|For more information about this article or gallery, please call the gallery phone number listed in the last line of the article, "For more info..."|
February Issue 2006
Celebrating and Sharing Heritage with Contemporary African American Artists in North Carolina (submitted by the NC Arts Council in Raleigh, NC)
With a history of influential artists such as John Biggers and Romare Bearden, North Carolina has much to celebrate. Across the state, contemporary artists and exhibitions are keeping those traditions alive.
Inspired by her African American ancestry, Raleigh, NC, artist Chandra Cox has created works that educate and motivate. Chair of the Art & Design department and professor at NC State University's College of Design, Cox is also one of many artists today who use heritage to teach a history lesson.
"It is the intent of my work to act as an educational vehicle," said Cox. Her public art design for the Rosa Parks Transit Center in Charlotte is breaking ground later this year. "My work is intended to inform the viewer about a particular aspect of American history."
Cox's project is part of a Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS), Art-in-Transit, which includes public art into the construction of new transit facilities. The program provides one percent of the capital budget to create works of art that are integrated into stations and surrounding areas, park and ride lots, transportation centers, maintenance facilities and passenger amenities.
Working with a landscape architect and an architecture firm, Cox has created a system of patterns-derived from West African Adinkra symbols-that will cover part of the building and pavers of the transit area.
"These patterns are informing the public of the culture behind the piece and its history. People can have more information on the influence of these patterns and the linkage of African American culture to our everyday lives," said Cox.
The arts are tools for understanding North Carolina's African American legacy. Contemporary artists with African ancestry ensure that history is not forgotten by using visual imagery as documentation.
"Artists like Chandra Cox illuminate the African American presence in North Carolina and its many contributions to the vitality of contemporary culture," said Jeff Pettus, Visual Arts Director at the North Carolina Arts Council.
Historically and socially inspired works of art are the context for many exhibitions on view in North Carolina this year.
The Ackland Art Museum at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, is featuring Family Legacies: The Art of Betye, Lezley and Alison Saar through Mar. 26, 2006. The show highlights the work of a mother and two daughters, interpreting aspects of family and identity, race and gender.
Kickin' It with Joyce J. Scott, an exhibition at Asheville Art Museum in Ashevlle, NC, will be on view through Mar. 19, 2006, highlights objects sculpture, jewelry, prints, and textiles-many of which incorporate beading. The works convey social issues such as stereotyping, violence and prejudice.
"Her work explicitly addresses African-American experience, though her insights are universal," said Ron Platt, Asheville Art Museum's Curator of Exhibitions. "We are delighted to present her exhibition and public lecture."
Duke University's Nasher Museum of Art is host to two upcoming exhibitions, Something All Our Own: The Grant Hill Collection of African American Art and Conjuring Bearden, an exhibition featuring the work of famed painter and collagist Romare Bearden, both opening on Mar. 4, 2006.
North Carolina Central University's Art Museum is home to The Art of William H. Johnson, an exhibition of works by the Harlem Renaissance painter, on view from Feb. 19 through Apr. 21, 2006.
Sharing the legacy of African antecedents with all North Carolinians encourages understanding and appreciation of different cultures.
"The impact is that we are better educated, informed and able to know and appreciate the contributions made to our republic," Cox explained. "It enables us to know ourselves better and to appreciate our neighbors."
In furthering its mission of making North Carolina a better state through the arts, the North Carolina Arts Council assisted in funding Conjuring Bearden and The Art of William H. Johnson.
The mission of the North Carolina Arts Council is to make North Carolina a better state through the arts. The Arts Council is a division of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, (www.ncculture.com), and celebrates those who create and enjoy art in all 100 counties.
For a list of other
arts events across the state visit (www.ncarts.org) or call 919/733-2111.
Carolina Arts is published monthly by Shoestring Publishing
Company, a subsidiary of PSMG, Inc.
Copyright© 2006 by PSMG, Inc., which published Charleston Arts from July 1987 - Dec. 1994 and South Carolina Arts from Jan. 1995 - Dec. 1996. It also publishes Carolina Arts Online, Copyright© 2006 by PSMG, Inc. All rights reserved by PSMG, Inc. or by the authors of articles. Reproduction or use without written permission is strictly prohibited. Carolina Arts is available throughout North & South Carolina.