her art.

After Owens had a solo exhibition at Chicago State University she was invited to join the faculty. She has taught there since 1996, specializing in studio painting and drawing. Joyce Owens is known for addressing issues of racism, skin color and black self-determination through her paintings, masks, and installations. Her art materials are primarily acrylic paints on canvas, wood, and paper. Found objects are often incorporated into her two- and three-dimensional works. Owens’ artwork has been shown in juried, invitational, solo and group exhibitions in galleries and museums nationally. Two of her curatorial efforts were singled out by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs as featured programs during Chicago Artists Month. Some other highlights of her career include being selected the featured artist for Columbia College’s fifteenth annual DanceAfrica Chicago Festival; inclusion in Daniel T. Parker’s book African Art: The Diaspora and Beyond; “The Art of Culture” exhibition and catalog that also featured artist/art historian, Samella Lewis; and Howard University’s “A Proud Continuum: Eight Decades of Art at Howard University,” a juried exhibition of former Howard art students including Elizabeth Catlett.

Owens’ work has been featured in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago magazine, The Chicago Reader, New Art Examiner, Rolling Out Chicago, TimeOut Chicago , Chicago’s PBS affiliate’s Art Beat Chicago, CBS2-TV, ABC7-TV Chicago and other magazines and newspapers in Chicago and other cities where her art has been shown.

In 2006, Owens was appointed curator of the Galleries Program at Chicago State University. That same year, she was awarded First Prize by Margaret Hawkins, a critic for ArtNews Magazine, for her Survivor Spirits Installation at the ninth Annual Art Open at Woman Made Gallery in Chicago, having been previously awarded first prize by the artist Faith Ringgold in the 5th International Open. Owens has worked for Random House as a children’s book illustrator and was hired to paint the official portrait of former Chicago mayor Eugene Sawyer, among other commissions and honors. Owens is a long time member of Sapphire and Crystals, a collective of African American women artists, and of the Black Artists of D.C. Owens is featured in the “I’ve Known Rivers” project on the website of the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco, and is an associate editor of the Journal of African American History.

Owens has two sons, Scott and Kyle; she lives in Chicago with her husband, journalist Monroe Anderson.

Bio Photo courtesy of Brent Jones

Accession Number

A2006.140

Sex

Female

Interview Date

11/13/2006

Last Name

Anderson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Owens

Occupation
Schools

Pastorius Francis P Sch

Pratt Arnold School

Germantown High School

Wagner Gen Louis Ms

Yale University

Howard University

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

First Name

Joyce

Birth City, State, Country

Philadelphia

HM ID

OWE01

Favorite Season

All Seasons

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Creativity Is Easy. Production Is Hard.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

7/1/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Vegetables

Short Description

Mixed media artist Joyce Owens Anderson (1947 - ) was an artist and art educator whose artwork was featured in many galleries and publications. She was curator of the Galleries Program at Chicago State University.

Employment

WCAU-TV

WBBM-TV

Chicago State University

Favorite Color

All Colors

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Joyce Owens Anderson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Joyce Owens Anderson lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Joyce Owens Anderson describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls challenges her mother faced due to her complexion

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls how her mother began her singing career

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Joyce Owens Anderson talks about her mother's singing career

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Joyce Owens Anderson describes her maternal family members' musicianship

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Joyce Owens Anderson talks about Philadelphia's social register

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls her decision to attend college

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls her maternal family's involvement in the Elks organization

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Joyce Owens Anderson describes her father

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Joyce Owens Anderson talks about her parents' relationship

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Joyce Owens Anderson describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Joyce Owens Andersons recalls growing up on Philadelphia's York Street

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Joyce Owens Andersons describes the sights and sounds of her childhood, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Joyce Owens Andersons describes the sights and sounds of her childhood, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Joyce Owens Anderson talks about her maternal grandmother

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Joyce Owens Anderson lists her siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Joyce Owens Anderson shares her mother's opinion of gospel singers

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls transferring to Francis D. Pastorius Elementary School

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Joyce Owens Anderson describes her relationship with her siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls her early exposure to art

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Joyce Anderson remembers her childhood interests

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls her mother's civic activities in Philadelphia

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls her educational experiences in Philadelphia

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Joyce Owens Anderson remembers Philadelphia's Camp William Penn

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Joyce Owens Anderson talks about the desegregation of Philadelphia's Girard College

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Joyce Owens Anderson describes her childhood holidays

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Joyce Owens Anderson talks about Philadelphia's Quaker population

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls her family's civil rights activities

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls her mother's theatrical and oratorical activities

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls her early art instruction

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls her appointment as yearbook art editor

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls her decision to attend Howard University, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls her art instructors at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls her decision to attend Howard University, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Joyce Owens Anderson remembers her first year at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls her decision to pursue a M.F.A. degree, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Joyce Owens Anderson reflects upon her art education

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Joyce Owens Anderson talks about Lois Mailou Jones

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Joyce Owens Anderson describes memorable figures at Howard University

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Joyce Owens Anderson describes her art instruction at Howard University

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Joyce Owens Anderson describes her artistic expression

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls her decision to pursue a M.F.A. degree, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Joyce Owens Anderson explains how Howard University prepared her to pursue her M.F.A. degree

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls the selection process for her M.F.A degree program

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls being hired at Philadelphia's WCAU-TV

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls her early career at WBBM-TV in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Joyce Owens Anderson remembers moving to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls becoming graphics coordinator at WBBM-TV in Chicago

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Joyce Owens Anderson reflects upon her time at Chicago's WBBM-TV

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls her involvement in art shows on the East Coast

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Joyce Owens Anderson describes her involvement in Chicago's arts community

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Joyce Owens Anderson lists venues that showed her artwork in Chicago

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Joyce Owens Anderson describes her first impression of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls how her artistic expression developed in Chicago

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Joyce Owens Anderson talks about finding success as an artist

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Joyce Owens Anderson describes her artwork

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Joyce Owen Anderson talks about her artistic process, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Joyce Owens Anderson describes her 'Survivor Spirits' series

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Joyce Owens Anderson describes her artistic process, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls her decision to start a family

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls balancing her television career with painting

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Joyce Owens Anderson talks about experimenting with various artistic media

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls Chicago's 'Black Creativity Juried Art Exhibition'

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls becoming a professor and curator at Chicago State University

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Joyce Owens Anderson recalls curating a faculty art show at Chicago State University

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Joyce Owens Anderson describes Chicago State University's art department

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Joyce Owens Anderson describes her committee involvement in Chicago's arts community

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Joyce Owens Anderson reflects upon her teaching philosophy

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Joyce Owens Anderson reflects upon the value of art and creativity

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Joyce Owens Anderson talks about the inspirations for her artwork

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Joyce Owens Anderson describes her ideal work situation

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Joyce Owens Anderson reflects upon her legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$6

DAStory

9$4

DATitle
Joyce Owens Anderson recalls her art instructors at Howard University
Joyce Owens Anderson recalls balancing her television career with painting
Transcript
I mean, in the, in the '60s [1960s], all the, you know, the, the art teachers I had were the cream of the crop. I couldn't have had better teachers.$$Can we talk about that?$$Sure (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Who was there? Who was there at Howard [Howard University, Washington, D.C.]?$$James Porter [James A. Porter], the father of African American art history. [HistoryMaker] David Driskell, who's his successor, was my teacher. [HistoryMaker] Paul Carter Harrison, who's the renowned filmmaker. I did my first mask and I really only thought about this a couple of weeks ago. I was told by Ed Love, who was my mentor and my teacher, my painting teacher that I should design costumes for Paul Carter Harrison's play and, what was the name, 'Tabernacle,' I think was the name of that play. And so, I said, "Oh, I am?" (Laughter) So he said, "Yes, you are." So I created these masks and Lois Mailou Jones, who is, you know, and I, you know, I was trying to think, was there any other woman. She was the only woman and she was phenomenal. If you, if you wanted to work, she, she conducted the classroom like a Paris [France] salon, that's what she told us, she conducts it like a Paris salon. I model my teaching pretty much after her. She puts up all the work, she demonstrates in front of the students, and let me tell you, that's very difficult to talk to your students and actually paint but it's so important to students for them to see you work so I struggle with that but I do it. She was really, it was easy for her, it seemed easy. Maybe it seems easy to my students, too, I don't know but, and then she hung all the work and then she'd have the students say, well which one is, 'cause the students understood what was the best work and she would say, "What's the best piece?" And I was thrilled to be selected. I got, I had a, that was one of my A classes but she was, she was fabulous. James L. Wells [James Lesesne Wells], who was a printmaking icon. All of these people, if you read any books on African American art from, you know, like the WPA [Works Progress Administration] to, onward, you're going to see all these people represented.$Can you describe your work place, the home you had, you know have, to work out of and how are you balancing being, you know, a young mother and painting and having the discipline to do both?$$Yeah, the discipline wasn't really a problem for me. I don't know, the people who tell me that, you know, how do you--you know, they have problems painting. I think, I mean I think it's probably, you know, like my mother [Eloise Owens Strothers] said that if she couldn't sing, she might as well be dead. She, she would get up, you know, at six o'clock in the morning and she'd vocalize, you know, practice her, her scales. She would go to work, full-time. She would take voice lessons because singers continuously, apparently, so I learned from her, constantly, you know, train their voice. You know, they went to different voice teachers and, to keep her range or to, if she wanted to try to sing in another key, you know, you know, if she wanted to sing like a lower range, she'd have to do something, you know, exercise her vocal chords so that she could do that. And so, I learned from her, I guess, that you find that, you just have to find the time to do something that's important to you. So for me at, when I worked at CBS [WBBM-TV, Chicago, Illinois], I would go to a makeup room. You know they had these little makeup rooms in this back hall and I'd go in there and I'd, and I'd draw, I'd do self-portraits. I did a number of self-portraits in there or I'd draw, I'd draw in the newsroom. I have, I still have drawings of, you know, people sitting around the newsroom. I'd draw, I took the, I took public transportation, I'd draw on the bus. You know, the thing that, again, saving was my mentor, Ed Love because I would, I would feel that I wasn't producing enough, I wasn't being productive enough as an artist, and he told me that everything I do feeds my art, that I don't have to feel that just because I'm not physically, you know, with a brush in my hand or a pencil or a, you know, a drawing tool in my hand, doesn't mean I'm not creating because it's a mental process and I found out even more that it was a mental process when I broke my shoulder when my son was in eighth grade, so whenever that was, and I broke my right shoulder and I couldn't do anything. I had to have surgery to, for them to even put it back together and I'm right-handed and I broke my right shoulder and I started working left-handed and I started doing, I thought I'd work in a medium that I wasn't accustomed to so I started doing, you know, that I didn't do frequently. I told you I studied watercolor in college [Howard University, Washington, D.C.] but it wasn't, watercolor wasn't something I did, and I did it on and off. I did some, you know, in the '80s [1980s] and, but I wasn't, it wasn't my medium of preference, but I started doing watercolors of the flowers that people were sending me and I would send them as thank you notes to people and my husband [HistoryMaker Monroe Anderson], who was working for CBS at the time, he came there after I had been there, said at a, at a, you know, a directors meeting, you know, the general manager and the, all the directors were in a meeting together, and my card had arrived and they said, "Are you sure she did this with her left hand?" (Laughter) You know, because they turned out really well, and that's when I realized that my drawing ability is in my head. It doesn't have anything to do with my hands, it's in my head. So that's why, like a Chuck Close, with a, with physical impairment, can still produce viable artwork.

Willis Bing Davis

Cultural leader Willis “Bing” Davis was born on June 30, 1937, in Greer, South Carolina to Verona Hargro Davis Buffington and Levonia “Lee” Davis, a coal truck driver and gospel singer. Growing up on Dayton, Ohio’s, East Side, Davis attended Washington Elementary School. An All-City basketball player at six feet four inches tall, Davis graduated from Wilbur Wright High School in 1955. Assisted by coach Dean Dooley, Davis entered DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, where his classmate was Vernon Jordan. Graduating in 1959, Davis taught art at Dayton’s Colonel White High School. He attended the Dayton Art Institute and earned his Master of Education degree from Oxford, Ohio’s, Miami University in 1967. Later, from 1975 to 1976, he pursued graduate studies at Indiana University.

Returning to DePauw University in 1970, Davis served as assistant dean of art and coordinator of Black Studies – as the only black faculty member. In 1973, Davis attended his first meeting of the National Conference of Artists (NCA) and made his first trip to Africa (Ghana). Davis was appointed assistant dean of the graduate school and associate professor of art at Miami University in 1976. That same year, Davis held his first one man show at the Studio Museum of Harlem. In 1978, Davis was invited to chair the Art Department and to become director of the new Paul Robeson Cultural and Performing Arts Center by Dr. Arthur E. Thomas of Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio. Davis, who served on Central State University’s faculty for twenty years, also was a visiting scholar at the University of Dayton and an artist in residence at Wright State University.

Davis has an illustrious record as an artist and curator including exhibitions at the American Craft Museum, the Renwick Gallery, Maryland Institute College of Art and Design, Savannah College of Art and Design, Anacotia Museum, National Museum of Art of Senegal, West Africa, United States Embassy Accra, Ghana, and Museum fur Angewandte Kunst in Frankfort, Germany. Davis was visiting artist-lecturer for Panafest 94 in Accra, Ghana. In 1997, Davis received the Ohio Art Educator of the Year Award. He received the 1999 Global Youth Peace and Tolerance Award and the 2001 Ohioan Pegasus Award. Davis is president of the board of directors of the National Conference of Artists. Davis also established EbonNia Gallery in the developing Wright/Dunbar neighborhood of Dayton’s West Side.

A hometown cultural hero, Davis has a grown daughter and lives in Dayton with his wife, Audrey.

Accession Number

A2006.044

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/20/2006

Last Name

Davis

Maker Category
Middle Name

Bing

Organizations
Schools

Wilbur Wright High School

Washington Elementary School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Willis

Birth City, State, Country

Greer

HM ID

DAV17

Favorite Season

Spring

State

South Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Accra, Ghana

Favorite Quote

Reach High And Reach Back. Always Walk With Dust On Your Shoes.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Ohio

Birth Date

6/30/1937

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Dayton

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

Mixed media artist and art professor Willis Bing Davis (1937 - ) became the director of the Paul Robeson Cultural and Performing Arts Center in 1979. Davis is president of the board of directors of the National Conference of Artists, and also established the EbonNia Gallery in the developing Wright/Dunbar neighborhood of Dayton's west side.

Favorite Color

Rust Orange

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Willis Bing Davis' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Willis Bing Davis lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Willis Bing Davis describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Willis Bing Davis describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Willis Bing Davis describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Willis Bing Davis shares how his parents met and their personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Willis Bing Davis remembers the African American community in East Dayton, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Willis Bing Davis shares his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Willis Bing Davis remembers the works of art made by members of his family

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Willis Bing Davis describes his mother's practice of shape note singing

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Willis Bing Davis describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood in Dayton, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Willis Bing Davis talks about playing basketball in his community

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Willis Bing Davis recalls the encouragement he received from his basketball coach, Dean Dooley, at Wilbur Wright High School

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Willis Bing Davis talks about developing his skills as an athlete and an artist

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Willis Bing Davis describes the athletic competition in East Dayton, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Willis Bing Davis recalls visiting and enrolling at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Willis Bing Davis describes his experience at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Willis Bing Davis recalls working with HistoryMaker Vernon Jordan at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Willis Bing Davis remembers his mentors at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Willis Bing Davis recalls the artists in his neighborhood and his introduction to African American art

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Willis Bing Davis talks about his athletic achievements at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Willis Bing Davis describes his experience playing basketball in the Amateur Athletic Union

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Willis Bing Davis describes his approach to playing basketball in the Amateur Athletic Union

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Willis Bing Davis talks about recording with his doo-wop group and becoming a teacher after college, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Willis Bing Davis talks about recording with his doo-wop group and becoming a teacher after college, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Willis Bing Davis recalls becoming director of the art program for the Living Arts Center in Dayton, Ohio in 1967

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Willis Bing Davis lists some of the artists he brought to the Living Arts Center in Dayton, Ohio

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Willis Bing Davis shares his philosophy on teaching art

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Willis Bing Davis recalls the demise of the Living Arts Center in Dayton, Ohio and accepting a position at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Willis Bing Davis describes his experience on the faculty of DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Willis Bing Davis describes his first experience with the National Conference of Artists in 1973

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Willis Bing Davis remembers organizing his first trip to Africa in 1973

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Willis Bing Davis remembers his visit to Goree Island in Dakar, Senegal in 1973

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Willis Bing Davis remembers his visit to Accra, Ghana in 1973

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Willis Bing Davis describes temporarily accepting a position at Howard University in Washington, D.C. in 1976

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Willis Bing Davis describes becoming an assistant dean and associate professor at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio in 1976

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Willis Bing Davis recalls receiving his M.Ed. degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio in 1967

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Willis Bing Davis describes becoming chair of the art department at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio in 1978

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Willis Bing Davis shares his highlights of working at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Willis Bing Davis talks about the importance of continuing to practice and produce art

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Willis Bing Davis shares his philosophy of art

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Willis Bing Davis describes the influence of music and improvisation on his art

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Willis Bing Davis reflects on the concept of a Black Aesthetic

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Willis Bing Davis talks about William Komla Amoaku and the cultural life at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Willis Bing Davis describes working with Arthur E. Thomas at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Willis Bing Davis describes his impression of Arthur E. Thomas' character before he worked at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Willis Bing Davis describes the establishment of his EbonNia Gallery in Dayton, Ohio, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Willis Bing Davis describes the establishment of his EbonNia Gallery in Dayton, Ohio, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Willis Bing Davis describes his plans for the future of the EbonNia Gallery in Dayton, Ohio

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Willis Bing Davis talks about his leadership in the National Conference of Artists

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Willis Bing Davis talks about his experience with the National Endowment for the Arts

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Willis Bing Davis talks about his personal style

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Willis Bing Davis describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community. Pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Willis Bing Davis describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community. Pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Willis Bing Davis reflects upon his regrets

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Willis Bing Davis reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Willis Bing Davis talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Willis Bing Davis talks about the Wright-Dunbar neighborhood in Dayton, Ohio

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Willis Bing Davis describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$4

DAStory

1$3

DATitle
Willis Bing Davis remembers his visit to Goree Island in Dakar, Senegal in 1973
Willis Bing Davis recalls becoming director of the art program for the Living Arts Center in Dayton, Ohio in 1967
Transcript
Now we're on our way to Africa (laughs). Now we got--let's, let's talk about the experience now. We talked about how it was done, now how--$$(Simultaneous) Yeah the experience, yeah the experience was one of the most meaningful things in my life. Matter of fact, going to Dakar, Senegal and having a chance to go, go, go to Goree Island [Ile de Goree] and, and sit in the slave castle and in the dungeons where our ancestors were held, was the most cleansing and inspiring experience I've ever had. To sit in that dungeon and feel the musk, and feel the residue of remains on, on my feet, under my feet. And just the cold darkness, it helped me to realize the evident, if not stark fear, the stark unknowing as to what's going to happen next. And not even able to imagine the voyage of the Middle Passage. And then stand in the doorway, what was the called "The Door of No Return," where the plank was placed onto the ship with the guns on the side to make sure you went. And to look across and know that I can't see land. If I could go straight, I'd probably go right to Atlanta [Georgia], or Geor-- South Carolina or Providence [Rhode Island]. It was, it was a, a, an experience that was cleansing too 'cause I wasn't make sounds, but tears were rolling down my cheek. And I never felt so close to Africa than when I was sitting in that room. And it just reaffirms my commitment and, and to not only serving and helping, but being the best I could be, but also to, to reaffirm the strength that I know we have as a people because I said, "I can't know which one of these doors of no return my ancestor came through. But somebody must have made it, or I would not be here. And to know what they've gone through for me to be standing, then I'm a strong person from strong people." And so it just gives me something I carry with me every place I go. I don't even have to talk about it now. I, I know I'm from greatness. Great architects, weavers, crafters, clay workers, builders of great sculptures and structures. So that trip for me just reaffirmed my whole existence to the point that I don't have to be boastful about it. But I now can walk and--down any street in any city in the world and hold my head high and have a sense of who I am. It, it was just phenomenal.$So, okay. So, so Colonel White [High School, now Thurgood Marshall High School in Dayton, Ohio], so you--now at this time had you--did you know anything about the NCA [National Conference of Artists] or anything like that?$$No, no, no. I didn't learn about that until I got back to, to DePauw [University in Greencastle, Indiana] to teach in '70 [1970]. When I came here in '59 [1959], what I would do if I saw in a magazine African American artists, I'd always cut it out and take it into school and, and use it for my own nurturing too. But I just got involved with teaching and I really enjoyed it. And, and fell into a wonderful art program that was very challenging. Students did very, very well. What I did do that was important for me, and actually changed my whole, whole life. When I talked about coming back from DePauw and having that western aesthetic background, the training of, of the western art. Wanted to be--know myself and wanted to be better prepared for my students who were coming from diverse areas. I started going to the library, researching Native American, Inuit up in Canada, Maya, Inca, Australian Aboriginal, and African art. And, and that sort of completed my education. I just started learning on my own and just studying and bringing that into the classroom. And as a result--and I started doing my own reading of African American art in every source I could find. And also African art. African art, I started to research and, and, and have that be a part of it. But, no yeah, that--I enjoyed that. I was only there six years, and that's when they started Living Arts in '67 [1967]. So I was there from '60 [1960] to '67 [1967]. Well in '66 [1966] is when the city [Dayton, Ohio] wrote that major proposal to get the million dollars from the U.S. Office of Education to start the Living Arts Program, which was an experimental program using art, music, dance, drama and humanities to develop human development. It really focused on adolescents' creativity using the art.$$So, so that started in 1967, the Living Arts Center.$$Nineteen sixty seven [1967], we wrote the proposal in '66 [1966], it was awarded and then Jack DeVilbiss, who'd also been a music professor at--instructor at, at Colonel White, took that job of writing that proposal for the city, and then being on the committee when we had sent it in and got funded, and six months later it was funded. He said, "Hey Bing, why don't you consider applying for the art directorship for this job?" 'Cause I was still at Colonel White and it was appealing enough to me that I, I took a gamble, 'cause I would lose my benefits and insurance, but it was a great opportunity. And so I, I resigned from Colonel White and I accepted the directorship of the art program for Living Arts in '67 [1967].

Amalia Amaki

Amalia Amaki was born Linda Faye Peeks on July 8, 1949 in Atlanta, Georgia to Mary Lee and Norman Peeks, a former musician with the Deep South Boys of Macon, Georgia. Amaki developed a love for script writing, drawing, bold colors and textures at an early age. She instinctively knew that she would change her name. Amaki attended Georgia State University and majored in journalism and psychology. In 1970, she won the Sigma Delta Chi Award for Feature Writing and was the first and only African American on campus to join this journalism organization. In 1971, Amaki received her B.A. degree. She also obtained her B.A. degree from the University of New Mexico in photography and art history and worked as a museum assistant at the University Art Museum for two years while she pursued her degree. In 1974, she changed her name to Amalia Amaki.

In 1985, Amaki went to France as an Emory University Foreign Study Fellow. She also became a contributing writer to Art Papers and an art critic for Creative Loafing; papers local to the Atlanta area. Amaki earned her M.A. degree in modern European and American art and a Ph.D. in twentieth century American art and culture from Emory University in the Institute of Liberal Arts. From 1987 to 2000, she taught art history at Spelman and Morehouse Colleges; Atlanta College of Art; Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, Georgia; and North Georgia College and State University, Dahlonega, Georgia. She served as a guest curator at the Southern Arts Federation in 1996; the Museum of Fine Arts at Spelman College in 1997 and 1998; the Marietta-Cobb Museum of Art in 1999; and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute in 2004. In the summer of 2004, Amaki was a visiting scholar at the Student Art Centers International (SACI) in Florence, Italy. In 2001, she became Curator of the Paul R. Jones Collection of Art and Assistant Professor of Art in the Art History and Black Studies Departments at the University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware. Amaki was also a Scholar-in-Residence at Spelman College in Atlanta for the 2005 – 2006 school year.

Amaki’s art captures the lives of African women of the Diaspora through media from everyday life (photography, quilts, buttons, boxes and household items). Her work redefines the lives of past and present African American heroines and heroes and contrasts their depiction in the mainstream media. She has published a number of articles including “Art: The Paul Jones Collection in Art” and Everyday Life: The Paul Jones Collection, an exhibition catalog by the Marietta-Cobb Museum of Art, Marietta, Georgia in 1999.

Amaki holds memberships in the College of Art Association, American Association of University Professors, Emory University Alumni Board of Governors, Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, High Museum of Art, Georgia Museum of Art, and Spelman College Museum of Fine Arts. Her solo works, Amalia Amaki: Boxes, Buttons and Blues have also been on exhibition at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.

Amaki splits her time in Atlanta, Georgia and Newark, Delaware.

Accession Number

A2006.017

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/15/2006 |and| 9/9/2007

Last Name

Amaki

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Hope-Hill Elementary School

David T. Howard High School

Georgia State University

University of New Mexico

Emory University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Amalia

Birth City, State, Country

Atlanta

HM ID

AMA01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Beausoleil, France

Favorite Quote

The Glass Is Always Half Full.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

7/8/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Cookies

Short Description

Mixed media artist, curator, and art history professor Amalia Amaki (1949 - ) has served as the curator of the Paul R. Jones Collection of Art, and as assistant professor of art in the art history and black studies departments at the University of Delaware. She is also a scholar-in-residence in the fine arts department at Spelman College.

Employment

Southern Airways

APEX Museum (Atlanta, Georgia)

Spelman College

University of Delaware

University of Alabama

Paul Jones Collection

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Amalia Amaki's interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Amalia Amaki lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Amalia Amaki describes her mother's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Amalia Amaki describes her mother's cooking

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Amalia Amaki describes her father's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Amalia Amaki describes her parents' childhoods

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Amalia Amaki describes how her parents met, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Amalia Amaki describes her father's occupations

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Amalia Amaki remembers holiday celebrations from her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Amalia Amaki describes her mother's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Amalia Amaki describes how her parents met, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Amalia Amaki shares how her mother began having children

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Amalia Amaki describes her mother's fear of storms

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Amalia Amaki describes her maternal grandparents

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Amalia Amaki describes her mother's siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Amalia Amaki describes her father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Amalia Amaki describes her father's singing career

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Amalia Amaki describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Amalia Amaki recalls drawing at John Hope Elementary School

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Amalia Amaki describes her childhood neighborhood in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Amalia Amaki describes her childhood community in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Amalia Amaki describes her mother's role in the community

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Amalia Amaki recalls attending Wheat Street Baptist Church

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Amalia Amaki describes the department stores in Atlanta, Georgia, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Amalia Amaki recalls the shoe stores in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Amalia Amaki describes the department stores in Atlanta, Georgia, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Amalia Amaki remembers the seamstress in her childhood neighborhood

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Amalia Amaki talks about Auburn Avenue in Atlanta

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Amalia Amaki lists her siblings

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Amalia Amaki explains why her mother changed her name

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Amalia Amaki remembers being teased about her name as a child

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Amalia Amaki explains how she chose her name, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Amalia Amaki explains how she chose her name, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Amalia Amaki recalls her favorite teacher at John Hope Elementary School, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Amalia Amaki recalls her favorite teacher at John Hope Elementary School, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Amalia Amaki describes her childhood personality

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Amalia Amaki describes the games she played with her siblings

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Amalia Amaki recalls playing games with her family

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Amalia Amaki recalls receiving baby chickens for Easter

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Amalia Amaki describes her rebellious personality as a child

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Amalia Amaki recalls Atlanta's Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Amalia Amaki remembers her early career aspirations

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Amalia Amaki describes her high school extracurricular activities

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Amalia Amaki recalls her decision to attend Georgia State College, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Amalia Amaki recalls applying for college

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Amalia Amaki recalls her decision to attend Georgia State College, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Amalia Amaki describes her experience of studying journalism

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Amalia Amaki recalls her induction into the Society of Professional Journalists

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Amalia Amaki explains her B.A. degree in journalism and psychology

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Amalia Amaki describes her experience of racial discrimination at Georgia State College

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Amalia Amaki recalls Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.'s death, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Amalia Amaki recalls Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.'s death, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Amalia Amaki remembers the death of her childhood friend

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Slating of Amalia Amaki's interview, session 2

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Amalia Amaki describes the impact of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.'s death

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Amalia Amaki recalls writing for The Signal

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Amalia Amaki describes her classmates at Georgia State University

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Amalia Amaki remembers inspirational speakers at Georgia State University

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Amalia Amaki talks about working for Southern Airways

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Amalia Amaki describes her international travels

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Amalia Amaki describes the University of New Mexico

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Amalia Amaka recalls meeting Georgia O'Keeffe

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Amalia Amaki describes her friends in New Mexico

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Amalia Amaki describes the cultures of New Mexico

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Amalia Amaki recalls her photography professor, Betty Hahn

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Amalia Amaki recalls her printmaking professor, Garo Antreasian

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Amalia Amaki describes her additions to the University of New Mexico's museum collection

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Amalia Amaki recalls her first curatorial position

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Amalia Amaki recalls her employment while studying at Emory University

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Amalia Amaki describes her favorite artists and photographers

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Amalia Amaki describes her professors and classmates at Emory University

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Amalia Amaki remembers teaching at Spelman College and studying abroad

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Amalia Amaki recalls completing her master's degree

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Amalia Amaki talks about earning her Ph.D. degree

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Amalia Amaki recalls her assistant professorship at Spelman College

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Amalia Amaki recalls working at the University of Delaware

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Amalia Amaki recalls teaching at Studio Arts College International

Tape: 9 Story: 10 - Amalia Amaki describes the inspiration behind her quilts, pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Amalia Amaki explains how her button work was inspired by her childhood

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Amalia Amaki recalls how she began creating art

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Amalia Amaki recounts the first sale of a piece of her art

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Amalia Amaki describes her drawings of children with oversized eyes

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Amalia Amaki describes her button artwork, pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Amalia Amaki describes her button artwork, pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Amalia Amaki shares an anecdote about her button artwork

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Amalia Amaki describes her artwork commissioned for Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

Tape: 10 Story: 9 - Amalia Amaki shares what she learned from collecting buttons

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Amalia Amaki talks about the use of buttons as currency

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Amalia Amaki describes the inspiration behind her work

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Amalia Amaki shares her ideas for future artistic projects

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Amalia Amaki describes the Paul R. Jones Collection of American Art, pt. 1

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Amalia Amaki describes the Paul Jones Collection of American Art, pt. 2

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Amalaia Amaki describes her art exhibitions

Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Amalia Amaki describes the collectors of her art

Tape: 11 Story: 8 - Amalia Amaki talks about her plans for the future

Tape: 11 Story: 9 - Amalia Amaki reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 11 Story: 10 - Amalia Amaki describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 12 Story: 1 - Amalia Amaki narrates her photographs

DASession

2$2

DATape

8$10

DAStory

2$7

DATitle
Amalia Amaka recalls meeting Georgia O'Keeffe
Amalia Amaki shares an anecdote about her button artwork
Transcript
I had wonderful experiences, interactions with Georgia O'Keeffe, which was one the highlights of my life, and--$$Well, tell me about that.$$I, I, I had befriended a, an architect who was in the Albuquerque [New Mexico] area. And he was, he had this very almost surrogate son kind of relationship with, with O'Keeffe. And one Saturday morning, it wasn't unusual for him to call and say, "What are you doing?" And he, we'd go on these adventures. We did that about three times. Well, on this particular occasion he said, "Well, you know, get some stuff and we're going on an adventure." And I got really kind, a little nervous because I didn't know him that well at that point. And all I could see was, you know, the city was getting further and further away, and I'm looking out on this desert, and I don't see anything. And I'm starting to envision in my mind, you know, I'm seeing, you know, UNM [University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico] student found dead on the, on the Mesa. You know, I'm just, all this stuff is running 'cause I really didn't know him that well. And eventually I see this structure. And we get closer and closer, and he's driven me to her house, her ranch. And the minute I step out of the car, once I realize where I am, I get excited. I step out of the car, and he pulls off, and there's this cloud of smoke. And as the smoke clears, I look and sort of off in an angle to my left is this tiny woman. I had no idea she was so small. But then, you know, how you just sense that you're being watched. And I sort of look off at this angle to the right, and here are two little brown chows. And they look at me, and then they look at her, and they look at me, and they look at her. And I know those are not, you know, little kiddie dogs, you know. I know these are dangerous dogs, potentially dangerous. And finally she says in this really strong voice: "What are you doing here?" And I said, "Well, I came to see you." And she said, "Why?" And I said, "Don't you know who you are?" And she laughs, and the dogs just kind of look off and walk off, and they, it's as if they say oh, she's all right. And he [sic. she] says, "That rascal. I'm gonna get him." So she knew exactly who, who had done this. But I was with her, I can't remember now if it was two hours, four hours, but it was long enough for her to, she had made tomato soup from tomatoes. This woman had a garden in the middle of the desert and grew little small sections of vegetables. So we had tomato soup from tomatoes in her garden. We had a very interesting conversation until I mentioned Alfred Stieglitz. And she just said, "You know he's dead; he's dead you know." And I knew that was her way of saying she didn't wanna talk about him. But that was one of my--and she gave me good advice when she found out I was, I was interested in art. And she asked me how did I define myself, and I said, "What do you mean?" She said, "If you're an artist, then that's how you define yourself." And she talked about how she did not consider herself to be the best, best painter. That she said you know, "It's not about always being the best." She said, "I know I saw painters who were probably better painters than I was." She said, "But when my opportunity came, I was ready." So she said, "Always have work. Warehouse it if you have to, because when the opportunity comes, if you're not ready, they won't wait for you. They move on." It was good advice. She said you know--she, she never talked race, but she said, "I know you, you're gonna run into situations where people treat you unfairly for all the wrong reasons." She said, "Don't get mad. Become successful. That's the best way to get even." She said that's what she did. So it was a wonderful two, I can't remember now if two, four hours when, when, when Bart [ph.] came back. That was the, the architect who took me out there--$One of my favorite stories that really happened was after I got the commission in 1994, when I got a commission to do a piece for the airport [Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Atlanta, Georgia] as a part of the, the activities that were going on because the Olympics [1996 Summer Olympics, Atlanta, Georgia] were coming--$$The Atlanta [Georgia] airport?$$The Atlanta airport, the Atlanta airport. And I did that piece, and years later I got a phone call from a man who said, "You don't know me, but it's taking me six months to get in touch with you." And he said, "I just had to tell you how important that piece at the airport is to me personally." And I said, "What do you mean?" He said, "I have been," he said he had been estranged from his daughter and his grandkids, as a result of being estranged from his daughter. He didn't tell me what it was about, but he said he had a flight, and the flight was departing from Gate E5, which is the gate where the artwork is. He said and the flight was delayed, and he said, "I was sitting there and I suddenly looked up and looked at your piece." And he said, "And I looked at that band going across the center connecting the two pie shapes." He said, "And I looked and I looked," and he said, "Those buttons look familiar." And he said he got up and he looked again. He said, "Those were the same buttons that were on the uniform that I wore," he said that he wore when he was in the Korean War, when he fought in the Korean War. And he said he thought about it and thought about it. He thought about when his--it made him reflect on his, his relationship with his wife, with the children, and he said he suddenly realized that, that thing that he had with his daughter made no sense. And he said, "I missed the flight because I rushed to a phone." You know, everybody didn't have cell phones. But he said he rushed to a phone, and he called his daughter. And he said, "Listen, I'm in Atlanta." His daughter lives here. He said, "I'm in Atlanta. I have to fly out tonight, but I want to come back, and I want to meet with you. I want us to get back together, and I want to know my grandkids." And he said he came back about three weeks later. This was before 9/11 [September 11, 2001], so you could literally come into the airport without a ticket and get to a gate. And he said he brought his grandkids. He sat under that piece, and he said he told them what it was like being in the war. And he said he just felt such a bond with his grandkids and had reunited with his daughter. And he said you know, "Your piece played a part in that." He said so--isn't that amazing? I mean a button, you know, but I he said he looked up there, and he said, "That was one I had on my uniform." Isn't that--$$Describe it.$$--amazing?$$Yeah--

Evangeline Montgomery

Curator, printmaker, and mixed media artist Evangeline "EJ" Montgomery was born on May 2, 1930, in New York. Her mother, Carmelite Thompson, was a homemaker and her father, Oliver Thompson was a Baptist minister. She discovered her artistic talents when she received her first oil painting set at the age of fourteen. After her parents separated, Montgomery and her mother moved to Harlem in New York, New York. In 1951, Montgomery earned her high school diploma from Seward Park High School in lower Manhattan, where she was a cheerleader, a member of the swim and basketball teams and a member of student government.

From 1951 until 1954, she worked at statuaries, painting the faces on dolls and religious statues. In 1955, Montgomery moved to Los Angeles with her husband and worked for Thomas Usher, an African American jewelry designer. She received her B.F.A. degree from the California College of Arts and Crafts (now California College of the Arts) in 1969 and she worked as an independent curator to museums, university galleries and art centers where she organized exhibits. In 1971, she served as the curator for the Rainbow Sign Gallery in Berkeley, California before becoming an exhibition specialist for the American Association for State and Local History in Nashville, Tennessee and coordinating eight national workshops on “Interpreting the Humanities through Museum Exhibits.” She also organized national exhibit workshops for the Association of African American Museums. In 1983, Montgomery began her career with the United States State Department as a program development officer for the Arts America Program, specializing in American exhibitions touring abroad. In this capacity, she developed and implemented successful American fine art programs in the United States and throughout the world. In her own art career, Montgomery is noted for her metal work, especially her metal ancestral boxes which were inspired by the Chinese incense boxes her mother used for praying. Her colorful lithographs have also garnered her attention, being prominently displayed in exhibitions funded by the United States government.

In 1997, she was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease which has made it difficult for Montgomery to work with metal. However, she has not let the diagnosis limit her artistic vision, instead shifting her focus to printmaking, lithographs, and the digital arts. In 2005, Blacks In Government (BIG) began the Evangeline J. Montgomery Scholarship Program, to encourage and fund artists who are interested in working in government to spread the influence of the arts.

Evangeline "EJ" Montgomery was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 13, 2004.

Accession Number

A2004.258

Sex

Female

Interview Date

12/13/2004

Last Name

Montgomery

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Schools

Seward Park High School

Los Angeles City College

California College of the Arts

California State University, Los Angeles

University of California, Berkeley

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Evangeline

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

MON03

Favorite Season

April

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Northern California

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

5/2/1930

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Salmon

Short Description

Printmaker, curator, and mixed media artist Evangeline Montgomery (1930 - ) began her career as an arts administrator in San Francisco, California and since then, has worked tirelessly to create opportunities to showcase African American artists.

Employment

Oakland Museum of California

American Association for State and Local History

United States Information Agency

United States Department of State

Favorite Color

Yellow

Timing Pairs
0,0:2680,25:3130,31:9070,104:9790,112:10510,121:12040,144:12760,154:13120,159:19596,170:20289,179:20685,188:26476,251:27586,275:28548,291:32027,352:32774,361:33936,385:34434,393:36094,421:36924,432:38833,461:39829,476:40493,481:41074,489:45335,527:47960,570:48335,577:51335,634:56696,673:57788,692:58698,706:60660,715:68140,790:68460,795:75810,896:76530,908:79730,927:81630,945:83333,955:84640,962:93192,1052:93504,1057:94050,1065:99588,1164:100446,1177:100758,1182:101070,1187:108870,1231:110865,1254:113900,1277:114494,1287:119670,1361:120125,1369:134130,1480:134614,1485:138938,1538:149610,1625$0,0:230,21:1030,31:9738,87:33490,263:36370,300:38463,336:56983,514:57409,522:57835,529:58474,544:58829,550:59823,569:63545,619:63920,625:64445,634:72602,699:85338,820:89999,834:90711,845:91423,854:93381,877:94004,885:102320,959:106850,1033:111160,1098:111484,1103:112132,1115:114826,1138:115239,1147:115534,1153:117770,1169:121726,1204:131810,1293:132370,1303:145580,1388:158314,1488:159286,1498:165273,1558:176636,1638:176932,1643:177302,1649:178116,1663:178782,1673:189738,1800:198700,1915:201786,1934:202482,1943:205147,1974:215196,2036:216060,2047:217692,2079:222340,2102:230710,2170:232990,2191:236790,2218:238450,2239
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Evangeline Montgomery's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Evangeline Montgomery lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Evangeline Montgomery describes her mother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about her father's background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about being adopted

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about meeting Mary McLeod Bethune

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Evangeline Montgomery describes her home life as a child

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Evangeline Montgomery describes memorable communities in which she grew up

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Evangeline Montgomery describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about her elementary school interests and aspirations

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Evangeline Montgomery describes her experience growing up as the daughter of a Baptist minister

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Evangeline Montgomery describes her childhood activities

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about her move to New York, New York after her parents' divorce

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about her junior high school experiences at P.S. 43 in New York, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about her experiences at Seward Park High School in New York, New York, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about her experiences at Seward Park High School in New York, New York, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about relocating to Massachusetts with her mother after graduating from high school

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about her employment in the art industry after graduating from high school

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about her work in the jewelry field before attending Los Angeles City College in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Evangeline Montgomery describes the process for designing jewelry with enamel

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Evangeline Montgomery describes her studio art experiences in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about being dissuaded from teaching art

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about her impressions of art in Nigeria

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Evangeline Montgomery describes her experience of art exhibitions during the black studies movement

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about coordinating an exhibition on Sargent Claude Johnson's life and art

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Evangeline Montgomery reflects upon the impact of African American art in California during the black studies movement

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about curating African American ethnic art and at the Rainbow Sign Gallery in Berkeley and the Oakland Museum of California

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about her work for the American Association for State and Local History in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about working with the Association of African American Museums

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Evangeline Montgomery describes the impetus for creating metal ancestral boxes

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Evangeline Montgomery describes how she came to work for the U.S. Information Agency as its program development officer for exhibitions

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about notable African American artists with whom she worked

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Evangeline Montgomery describes her process for working in lithography

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about the impact of technology on visual art processes and mediums

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about challenges faced by African American artists

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about her visual art and metal pieces

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about the challenges she faces as an artist with Parkinson's disease

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about her Blacks in Government scholarship fund, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about opportunities for African American artists

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about the demand for African American artwork

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about her Blacks in Government scholarship fund, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Evangeline Montgomery reflects upon the importance of the arts

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Evangeline Montgomery reflects upon her experiences as an artist and art administrator

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Evangeline Montgomery describes her hopes for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about inspirational artists

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Evangeline Montgomery reflects upon her artwork and artistic mediums

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Evangeline Montgomery describes her hopes for curating a book art installation in the future

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Evangeline Montgomery reflects upon her life and legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 13 - Evangeline Montgomery shares advice for pursuing a career as an artist

Tape: 4 Story: 14 - Evangeline Montgomery talks about her role as art commissioner in San Francisco, California

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

12$4

DATitle
Evangeline Montgomery reflects upon the impact of African American art in California during the black studies movement
Evangeline Montgomery describes the impetus for creating metal ancestral boxes
Transcript
And at the time when the black studies explosion was taking place, what impact do you think that had on African American artists?$$Well, it was great for them because it began to open new doors for them. For instance, I did exhibitions. I organized exhibitions for all the colleges in and around the [San Francisco] Bay Area [California] and some in Southern California even. I was able to bring artists from Southern California into exhibitions in Northern California. I also decided that if I was asked to do a show in a university setting or something like that, that I would try to get an artist from outside of the area as a guest artist as part of the show. For instance, I did an exhibition at Stanford University [Stanford, California] on printmaking. And I invited an artist from Boston [Massachusetts], Calvin Burnett, who is a famous printmaker, and had a dozen of his pieces as part of the show, so that I as introducing a new name, new style, someone who had reached heights in, in that particular medium.$$And were you finding that only African Americans were interested in African American artists?$$No, in California it was truly accepted by everybody in that they came to see. And if, if coordinated in the right way, the, lot of publicity and whatnot, everybody came to see. Now, whether in museums and whatnot, you're not necessarily selling works of art. So--$$You're just showing them.$$Just showing and giving people a history, and a background, and also offering an opportunity to look at abstract work, to look at images of themselves, to look at quality art, new technology, things like that.$Tell us a little bit about the ancestral boxes that you create out of metal.$$Well, my mother [Carmelite Thompson] had an incense burner, and it's a Chinese little vessel. And she used to write notes, and when she prayed over them and thought about them, if the experience that she wanted to happen came to pass in a favorable manner, then she would burn the note. I knew that she was using this incense burner for something. But, and I had seen her place things in it, but I had never looked in it, ever. And when my mother died, the, the first thing I did was to open that incense burner, lift the cover off, and there were two notes placing me in God's hands. Now, I was an adult, but I was divorcing and you know, had problems of my own and whatnot. So she, she was still thinking about me even in her sickest moments. And when I was thinking about an object to, to make, I first made incense burners. And there are three of those incense burners from the first set that I made in the collection of the Oakland Museum in California [Oakland Museum of California, Oakland, California]. Then they turned into box shapes, and I began to think about ancestral worship and whatnot and I had seen containers in Africa knew that they make, use them for various things.$$How, how did you make your first ancestral box?$$They're all made out of wax originally, and then they are cast using a method that Africans use a lot.$$What's the method?$$Well, forming them in, in some sort of container situation in a mold, and then burning out the wax, and then pouring in hot molting metal into your mold shape and casting.$$And--$$And I, I feel these boxes are for something precious. They could be used as incense burners whether they're a box or whatnot. But they also could hold like your wedding ring, your tooth, all your baby teeth and, or anything, something.$$How, how big are they usually?$$They're fairly small, two by two, three by three.$$When did you make your first one?$$Sixty-nine [1969].$$What do you keep in yours?$$I don't keep anything in mine (laughter). I just have them. And I recently sold some of the earlier ones. They have been included in exhibitions over the years, and are recorded in several publications.

Ralph Arnold

Artist Ralph Arnold was born in Chicago, Illinois on December 5, 1928. After graduating from Blue Island High School in 1946, Arnold attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign briefly in 1947. He later returned there before transferring and graduating from Roosevelt University in 1955. In 1976, Arnold earned his M.F.A. degree from the Art Institute of Chicago.

After leaving the U of I the first time, Arnold enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving in Korea from 1950 until 1952. After entering Roosevelt University, Arnold became involved with the Skyloft Players, a theater group, where he worked with Abena Joan Brown and Okoro Harold Johnson. After graduating, Arnold focused on his art, and in 1969, he was hired by Rockford College as an assistant professor of painting. From there, he taught briefly at Barrat College before being named chairman of the art department at Loyola University of Chicago. Arnold also served as an adjunct lecturer at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Arnold’s work crossed several genres, and could be seen in numerous galleries and collections. He created a series of collages entitled “Napoleon in Hawaii,” some of which were displayed in the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art in Chicago, and he had another piece on display in the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago. Arnold also had an interest in bookbinding. He was a member of the Illinois Arts Council for more than thirty years.

Arnold died on May 10, 2006 at the age of 77.

Accession Number

A2004.145

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/25/2004

Last Name

Arnold

Maker Category
Schools

University Seventh-Day Adventist School

Green Magnet Math & Science Academy

Austin-East Magnet High School

Dd Eisenhower High Sch (Campus)

University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

Roosevelt University

School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Ralph

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

ARN01

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Europe

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

12/5/1928

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken, Italian Food, Fried Potatoes, Ice Cream, Cake, Pie, Cobbler

Death Date

5/10/2006

Short Description

Mixed media artist and art professor Ralph Arnold (1928 - 2006 ) earned his M.F.A. degree from the Art Institute of Chicago, and taught art as an assistant, lecturer and department chair at several colleges and universities. His work crossed several genres, and could be seen in numerous galleries and collections.

Employment

Rockford College

Barrat College

Loyola University of Chicago

Art Institute of Chicago

US Army

Favorite Color

Blue, Red

Timing Pairs
0,0:4366,50:5002,69:10620,158:11565,164:18028,205:18424,210:19117,219:19810,227:20701,237:24045,260:24417,265:24975,272:31857,397:52360,679:60649,761:66382,884:66746,889:67110,894:67565,900:78095,922:78679,932:79482,944:80066,954:80431,973:90017,1053:91434,1075:96120,1125:98604,1179:99018,1186:105410,1263:118128,1314:126386,1384:126801,1390:127880,1439:143810,1560:148946,1621:149374,1626:152156,1665:155580,1709:156222,1716:156650,1721:162484,1773:162952,1780:180802,2088:185060,2149:187216,2185:199160,2377$0,0:5934,73:12861,118:18655,141:19225,148:20935,171:29480,189:30032,196:30400,201:30860,208:31228,213:34880,263:52170,372:53388,387:60644,425:61100,432:62316,448:62848,457:67598,492:78020,567:78944,585:79532,593:80288,603:81548,633:83312,672:86244,687:87108,696:118570,943:123920,1022:155166,1159:175010,1379:175600,1393:175954,1400:176426,1410:176662,1415:178859,1425:180100,1451:180465,1457:180976,1467:184000,1482:184456,1489:186346,1506:186622,1511:186898,1516:189175,1554:190760,1559:191124,1564:192125,1583:212260,1796
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ralph Arnold's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ralph Arnold lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ralph Arnold talks about his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ralph Arnold talks about his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ralph Arnold describes his adoptive parents and how his adoptive father joined a minstrel company

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ralph Arnold recounts his adoptive father's career in amusement companies and as a janitor

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ralph Arnold remembers his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ralph Arnold describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ralph Arnold remembers modern technology at the 1933 Chicago World's Fair

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ralph Arnold describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood in Knoxville, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ralph Arnold talks about his grade schools in Knoxville, Tennessee and Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ralph Arnold remember teachers from his elementary school years

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ralph Arnold describes his after-school activities in grade school

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ralph Arnold recalls feeling like an outsider and his experience of racial discrimination in school, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Ralph Arnold recalls feeling like an outsider and his experience of racial discrimination in school, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ralph Arnold remembers taking college courses in high school and his experience at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ralph Arnold talks about serving in the Korean War just after the desegregation of the U.S. Armed Forces

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ralph Arnold talks about his black staff sergeant in the U.S. Army during the Korean War

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ralph Arnold recalls North Korean soldiers who asked about his treatment by white officers

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ralph Arnold describes stories from the Korean War

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ralph Arnold remembers soldiers in his outfit who died in the Korean War

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Ralph Arnold talks about returning to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign after the Korean War and being prevented from graduating

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Ralph Arnold talks about working with Skyloft Players and playing extra parts at the Lyric Opera of Chicago

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ralph Arnold talks about his acting experience at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ralph Arnold talks about Skyloft Players and notable members he met in the group

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ralph Arnold describes prominent theater personalities and political figures in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Ralph Arnold talks about his commute from Robbins, Illinois to Chicago, Illinois, and his adoptive father's opinion of his theater work

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Ralph Arnold talks about earning his M.F.A. degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Ralph Arnold talks about his teaching career and becoming the department chair at Loyola University Chicago

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Ralph Arnold talks about his experience as the first black academic administrator at Loyola University Chicago

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Ralph Arnold describes his artistic style

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Ralph Arnold talks about his visual art works and shows

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Ralph Arnold talks about his interest in Napoleon and in collecting

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Ralph Arnold talks about originality in art

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Ralph Arnold shows one of his most recent art pieces

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Ralph Arnold reflects on his parents' opinion of his art

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Ralph Arnold describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Ralph Arnold reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Ralph Arnold talks about what he would do differently

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Ralph Arnold talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Ralph Arnold narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

6$8

DATitle
Ralph Arnold recalls feeling like an outsider and his experience of racial discrimination in school, pt. 1
Ralph Arnold describes his artistic style
Transcript
I went to Blue Island High School and--then--it's called [Dwight D.] Eisenhower [High School, Blue Island, Illinois] now, it was Blue Island then, and it had about fifteen black kids, and those black kids came from the grammar school in Robbins. I had gone to high school primarily, or grammar school in Knoxville [Tennessee] so by the time I got to high school, I had--I didn't know any of those black kids. You know, they grew up together, they knew who they were, and that sort of thing and I had--I made friends but it was not like, you know, growing up together and playing basketball with your buddies and stuff like that.$$So did you feel like an outsider sort of?$$For a long time and I was caught between two points, the white kids on one side and the black kids, I didn't know about the other and they didn't know me. You know, kids are strange. They, they gotta--we got to test each other before we--so I had a couple of interesting things. I think the incident that drove me to, perhaps to being who I am now, was when it came to--well, I'm jumping ahead--is the senior play, and they had listed try-outs for the senior play. Well, dumb me, I went to try out for the senior play and the drama coach says, "I'm sorry Mr. Arnold, we don't have any, any parts for a negro." What I did, I think, during my senior and junior year, was to do two things. I tried to convince the black kids that it was all right, and if it wasn't all right, they should try it anyway. So I joined all these things, the photography club, the all-guard club, the, you know, printmaking club, arts club and in every instance, I was the only black kid in that--in those clubs, and they would--black kids would say to me they didn't feel comfortable joining those all-white clubs, and they didn't think they could get in a lot of times because they were supposed to--they were supposed to have a grade level to get in some of those things, and I did. And I don't know how many different things I joined. My mother [adoptive mother, Bertha Harris Arnold] wouldn't let me go out for sports so I never got a letter. I got a letter for being the--for running the motion picture machine, but I didn't get a letter for track or football or any of those other things. Of course, I guess I wasn't the biggest of kids to--but football, I wanted football, but my mother wouldn't let me even try football.$So, in terms of your artwork itself, what is your, can you describe your work and what you attempt to do?$$Okay, it's mainstream. It's, has always been, experimental and mainstream. I do pretty much what I feel like doing and any themes that I want to do, like that big piece is a collage of mine. I started out doing collages because of Romare Bearden and my collages sometimes look like his, other times, they're so far remote from his and as they get more figurative. I had, I've done some figurative things and I find them quite satisfying but I get a lot of excitement out of working primarily with my hands rather than the paint brush. You know, I did a lot of constructions, building things. I was in, and I couldn't find, the Whitney Museum of Art [Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York] did a show entitled, 'Black American Artist' or something, 'American Black Art' and it was a national show and the curator went around the United States picking out people to be in the show and I was in the show with a lot of well-known black artists, Romare Bearden, [HistoryMaker] Richard Hunt, many others, and it was at a time when art was becoming polarized, you know. You did so-called black art which I found offensive because it's really African art, it's not black art. I mean, it's, it's an ethnic kind of art and it's pure and it's beautiful and then there are, no matter where you come from, the same kind of art that you would find in a Polish museum, Polish American artists that were influenced by their homeland but they were more American than they were Polish, you know, and if they went over Polish, it was watered down, it wasn't, it wasn't really honest as far as I was concerned. So, I think, what I tried to do was be as honest as far as I was concerned--

Lorenzo Pace

Artist Lorenzo Pace was born September 29, 1943, in Birmingham, Alabama, moving to Chicago as a teenager. Pace grew up in a strict environment. His father was a Church of God in Christ minister who had hoped the young Lorenzo would follow in his footsteps. Pace had other ideas. He wanted to explore and the city he chose was Paris, France. There, the world of art opened up to him and after a year's stay, he returned to Chicago interested in learning the craft of woodcarving. He showed great promise.

During his first exhibition at the South Side Community Arts Center, a dean from the University of Illinois was so impressed by Pace's wooden masks that he encouraged the young artist to enroll in art school. Pace then attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he graduated with both a B.F.A. and an M.F.A. He went on to receive a doctorate in art education from Illinois State University in 1978. Pace later moved to New York, like many other artists, seeking a more supportive artistic environment.

In 1993, Pace and his work gained national attention when he was commissioned to build a monument at New York City's Foley Square paying homage to the African slaves originally buried on that site. In 1991, the remains of more than 400 African slaves were excavated during the construction of a federal building in the city's financial district. The city of New York wanted to create a memorial and Pace was chosen to make it. His work resulted in a beautiful 300-ton granite sculpture, Triumph of the Human Spirit. However, Pace and other African Americans generated controversy when they boycotted the unveiling ceremony because the day chosen was Columbus Day.

Throughout his career, Pace has worked with a broad range of objects and materials. His sculptures, installations and performance art have received international acclaim and he has exhibited in galleries and museum all over the world. He presently maintains a studio in Brooklyn and serves as director of the Montclair State University Art Gallery.

Pace was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 17, 2000.

Accession Number

A2000.032

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/17/2000

Last Name

Pace

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Schools

School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Du Sable Leadership Academy

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

Lorenzo

Birth City, State, Country

Birmingham

HM ID

PAC01

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

All

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - $500 - $1,000

Favorite Season

Spring

Speaker Bureau Notes

Preferred Audience: All

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Senegal, West Africa

Favorite Quote

What's up?

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

9/29/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Flounder, Sea Bass

Short Description

Mixed media artist Lorenzo Pace (1943 - ) was commissioned to build a monument at New York City's Foley Square, paying homage to the African slaves originally buried at that site.

Employment

Montclair State University

City University of New York. Medgar Evers College

University of Illinois at Chicago

Illinois State University

Favorite Color

Orange

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Lorenzo Pace's introduction

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Lorenzo Pace's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Lorenzo Pace remembers his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Lorenzo Pace remembers his father

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Lorenzo Pace considers the origin of his surname

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Lorenzo Pace recalls paying tribute to his mother and father through his art

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Lorenzo Pace describes his parents' meeting

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Lorenzo Pace shares memories from his childhood in Birmingham, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Lorenzo Pace names his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Lorenzo Pace describes his early religious training and other recreations

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Lorenzo Pace describes his parents' influence

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Lorenzo Pace recalls his family's move from Birmingham, Alabama to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Lorenzo Pace reflects upon the Chicago community of his youth

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Lorenzo Pace describes his early aspirations

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Lorenzo Pace recalls his stay in Paris, France

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Lorenzo Pace remembers his first interest in the arts

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Lorenzo Pace explains how his experience in Paris, France changed him

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Lorenzo Pace explains why he returned to the United States from Paris, France

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Lorenzo Pace recalls a period of uncertainty in his life

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Lorenzo Pace describes his evolution as an artist

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Lorenzo Pace recalls his first art exhibition

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Lorenzo Pace recalls receiving criticism while attending the School of the Art Institute, Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Lorenzo Pace remembers his early performance art

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Lorenzo Pace discusses his career in New York

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Lorenzo Pace recalls some of his memorable New York exhibitions and pieces

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Lorenzo Pace discusses his award-winning sculpture, 'Triumph of the Human Spirit'

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Lorenzo Pace discusses his design of 'Triumph of the Human Spirit'

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Lorenzo Pace describes the controversy surrounding 'Triumph of the Human Spirit'

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Lorenzo Pace discusses his inspiration for creating 'Triumph of the Human Spirit'

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Lorenzo Pace reveals his plans for the future

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Lorenzo Pace shares thoughts on reparations for African Americans

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Lorenzo Pace shares personal reflections on the impact of 'Triumph of the Human Spirit'

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Lorenzo Pace remembers those who influenced his life

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Lorenzo Pace considers his legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$3

DAStory

6$2

DATitle
Lorenzo Pace recalls paying tribute to his mother and father through his art
Lorenzo Pace remembers his first interest in the arts
Transcript
In '91 [1991], my father [Eddie T. Pace] passed away and, after the funeral, we all came back to the house, my mother [Mary Alice Pace] and father's house where I grew up and we were al sitting the dinner table talking about--my, my uncle [Julius Pace] began to talk about his life and the life of my father and what it was like for them growing up in the South during that time. And he immediately turned to my mother and asked my mother, "Did she have a bag in the house that he had given"--the uncle--had given father like thirty years ago. And so my mother immediately knew what he was talking about. Went into the bedroom--my father's bedroom and came back with this bag, and a little brown bag. And my uncle goes into the bag and said this is the lock was given to him by his father, Joseph Pace, which was given to him by Steve Pace the slave in our family. And this was--has been in in our family for over a hundred years. And this is where our legacy in terms of connecting our family to slavery. And everybody was just like, aw wow. You know--really dropped their mouths open all the--you know we was all eating, partying and eating and having a good time. And then everybody kind of like stopped. Then the family decided to, as a collective, for me to be the recipient of the lock. So I brought the lock back to Brooklyn [New York] and and it was a real revelation for me as a person to receive the lock. And so I thought it was a albatross around my neck and--because what I'm gonna do with a slave lock that I felt a sense of pain, a sense of of astonishment. So I brought it back and--and put it in my studio and I let it sit for a while before I decided to do anything with it or--. And then I said, well, this is an American story. This is my story. And it's something that I should be proud of and this is something that I have a direct icon that relates to the very essence of my begin--my being here in this country. So I wrote a story ['Jalani and the Lock']. How I received the lock and made a print of the--of the lock as well as put a little story and text with it. And I did an exhibition at the Montclair Art Museum [New Jersey] called 'Honor thy Father'. Because I wanted to honor my father. And I wanted to honor his legacy. I wanted to honor what he had left and what he had given the family and given me. And that same year, when I put the lock in the exhibition and all my father's relics like his handkerchiefs, his Bible, his neckties, his shoes, and I created a sanctuary inside the museum. I built a floor that reminded me of my father's church. The floor was kind of creekity [sic] and so I actually built a floor and brought some of the benches in. And so I kind o' created his own personal sanctuary. That same year, my mother was supposed to come up and see the exhibition called 'Honor thy Father'. And she passed away. So you know the same time frame, the same month that the exhibition opened at Montclair Museum here in New Jersey. So when I went back to bury my mother, the the Birmingham Art Museum [Alabama] asked me to do something for the both of them. So I did an installation called 'Honor thy Father and Mother' at the Birmingham Art Museum in Birmingham, Alabama. And, and in this exhibition, I devoted half of it to my father and half of it to my mother and all her relics. Like her rocking chair, aprons, her cooking utensils, her family background, her--you know all the things that was very dear to her, like she loved whatnots and figurines and things of that nature. So that was two major exhibitions back to back to honor my father and mother. And I put them both up in the ceiling the picture of them. What I consider in heaven. And and that was my honor and respect for two individuals who had devoted their lives to try to do the right thing. Trying to raise their family. Trying to give us what they thought that we needed to survive in this world that we're living in. So the lock--it's amazing how that little lock inspired my work for the next ten years. And not only did I do that in Birmingham. Then I wrote a children's book--you know using the lock as a metaphor. A little boy growing up in Africa, taken away, put in locks and chain and never was allowed to play again. But he couldn't, he couldn't, he couldn't--they changed his name, his food, his clothes but they could not change his memories of home. But he kept the lock that had kept--held him in slavery. And so he passed that lock on to his son. So he never forgot where they all came from.$I came back [from Paris, France], didn't know what to do. And just started hanging out on the beach in Chicago, having a good time. And, I didn't--how I really began to get into art was this guy was sitting on a bench in, in Hyde Park [Chicago, Illinois], on the lakefront, the [Promontory] Point [Burnham Park, Chicago, Illinois]. And he was carving 'The Last Supper'. And I asked him what was he carving. And he told me that he was carving this 'Last Supper'. And I sat there and watched him for hours. And so that evening, I went to a friend of mine's house. He had a log by his fireplace and he had some woodcarving tools. And I asked him could I fool around with it, and see if I could really do something with this piece of wood. He said, "Yeah, go ahead." And so that's my first piece I carved. and it blew my mind. And my old lady said, "Well, you didn't carve this." I said, "I did." She said, "Well, if you carved it, why don't you carve some more." So that was my challenge. So I started carving some more, and more, and more. And just kind of developed into some that--'Cause I didn't know I had any talent. I didn't know I had any kind of, sense of any creative. So when I got back from Paris, I taught myself how to play the flute. That was my first venture into, into the creative pursuits of myself. Because I knew--I mean I didn't have any sense of myself, or who I was. Or any sense of any creative. So when I taught myself the flute, the next stage was to teach myself how to carve. And so after carving for four or five years, I had my first exhibition at the South Side Community Art Center. And the dean of the university came down and really liked my work. And said, "Why don't you go to, to University of Illinois Chicago?" And I said, "I'm not--." I felt I didn't, didn't have no real sense of college. I just felt I wasn't prepared to go to a big university. You know. So, he said, "Well, we'll give you a scholarship. And give you everything you need." I was a little nervous. And I took the entrance exam and scored very high. Blew my mind, again. 'Cause I had thought I wasn't equipped to deal with a college setting. And after being there for a year, I had a run-in. I was about twenty-eight at the time. And had a run-in with the professors. Because they wanted me to do--they had said they would give me two years off. And they kind of reneged on that. So I left, and sent to the [School of the] Art Institute of Chicago. And they welcomed me with open arms. I was in the undergraduate program for a year. And then they said, "Well, we think you should go into the master's program. Your work is at a level where we're gonna just give you your Bachelor fine arts degree and put you into the master's program." And so that--in the master's program for a couple of years. And then the president of the School at the Art Institute, Don Irving came down and said, "Well, I think you should work on your doctorate degree." And said, "Well, we'll give you a scholarship and we'll--you can teach and work on your degree." So it just kind of led from one thing to another from that first exhibition at the South Side Community Art Center in--things just kind of serendipitously happened in, in succession. Which kind of lead my life on a role that I really had no control of.