The Visual Arts Alliance is very excited about the forthcoming visit of Dr. David C. Driskell. People of all ages in the local community and region need to mark their calendars for this once in a lifetime opportunity to meet a historically important artist and scholar of African- American art.
Driskell is this month’s featured guest for the Chancellor’s Distinguished Speaker Series at Fayetteville State University. Driskell will appear on Tuesday, Feb. 16, at 6 p.m. in the J.W. Seabrook Auditorium on the FSU campus. Admission to this event is free and open to the public.
Born in 1931 into a family of Georgia sharecroppers, Driskell is one of the leading authorities on the subject of African-American art and the black artist in American society. His paintings can be found in major museums and private collections worldwide. His contributions to scholarship in the history of art include many books and more than 40 catalogues for exhibitions he has curated. His essays on the subject of African - American art have appeared in major publications throughout the world.
A few of those publications include Hidden Heritage: Afro-American Art, 1800- 1950, The Other Side of Color: African American Art in the Collection of Camille O. and William H. Cosby Jr., African American Visual Aesthetics: A Postmodernist View, and Black Art: Ancestral Legacy.
Driskell studied at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine and received his undergraduate degree in art at Howard University (1955) and a Masters in Fine Arts degree from Catholic University (1962). He joined the faculty of the Department of Art at the University of Maryland in 1977 and served as its chair from 1978-1983. He has been a practicing artist since the 1950s and his works are in major museums throughout the world, including the National Gallery of Art, the High Museum of Art and Yale University Art Gallery. Solo exhibitions of his art tour the country regularly. He is represented by a host of prominent art galleries throughout the country and abroad.
In 1976, Driskell curated the groundbreaking exhibit Two Centuries of Black American Art: 1750-1950 which laid the foundation for the field of African- American art history. Since 1977, Driskell has served as cultural advisor to Camille O. and William H. Cosby and as the curator of the Cosby Collection of Fine Arts. In 2000, in a White House Ceremony, Driskell received the National Humanities Medal from President Bill Clinton.
In 2001 The University of Maryland, established The David C. Driskell Center for the Study of the Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora at the University of Maryland, College Park. This center celebrates his legacy as a distinguished university professor emeritus of art, artist, art historian, collector, and curator by preserving the rich heritage of African - American visual art and culture. It also provides an intellectual home for artists, museum professionals, art administrators and scholars of color, broadening the field of African diasporic studies.
Driskell’s appearance is presented in partnership with the Fayetteville/ Cumberland County Arts Council and part of the community’s Black History Month celebration. His work is also included in the National Conference of Artists Michigan Chapter exhibition currently on view at the Arts Council galleries entitled Art of the Masters: A Survey of African American Images, 1980 – 2000.
The National Conference of Artists is an organization very dear to Dr. Driskell who was one of the founding charter members in 1959. Established in the era of the modern Civil Rights Movement (1959), this organization has provided support, particularly in the early years, to those who developed careers as artists while teaching at historically black colleges and universities.
The Visual Arts Alliance hopes that you will also attend his lecture and events at the Arts Council on Wednesday February 17 at 2 p.m. This event includes a special lecture and book signing by Dr. David C. Driskell for students at Fayetteville State University, Methodist University, Fayetteville Technical Community College and UNC Pembroke.
The schedule of Dr. Driskell’ visit to Fayetteville can be found at www. theartscouncil.com