October 12, 2022

ACP Presents “Retrieving The Life” Exhibit, Programs

“AFRICAN SKY”: This painting is part of “Retrieving the Life and Art of James Wilson Edwards and a Circle of Black Artists,” on view October 14 through December 3 at the Arts Council of Princeton. The exhibition is accompanied by a full schedule of programs that begin October 14.

The Arts Council of Princeton (ACP) presents “Retrieving the Life and Art of James Wilson Edwards and a Circle of Black Artists: Rex Goreleigh, Hughie Lee-Smith, Selma Hortense Burke, and Wendell T. Brooks,” on view in the Taplin Gallery October 14 through December 3. The exhibition reveals how Black artist/teachers were integral and influential members in a predominantly white regional community in the last quarter of the 20th century. While there have been significant exhibitions of contemporary Black artists during recent years of efforts by museums and galleries to become more diverse, this is one of the first exhibitions to explore the historical context from which these artists emerged.

This exhibition focuses on five late 20th-century master artists who lived and worked within 25 miles of each other in the geographic region from Princeton to New Hope, Pa.: James Wilson Edwards, Rex Goreleigh, Hughie Lee-Smith, Selma Hortense Burke, and Wendell T. Brooks. These Black artists represent a diverse and vibrant regional arts community largely overlooked in contemporary American art history.

“Retrieving the Life and Art of James Wilson Edwards and a Circle of Black Artists” is curated by Judith K. Brodsky and Rhinold Ponder and will be accompanied by a full schedule of programs, including:

Art Collecting as an Act of Love — October 14, 4-5 p.m.: This panel discussion will feature lenders to this exhibition comprised almost entirely of work from private collections. Speakers will include collectors Lewis Tanner Moore, Mary Guess Flamer, Brenda and Lawrence Thompson, Joye and Scott Shepperd, Malcom Peyton, and Barbara Winchester, and James Petrucci, moderated by Brodsky and Ponder. Free; at ACP, 102 Witherspoon Street.

Opening Reception — October 14, 5-7 p.m.: Free; at ACP.

Stoneware Bas Relief Workshop — October 22, 1:30-5 p.m.: ACP teaching artist Fran Smith will lead students to create their own bas relief in the style used by featured artist Selma Burke. Burke was an American sculptor and member of the Harlem Renaissance movement, best known for her bas relief of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Many believe her relief portrait of the former U.S. president, which was hung in the White House in 1945, inspired the profile used on the dime which was minted in 1946. A bas relief can be a portrait, an animal, or an object and is a low or mostly flat sculpture carved onto a flat surface such as a wall or a tile rather than a 3-D sculpture. $25 materials fee upon registration; at ACP.

Family Saturdays — October 22, November 12, and December 3, 1-2:30 p.m.: Family workshops invite children and caregivers to learn, connect, and grow together through hands-on artistic experiences. Families are invited to explore the exhibition through drop-in art-making workshops. In viewing, discussing, and creating artwork together, families invest in the arts in personal and meaningful ways. All workshops are designed and led by artist-instructor Dr. Ronah Harris. Free; at ACP.

For information about more events through November, visit artscouncilofprinceton.org.