Exhibition featuring African American art from 3 Michigan museums on display

Brandon Champion | bchampio@mlive.comBy Brandon Champion on January 03, 2016 at 10:50 AM, updated January 03, 2016 at 10:52 AM

MUSKEGON, MI – Three Michigan art museums have teamed up to present a world-class exhibition featuring African American art.

Common Ground: African American Art opened on Dec. 10 and is on display at the Muskegon Museum of Art through March 20.

The original exhibition features more than 60 pieces drawn from the collections of the MMA, the Flint Institute of Arts and the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts. Painting, sculpture and works on paper are among the mediums represented.

“Common Ground exhibits a major representation of works by African American artists that spans a couple centuries,” said Marguerite Curran-Gawron, communications and public relations manager. “The works in the show will impress viewers with the mastery of artists who had to overcome personal and cultural adversity.”

Common Ground is meant to represent each museum’s unique holdings while highlighting their shared love of African American art.

The exhibition is divided into five thematic areas that give a broad overview of the history of African American art. Legendary African American artists, including Henry Ossawa Tanner, Elizabeth Catlett, Charles White, and Jacob Lawrence, are represented.

Several Michigan artists are also represented including Hughie Lee-Smith, Richard Hunt, Charles McGee and Senghor Reid.

“There are really beautiful and moving works in this exhibition,” Curran-Gawron said. “The curators from the three contributing museums brought together, in careful collaboration, some of our finest works by African American artists. The works are organized by theme to help us understand this part of art history in America.”

The Muskegon appearance of Common Ground is underwritten by the DTE Energy Foundation and co-sponsored by Fifth Third Bank and the Nancy A. Waters and Mark Waters Fund of the Community Foundation for Muskegon County.

Additional support is provided by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs with the National Endowment for the Arts. Related programming is made possible in part by a grant from the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Admission to the museum is $8 per adult, $5 per adult student with ID and free for museum members and children through the age of 17.

The museum is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. It is closed on Mondays.

Brandon Champion is a Reporter for MLive Muskegon Chronicle. Email him atbchampio@mlive.com and follow him on Twitter @BrandonThaChamp.

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