In April, the Georgia Museum of Art will present its annual Larry D. and Brenda A. Thompson Award to artist Lou Stovall. Born in Athens, Georgia, Stovall has lived and worked in Washington, D.C., since 1962, making silkscreen prints of his own and other artists’ work.
The awards ceremony has traditionally taken place in February, during Black History Month, but the museum has many other programs to honor Black history that are free and open to the public, as well as an exhibition of Stovall’s work (“Lou Stovall: Of Land and Origins,” on view Feb. 19-May 29) and a display of jewelry by past Thompson Award winner Charles Pinckney.
The April 1 awards ceremony is open to sponsors only (sponsor at https://bit.ly/gmoa-bhc22) and will also feature the presentation of the annual Lillian C. Lynch Citation, which honors an African American leader who has made a significant contribution to African American cultural education and service. The late Ms. Lynch was a charter member of the Athens chapter of The Links, Incorporated. She was dedicated to the arts and was an advocate for cultural education in the Athens and Northeast Georgia community. Past recipients include John H. Morrow Jr. (2020), Lemuel “Life” LaRoche (2019), Lillian Kincey (2018), Althea Natalga Sumpter (2017), Michael C. Thurmond (2016), Natasha Trethewey (2015), Jeanne Cyriaque (2014) and Rudolph Byrd (2013).
The Larry D. and Brenda A. Thompson Award honors African American artists who have made significant but often lesser-known contributions to the visual arts tradition and have roots in or major connections to the state of Georgia. Known nationally for their advocacy of African American art and artists, the Thompsons endowed a curatorial position at the museum and donated works aimed at supporting the museum’s mission of diversity and inclusion in American art. The museum subsequently named this award in their honor. Past recipients include Kevin Cole (2020), Leo Twiggs (2019), Freddie Styles (2018), Larry M. Walker (2017), Emma Amos (2016), Amalia Amaki (2015), Charles Pinckney (2014) and Harold W. Rittenberry (2013).
Black History Month programs at the museum include:
Curator Talk: Celebrating African American Artists
Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2 p.m.
Shawnya L. Harris, Larry D. and Brenda A. Thompson Curator of African American and African Diasporic Art, will present a special tour celebrating African American artists for Black History Month. This program will highlight works of art from the Thompson Collection, as well as other works by Black artists currently on view in the museum’s permanent collection wing.
Artful Conversation: Ellis Wilson
Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2 p.m.
Artful Conversation programs are 30 minutes long, focus on just one work of art and provide opportunities for close looking, open-ended dialogue and discovery. This one focuses on Black artist Ellis Wilson’s painting “Dusk” (1950), with Sage Kincaid, associate curator of education.
Curator Talk: “Lou Stovall: Of Land and Origins”
Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2 p.m.
Join Shawnya Harris, Thompson Curator of African American and African Diasporic Art, for a special tour of the exhibition “Lou Stovall: Of Land and Origins.”
“Black is the Color: A History of African American Art”
Thursday, Feb. 24, 7 p.m.
This film highlights key moments in the history of African American visual art, from Edmonia Lewis’ 1867 sculpture “Forever Free” to the work of contemporary artists such as Whitfield Lovell, Kerry James Marshall, Ellen Gallagher and Jean‐Michel Basquiat. Art historians and gallery owners place the works in context, and contemporary artists discuss individual works by their forerunners and their ongoing influence. Both comprehensive and lively, “Black Is the Color” is a much‐needed survey of great work by artists whose contributions were neglected by the mainstream art world for far too long. Runtime: 52 minutes.
Family Day: American Artist Lou Stovall
Saturday, Feb. 26, 10 a.m. – noon
View screen prints by master printmaker Lou Stovall. Participate in Art Cart activities related to the exhibition “Lou Stovall: Of Land and Origins,” view screenprinting demonstrations, and then create Stovall-inspired round work of art at home using the free Family Day To-Go art kit. Attend the program Saturday or pick up kits from the museum Thursday-Sunday the week of the event. Family Day is sponsored by Lucy and Buddy Allen and the Friends of the Georgia Museum of Art.
Zoom lecture: Danielle O’Steen
Thursday, March 3, 5:30 p.m.
Danielle O’Steen, art historian and independent curator, will give a Zoom lecture in conjunction with the exhibition “Lou Stovall: Of Land and Origins.” O’Steen is curator of “Lou Stovall: On Inventions and Color,” which will be on view at the Kreeger Museum in Washington, D.C., through April 16. Register on the museum’s website at the event listing.