Art Gallery Honors Black Artists With New Exhibit


Megan Oldak

“Mama Can Sing” (left) and “Papa Can Blow” (right) by Faith Ringgold hang in the art gallery. One of the key features of these pieces is the gold leaf Ringgold uses, which can be seen more clearly with a magnifying sheet.

Kailene Nye, Editor-in-Chief

The Pauly Friedman Art Gallery is giving visitors an uncommon dive into Black history with its new exhibit.

“The Fine Print,” which was organized with the help of Raven Fine Art Editions in Easton, Pa., highlights the work of 22 African-American printmakers and how they use their craft to retrace history.

The exhibit was inspired by a student survey, which revealed that students want to see more art from African American and Black artists, said Lalaine Little, Director. Little added that she was delighted to respond to this interest.

“Part of the Pauly Friedman Art Gallery’s mission is to bring students face-to-face with artists who have significantly contributed to our cultural landscape,” she said.

She worked with Curlee Raven Holton, renowned printmaker and founder of the Experimental Printmaking Institute at Lafayette College, and his team to bring in a variety of pieces that force viewers to look closer.

“The title, ‘The Fine Print,’ refers to the idea that readers of documents and texts tend to overlook or skim past the fine print, yet that is where you will find important information,” Little said.

She said the most fascinating part of the exhibit has been learning about each artist and their artistic motivations.

“Even I am learning about their extensive careers for the first time through this exhibition,” she said.

Another piece by Holton called “Searching For A Memory.” It combines visual art with poetry.

Little has also loved being able to showcase artists who are known for working with more than one type of medium.

“Learning about these artists through what was not their primary medium is truly fascinating because we usually know artists by their one iconic work when the reality is that artists, like the rest of us, grow and change and respond to life with many kinds of expressions, not just one,” she said.

The gallery is also hosting several virtual events in conjunction with the exhibit. The gallery hosted the Spoken Word Poetry Workshop on Feb. 3 with poet Lamont Dixon, during which students were able to create their own poetry.


Upcoming events include a Virtual Artists Studio Tour Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. Attendees will be able to meet some of the featured artists and learn more about their works. There will also be a virtual table reading of “A Raisin in the Sun” March 5 at 7 p.m. to showcase some literary art written by African Americans.

Stacy Mccarter, junior education and special education major, said she plans to visit the gallery and learn about the featured artists. She called the exhibit a blessing and said it will hopefully resonate with those who see it.

“Observers can take away a fresh perspective, admiration, inspiration to create their own masterpieces and feel encouraged to participate in dialogue,” she said. “The hope is observers will develop a respect, love, understanding, and desire to learn more about African American artists.”

She feels this exhibit is important because it brings stories that have been “kept from the eyes of the world” front and center.

“African American artworks encapsulates our history and tells a story, our story, the story of who we are in our own words,” Mccarter said.

A piece titled “Hands Up-Nimbus” by Curlee Raven Holton, who helped curate “The Fine Print” exhibit, hangs in the Pauly Friedman Art Gallery. Holton created it to bring awareness to bring more awareness to the discrimination faced by Black people.

Little said she hopes people will be inspired to take more interest in African American artists. She also hopes the exhibit serves as an example of how art can make underrepresented students feel more at home on campus.

“I hope students will let me know what the gallery can do to represent their interests and values,” she said. “I hope students who feel overlooked are empowered to ask for more than token representations of their culture on campus.”

Mccarter encourages the community to seize the opportunity to visit the gallery this semester.

“I hope our MU community take advantage of this exhibit and embrace the brilliant and talented Black artist,” she said.

“The Fine Print” will run until March 14.

The gallery is open to students from 10 a.m. 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Contact Little at [email protected] or call the gallery at 570-674-6250 to schedule a private tour. Non-students should contact Little to request a tour.