“Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power” Virtual Programs

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, presents a dynamic lineup of Virtual Experience programming—artist talks, discussions, films, and more—to accompany the exhibition Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power

Soul of a Nation Virtual Programs

Exhibition Video Tour Watch Now
Explore the Soul of a Nation galleries, and learn more about the artists and their work through video, audio commentary, and installation photography.

Exhibition Overview Watch Now 
MFAH curator Kanitra Fletcher offers an introduction to Soul of a Nation in its Houston presentation, the final stop on the three-year tour.

Conversations with the Director Watch Now
Gary Tinterow, director of the MFAH, talks with Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation; and Kanitra Fletcher, curator at the MFAH, about the landmark exhibition and related social issues, past and present.

Houston Greeting & Exhibition Discussion Watch Now
The organizing curators—Mark Godfrey, curator at Tate Modern in London; and Zoé Whitley, director of Chisenhale Gallery in London—talk about how they conceived of the exhibition and how they view it now, within the world’s current social and political climate.

Panel Discussion “Black Art & Activism”
Saturday, July 18, 3 p.m. (livestream) Watch Now
Panelists: Soul of a Nation artists Jae Jarrell, Wadsworth Jarrell, and Gerald Williams. Moderator: Rebecca Zorach, Northwestern University.

Panel Discussion “Black Art through the Lens”
Saturday, July 25, 3 p.m. (livestream) Watch Now 
Panelists: Soul of a Nation artists Dawoud Bey, Adger Cowans, and Ming Smith. Moderator: Deborah Willis, New York University. 

Panel Discussion “Black Art & Abstraction”
Saturday, August 1, 3 p.m. (livestream) Watch Now
Panelists: Soul of a Nation artists Melvin Edwards, Fred Eversley, and William T. Williams. Moderator: Valerie Cassel Oliver, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. 

Panel Discussion “Black Art in Houston”
Saturday, August 8, 3 p.m. (livestream) Watch Now
Panelists: Soul of a Nation artist Earlie Hudnall, Jr.; Michelle Barnes, Community Artists’ Collective; and artist Nathaniel Donnett. Moderator: Alvia Wardlaw, Texas Southern University.

Panel Discussion “Black Cultural Organizations in Houston”
Saturday, August 15, 3 p.m. (livestream) Watch Now
Panelists: artist Vicki Meek; Eileen Morris, the Ensemble Theatre; and Harrison Guy, Urban Souls Dance Company. Moderator: John Guess, Houston Museum of African American Culture.

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

Soul of a Nation Virtual Cinema

• John Lewis: Good Trouble
(Directed by Dawn Porter, 2020, 96 min.)
Interviews and rare archival footage chronicle John Lewis’s 60-plus years of social activism and legislative action on civil rights, voting rights, gun control, health-care reform, and immigration. Streaming through August 30

Ella Fitzgerald: Just One of Those Things
(Directed by Leslie Woodhead, 2019, 89 min.)
Tracing the story of Ella Fitzgerald’s life, this documentary explores how her music became a soundtrack for a tumultuous century, beginning with a 1934 talent contest at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. Streaming through August 30

Killer of Sheep
(Directed by Charles Burnett, 1978, 80 min.)
Featuring an extraordinary soundtrack and heralding the “L.A. Rebellion” filmmakers at UCLA, this groundbreaking drama follows a sensitive dreamer (Houston-born Henry Gayle Sanders) who is exhausted by his job at a slaughterhouse. Preceded by When It Rains (Directed by Charles Burnett 1995, 13 min.) A musician spends New Year’s Day trying to help his friend pay rent. Streaming

Cane River
(Directed by Horace Jenkins, 1982, 104 min.)
Crafted by an entirely Black cast and crew, this recently rediscovered masterwork by Horace B. Jenkins is a racially charged love story set in rural Louisiana. The director’s son, Sacha Jenkins, joined Bun B for an online discussion on July 28. Streaming

Chisholm ’72: Unbought and Unbossed
(Directed by Shola Lynch, 2004, 76 min.)
This compelling documentary takes an in-depth look at the 1972 presidential campaign of Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman elected to Congress and the first to seek nomination for the highest office in the land. On Thursday, September 24, tune in at 6:30 p.m. for the rescheduled Facebook Live discussion with panelists including Chisholm ’72 director Shola Lynch. Streaming through August 30

Bless Their Little Hearts
(Directed by Billy Woodberry, 1984, 84 min.)
Another key masterpiece from the “L.A Rebellion” filmmakers, Bless Their Little Hearts tells the story of a man (Nate Hardman) who views his chronic unemployment as a spiritual trial. Streaming

• Losing Ground
(Directed by Kathleen Collins, 1982, 86 min.)
At personal and professional crossroads, a young philosophy professor (Seret Scott) and her painter husband (Bill Gunn) leave New York City for a summer in the country and experience a reawakening. In honor of the film’s restoration, cinematographer Ronald K. Gray and TSU’s Alvia Wardlaw sat down for a virtual discussion with MFAH film curator Marian Luntz. Streaming

Underwriting for the Film Department is provided by Tenaris and the Vaughn Foundation.

Generous funding is provided by The Consulate General of Israel Houston; Nina and Michael Zilkha; Franci Neely; Carrin Patman and Jim Derrick; Mr. and Mrs. H. Bruce Sallee; Lynn S. Wyatt; ILEX Foundation; Consolato Generale D’Italia Houston; L’Alliance Française de Houston; and The Foundation for Independent Media Arts.