BYU Hosts African-American Art Exhibition

Contributed By Jason Swensen, Church News staff writer

  • 1 March 2017

“Lionel Hampton, The Hippodrome,” a 1955 photo by Ernest Withers, is included in the BYU Museum of Art exhibition Embracing Diverse Voices.  Image courtesy of the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts.

Article Highlights

  • The BYU Museum of Art is hosting “Embracing Diverse Voices: A Century of African-American Art.”
  • The exhibition will be on display through April 29, 2017.

PROVO, UTAH

Brigham Young University can truly be called a global university. Students from more than 100 countries attend the Church-owned school—and many more speak multiple languages.

The BYU Museum of Art has long reflected the school’s broad diversity and reach. Past exhibitions have included artwork from the Middle East, Asia, the Americas, Europe, and other corners of the world.

The museum’s most recent exhibition features art crafted inside the United States—but still celebrates a rich and specific cultural element of American art.

Embracing Diverse Voices: A Century of African-American Art features 60 pieces of art from 25 black artists from the late 19th century to the present day—including Romare Bearden, James Van Der Zee, Elizabeth Catlett, and Gordon Parks.

“As a university museum, we are dedicated to learning and to championing art of all different cultures,” said curator Janalee Emmer in a museum release. “This exhibition really does both of those things exceptionally well.

Jacob Lawrence’s The Builders (The Family), a 1974 color screenprint on woven paper, is included in the BYU Museum of Art exhibition celebrating African-American art. Image courtesy of the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts.

“We have the privilege of seeing works by prominent African-Americans who have made significant contributions to the art world. Through their distinct styles and voice, we follow changes in art in the past century as well as see critical moments in our history, including poignant moments from the Civil Rights era.”

The exhibition features a variety of artistic media—including paint, pen, photography, wood, and metal.

Embracing Diverse Voices is organized and created by the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts and will be on display in the BYU museum through April 29, 2017. The exhibition opened in conjunction with a monthlong celebration in February of Black History Month at the museum.

Admission is free.