Exhibition of African-American art opening at Jule Collins Smith Museum Dec. 10

Pilate (Misty Island)AUBURN – The Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University will present the exhibition, “Promises of Freedom: Selections from the Arthur Primas Collection,” Dec. 10 through March 10.

“Promises of Freedom” features a range of works from the private collection of African-American art amassed by Arthur Primas, a Texas resident and prominent entertainment manager.

The exhibition includes 75 paintings, sculpture, drawings and prints by more than 30 artists and spans a period of 150 years. Highlighting artwork by Benny Andrews, Richmond Barthé, Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, Sam Gilliam, Jacob Lawrence, Howardena Pindell and Hale Woodruff, among others, the exhibition illustrates the universal quest for freedom and its impediments.

“Until recently, art history curricula and literature did not give adequate recognition to African-American artists,” said Dennis Harper, the museum’s curator of collections and exhibitions. “Now these artists are widely acknowledged for their creativity, achievements and considerable contributions to the history of American art.”

Primas says he considers himself the guardian rather than the owner of the collection. He says that he has benefitted deeply from the lessons of the art and its makers, considers it a valuable experience worth sharing and has made the collection available for travel.

“Promises of Freedom” is organized by Landau Traveling Exhibitions and The Heritage Gallery in Los Angeles.

Programs and events to complement the exhibition are scheduled beginning Thursday, Jan. 19, at 6 p.m. with a lecture by Primas and continuing through early March with lectures, poetry readings, gallery talks and theatrical and musical performances.

For more information on the exhibition or upcoming events, go to www.jcsm.auburn.edu or call (334) 844-1484.

(Written by Colleen Bourdeau.)

Colleen Bourdeau, Jule Collins Smith Museum, (334) 844-7075 (cst0001@auburn.edu), or

Mike Clardy, Office of Communications and Marketing, (334) 844-9999 (clardch@auburn.edu)