Works of five African-American Artists are on display at the Columbia State Community College Pryor Art Gallery in conjunction with a special traveling exhibit, We Shall Not Be Moved: The 50th Anniversary of Tennessee’s Civil Rights Sit-Ins, through Oct. 12.
Featured artists include James Threalkill, Michael J. McBride, Michael “Ol Skool” Mucker, John “Jahni” Moore and James Spearman Jr.
While the traveling exhibit organized by the curatorial staff at the Tennessee State Museum explores historic resistance to segregation in African American communities, the local exhibit showcases living artists whose work transcend any limitations of the past.
“It certainly seems appropriate to exhibit the work of successful African-American artists in juxtaposition to the struggles depicted in the Civil Rights Movement artifacts,” explained Pryor Gallery Curator Rusty Summerville, who organized the local exhibit.
“The works of the five artists on display are very diverse, reflecting the personal journey of each,” Summerville observed.
Alabama native Moore has won numerous awards for his creative and humanitarian accomplishments.
“I believe that creativity should be an integral part of any effective educational and healing process,” said Moore, who recently served as an art ambassador to South America. “I have used art as therapy for children’s advocacy and hospice centers. A creative spirit manifests in the flesh.”
Threalkill spent many years directing community art programs in his hometown of Nashville. In 1995 he traveled to South Africa to coordinate a mural project with South African students for which he received a commendation by President Nelson Mandela during a personal visit.
Commitment to the Nashville art world has always been at the forefront of McBride’s career, which includes instructor, artist, curator, illustrator and commercial artist. He was one of Nashville 17 artists featured in a sister cities exhibition with Belfast, Northern Ireland in 2005 – one of many prestigious accomplishments.
“Growing up in the Golden Age of Hip Hop, graffiti became one of my artistic pastimes that allowed creative freedom,” said Mucker, a Tennessee artist who works with children to develop logical application for their creative thoughts and dreams. “Art is visual music that they eyes play for the mind and soul of the viewer.”
Spearman, a native Georgian who now lives in Columbia, considers himself a realist and uses oil, acrylic, pencil and charcoal to capture portraits, landscapes, animals and other subjects. His work is collected nationally.
Summerville encourages schools, organizations and churches to schedule special tours of both exhibits now on display at The Pryor Art Gallery, located in the Waymon L. Hickman building on the Columbia State Community College campus, Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m., and on Friday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. Exhibits are free and open to the public. For more information contact PryorGallery@ColumbiaState.edu or call Summerville 931-540-2883.