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Black Art in Houston: “Soul of a Nation” Virtual Panel Discussion August 2, 2020


Discover the rich legacy of Black art in Houston. On Saturday, August 8, tune in at 3 p.m. for a livestream discussion moderated by Alvia Wardlaw, curator and director of the University Museum at Texas Southern University. She talks to Soul of a Nation artist Earlie Hudnall, Jr. along with Michelle Barnes, executive director of Houston’s Community Artists’ Collective; and Houston artist Nathaniel Donnett.

“Black Art in Houston” is the fourth of five panel discussions in the Saturday series accompanying the exhibition Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power. This online conversation explores TSU’s renowned art program, founded by Houston artists John Biggers and Carroll Simms, as well as the Black art scene in Houston, past and present.

Meet the Panel

Earlie Hudnall, Jr.
Originally from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, photographer Earlie Hudnall, Jr., began his career as an artist after serving as a Marine in the Vietnam War and moving to Houston, where he studied art and was mentored by John Biggers at TSU. Hudnall’s photographs convey family and community within African American culture, and his work is in the collections of museums across the United States, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Art Institute of Chicago; and Washington, DC’s Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Michelle Barnes
Michelle Barnes is the founder and executive director of the Community Artists’ Collective, a Houston nonprofit arts organization that supports Black artists, specifically African American women artists. Barnes attended Houston’s Jack Yates High School and the University of Houston, and she has been a teacher at Houston’s Sharpstown High School and the Kinkaid School.

Nathaniel Donnett
Houston-based artist Nathaniel Donnett is a TSU alumnus and a master of fine arts candidate in painting at the Yale University School of Art. Among other awards, Donnett most recently received a 2020 Dean’s Critical Practice Research Grant and a 2020 Art and Social Justice Initiative Grant. His work has been exhibited throughout the United States, at venues including the Community Artists’ Collective, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Project Row Houses in Houston, the New Museum in New York City, and Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art.

Alvia Wardlaw
A nationally recognized scholar in African American art and history, Alvia Wardlaw is the director of the University Museum at Texas Southern University and was previously a curator at the MFAH. She was a longtime colleague of artists John Biggers and Carroll Simms, and her scholarship and research over the past 30 years have brought widespread recognition to their work and to the art of many other Black artists of the South.

Tune in on Saturday, August 8, at 3 p.m. for the virtual discussion about Houston’s Black art scene Before or after, experience Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power at the MFAH, the final venue for the exhibition’s three-year tour. Plan ahead for your visit.

This virtual lecture series receives generous funding from Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.