Arts & Culture

Oglethorpe’s “Beloved Community” exhibition celebrates Black artists

The Oglethorpe University Museum of Art officially re-opens after the winter break on Feb. 11 with a new exhibition: “Beloved Community: African American Artists in Atlanta Collections and Beyond”.  Additionally, the museum will show recent acquisitions in “OUMA Collects 2022: Selections from the Permanent Collection.”

"Gamin" by Augusta Savage

Augusta Savage (American, 1892-1962) Gamin, painted plaster, ca. 1930, Courtesy of the Johnson Collection, Spartanburg, SC

“Beloved Community” is a celebration of Black artists past and present. The exhibition includes 20th-century greats like Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, Hale Woodruff, Jacob Lawrence, and William Tolliver, as well as prominent contemporary artists like Shanequa Gay, whose work “La Pietá” was acquired by OUMA in 2019 through a student-led initiative to increase diversity in the museum’s permanent collection.

Many of the artists included in this exhibition were deliberately excluded from seminal exhibitions curated by major American museums during the 1960s and 1970s. Placing them alongside contemporary artists, “Beloved Community” paints a picture of the social justice movement and how it has evolved over time.

The museum will host an accompanying lecture series that will address themes within the exhibition. Featured lecturers will include OUMA’s Curator of Collections John Daniel Tilford, alumna Taylor Roberts ’21, and Atlanta artist Shanequa Gay.

The exhibition also promotes the rich diversity of Oglethorpe’s students, 59% of whom identify as Black, Indigenous, or People of Color, with 29% who identify as Black or African American. To better represent a diverse student body, the Oglethorpe museum formed a Student Diversity Committee, which seeks to elevate and prioritize diverse voices at every level of the museum’s activities and programming. Already, the committee has purchased several works for the museum’s permanent collection, including two paintings from the museum’s most recent exhibition “Art from the Inside.”

"Herencia" by Sophia Sobrino '25

“Herencia” by Sophia Sobrino ’25

Currently serving on the museum’s diversity committee is Sophia Sobrino ’25, whose piece “Herencia” was recently acquired by the museum and is the lead promotional image for “OUMA Collects,” an exhibition of works in the museum’s permanent collection. A freshman, Sobrino is already making waves in the Atlanta art scene, with pieces featured in art competitions and exhibits at the Latin American Association, the Mexican Consulate, and at UPS headquarters.

Both exhibitions are free and open to the public.

Top image: William Tolliver (American 1951-2000) Eve, 20th century Acrylic and oil on canvas, Gift of Warren and Karen Steinberg, Collection of Oglethorpe University Museum of Art

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