Year of Alabama Arts lecture series premieres at AU’s Jule Collins Art Museum

AUBURN – A lecture series celebrating the Year of Alabama Arts, “New Perspectives: Looking at 20th-Century Alabama Art,” will open at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art Tuesday, Jan. 23, at 4 p.m. with a talk by art historian Karen Henricks.

Henricks, professor of art history at Jacksonville State University and a respected authority on the art and architecture of the New Deal period of the 1930s, will speak on “Views from the South: Alabama’s New Deal Post Office Murals.” Her talk will include the historical background of Treasury Section art created for federal buildings in Alabama, as well as a discussion of art in the context of cultural history. Henricks will also speak on the future of the murals, some of which have already been lost.

Henricks’ talk is the first in a series of six “New Perspectives” lectures to be offered throughout the spring. The series will bring distinguished scholars from museums and universities across the Southeast to discuss Alabama’s rich artistic heritage, offering new interpretations, correcting previous misunderstandings and encouraging a broader understanding of the state’s contributions to America’s visual arts culture.

Future topics will include the relationship of self-taught artists to the social and cultural environment of the state, an examination of Alabama’s place in the history of the South’s and the nation’s arts in the early to mid-20th century and a consideration of William Christenberry’s Klan Tableau in the context of his biography, “American History and the Art of the South.”

Other scholars for the series include Margaret Lynne Ausfeld, Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts; William Underwood Eiland, Georgia Museum of Art; Laquita Thomson, Freed-Hardeman University; Allen Tullos, Emory University; and Lynn Barstis Williams, Auburn University.

The next lecture will be Tuesday, Jan. 30, at 4 p.m. and will feature Georgia Museum of Art’s Eiland speaking on “Picturing the Unvictorious: The Southern Scene in Alabama, 1930-1946.”

Each lecture will begin at 4 p.m. in the Jule Collins Smith Museum Auditorium. The series is sponsored by the Center for the Arts and Humanities in the College of Liberal Arts and the Alabama Humanities Foundation, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities. It is co-sponsored by the Alabama Center for the Book, the AU Art Department and the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art.

After premiering at Auburn, the lectures will be offered in selected locations around the state. For information about the lectures, call the Center for the Arts and Humanities at (334) 844-4946.

(Contributed by Mark Wilson.)

Contact: Mark Wilson, (334) 844-4948 (, or
Mike Clardy, (334 )844-9999 (