A landmark exhibition organized by the Toledo Museum of Art will present the museum’s recent acquisitions of major works by African American artists from the southern United States. Living Legacies: Art of the African American South features 24 works, from large-scale assemblages and mixed media sculptures to paintings, textiles, and works on paper acquired from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation. Artists represented are Leroy Almon, Thornton Dial, Thornton Dial, Jr., Richard Dial, Lonnie Holley, Ronald Lockett, Joe Minter, John B. Murray, Royal Robertson, Georgia Speller, Henry Speller, Luster Willis, and several generations of women quiltmakers, including Louisiana Bendolph, Mary Elizabeth Kennedy, Jessie T. Pettway, Lola Pettway, Lucy T. Pettway, Martha Pettway, Rita Mae Pettway, and Florine Smith, as well as Estelle Witherspoon, one of the founders of the Freedom Quilting Bee. In recent years, these artists’ innovative practices have received overdue recognition throughout institutional spaces and in the larger cultural discourse. This exhibition will celebrate their crucial contributions to a broader understanding of American art as well as their enduring legacies.
Living Legacies: Art of the African American South is funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities Sustaining the Humanities through the American Rescue Plan (#SHARP), the NEH’s $87.8 million grant program to help nearly 300 cultural and educational institutions recover from the economic impact of the pandemic. The exhibition is also supported by presenting sponsors Susan and Tom Palmer and season sponsor ProMedica, with additional support from the Ohio Arts Council and TMA Ambassadors.