Monday, January 25, 2016
Guiding Lights: Inspired by Foldklore and Literature
reception: Thursday, Jan. 28, 5 pm – 7:30 pm, panel discussion mediated by Seitu Jones from 6 pm – 6:45 pm
show dates: Jan. 29 – Feb. 26, 2016
Metropolitan State University, Saint Paul Public Libraries, and the East Side Freedom Library invite your participation in the Metro Big Read, a community-wide reading program featuring the book Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. Starting with the kickoff event on Jan. 28 and continuing through March, the read will include a series of cultural events and discussions on issues of race, class, gender and the African American experience.
The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. This initiative offers grants to support innovative community reading programs designed around a single book and broadens our understanding of our world, our communities and ourselves. Saint Paul is one of 75 communities nationwide selected to participate in The Big Read between September 2015 and June 2016. Metropolitan State received a $14,200 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to promote and host The Big Read.
The public kick-off program features the opening of the exhibition Guiding Lights: Inspired by Folklore and Literature at The Gordon Parks Gallery. Artist and guest curator Seitu Jones will moderate a panel discussion. Following the discussion, The Big Read’s keynote address will be delivered by Dr. John S. Wright, Morse-Amoco Distinguished Teaching Professor of African American & African Studies and English at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Wright’s address, Hurston as High Priestess: Their Eyes and the Hieroglyphs of African American Culture, will reference Hurston’s 1934 essay, "The Characteristics of Negro Expression," and act as the pivotal point of reference for approaching the novel and its contexts.
This exhibition features the artwork of five local emerging African-American artists who have created mixed media works inspired by African-American folklore and literature. Participants include: Jeremiah Bey-Ellison, Minneapolis, Loretta Day, Saint Paul, Christopheraaron Deanes, Minneapolis, Chrys Carroll, Minneapolis, and Jordan Hamilton, Minneapolis.
Regarding the exhibition, curator Seitu Jones says, “The participating artists consistently approach their work as interventions in eliminating systemic racism, while maintaining their individual artistic visions. Their artwork is framed by tradition, vision and culture.”