UCR ARTS is featuring an original exhibition focused on a giant in the field of African American art — David C. Driskell, an artist, scholar, curator, and art collector.
The exhibition, “David C. Driskell & Friends: Creativity, Collaboration & Friendship,” is funded in substantial part through a $50,000 Teiger Foundation grant. The exhibition honors the late scholar and artist who in addition to curating and promoting Black art, was known for producing pieces that celebrated African American life and culture. It also presents work by Driskell’s wide circle of friends — figures such as Hale Woodruff, James Porter, Elizabeth Catlett, Kara Walker, Romare Bearden, Keith Morrison, Jacob Lawrence, and many more.
“David C. Driskell & Friends” runs Sept. 2- Dec. 23 and has a public reception on October 7. UCR ARTS visitors will be able to take a free catalog featuring artwork, historical photographs, background on Driskell’s life, and essays written by the exhibition’s co-curators, Sheila Bergman, Heather Sincavage, and Curlee R. Holton.
“We are thrilled with the Teiger Foundation’s grant because it supports an exhibition vital to our times,” said Douglas McCulloh, UCR ARTS senior curator and interim executive director. UCR ARTS is one of 39 Teiger grantees selected from a pool of more than 400 applicants. “David C. Driskell was a man of conviction, who believed in capturing African American history through art. He was a pioneer in many aspects, often recognized with notable awards, including the National Humanities Medal and by being elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. We are honored to share this artist’s work with our Southern California community.”
The Teiger Foundation is a New York-based contemporary arts organization. According to a foundation news release, it awarded $4.2 million in 2023 to support various institutions and projects across the United States. Of that total, $3.3 million was awarded through the foundation’s inaugural Call for Proposals, an initiative designed to support curatorial activities to address gaps in funding for contemporary art curators. UCR ARTS is part of that inaugural group of awardees.
“David C. Driskell & Friends” was first presented at Wilkes University in Pennsylvania in November 2022. After the exhibition closes at UCR ARTS, it will travel to the Driskell Center in Maryland in February 2024, and the University of Pennsylvania in June 2024.
Saturday, Oct. 7
UCR ARTS has a public reception featuring two events: The first portion is a panel with the three Driskell curators: Bergman, former UCR ARTS executive director and current executive director at Catalina Museum for Art & History; Sincavage, associate professor of art and director of the Sordoni Art Gallery at Wilkes University; and Holton (joining virtually), director and artist-in-residence at the David C. Driskell Center for the Study of Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans & the African Diaspora. The second event, followed by the panel, is an exhibition opening reception from 6-9 pm. It's free and open to the public.
“We are planning a series of three panel discussions/community conversations in partnership with the Civil Rights Institute of Inland Southern California. We're inviting local artists, activists, and scholars to discuss themes of social justice, art, and images inspired by the ‘Driskell,’ ‘The Impact of Images: Mamie Till's Courage from Tragedy,’ ‘Jon Henry,’ and ‘Dyno-Woman’ exhibitions which variously open from October through May,” McCulloh said.
UCR ARTS is working with local artist Richard Allen May III to lead weekend community artmaking workshops inspired by these same themes of social justice and art, McCulloh said.
Full exhibition details: UCR ARTS
UCR ARTS address: 3824 Main St, Riverside, CA 92501