There are a fount of art offerings on the Atlanta University Center’s campuses—and cross-institutional programming and curriculum to glue it all together. For example, the Atlanta University Center Collective for the Study of Art History & Curatorial Studies’ curriculum makes use of the Spelman College Museum of Fine Arts, Clark Atlanta University Art Museum, and the strong liberal arts programming on all campuses. Spelman College built the program, which enrolls students from Morehouse College and Clark Atlanta University who desire degrees in art history and curatorial studies. The efforts fold into consortium-wide exhibits like Hidden Gems, CAU Art Museum’s first AUC faculty and staff exhibition, which is currently on display.
Here’s what you can see on campus now.
Cultural syncretism is woven throughout Master Narrative, a 20-painting exhibit and large-scale sculptural installation by Afro–Cuban American artist Harmonia Rosales, who entwines tales and characters from Yorùbá religion, Greco-Roman mythology, and Christianity. Available for public viewing through December
On the road
The group exhibition Silver Linings: Celebrating the Spelman Art Collection will head to five institutions across the United States, beginning with Vassar College in September. Silver Linings uplifts the legacy of artists of African descent spanning the 20th century through the contemporary moment.
Clark Atlanta University
Displayed in the atrium of Trevor Arnett Hall, the Art of the Negro mural series was created by Hale Aspacio Woodruff and consists of six 12-by-12-foot oil paintings on canvas panels. Woodruff, Georgia State University’s first art professor and founder of the Atlanta University art department and permanent collection, painted the murals in 1950 and 1951. Available for viewing by appointment
Jacob Lawrence’s Alley, a painting from Clark Atlanta University Art Museum’s permanent collection, is featured on the cover of the National Museum of African American History and Culture booklet about HBCU museums, galleries, and archives.
The Morehouse College Martin Luther King Jr. Collection, housed in the AUC Robert W. Woodruff Library, showcases much of King’s life and work spanning from 1944 to 1968, including his strategic planning of the civil rights movement. The collection features 13,000 items including photos, artifacts, memorabilia, handwritten notes, famous and lesser-known speeches, manuscripts, sermons, and other writings of unparalleled historical significance. Available for viewing by appointment
In the Martin Luther King, Jr. International Chapel and Plaza, the Hall of Honor includes more than 150 oil portraits of global leaders of the international civil and human rights movement and Morehouse faculty and alum. The plaza is also home to the only bronze statue of King in Georgia and the Howard Thurman obelisk and crypt.
Morris Brown College
A 17-by-8-foot cutout image of Atlanta University faculty—with W.E.B. Du Bois in the back row—taken on the steps of Morris Brown’s campus’s Fountain Hall was an art project by historian Karcheik Sims-Alvarado. “The photograph will be a gift to the college to get them to call attention to the building and to get people to think about the preservation of the building,” said Sims-Alvarado. The original photograph, which was borrowed from the Herndon Home Museum, was taken circa 1906 by Black Atlanta photographer Thomas E. Askew. Available for viewing by appointment
As seen in
Without Regard to Sex, Race, or Color: The Past, Present, and Future of One Historically Black College, a book by Atlanta-based photographer Andrew Feiler, features 25 photographs focusing on the largely abandoned campus of Morris Brown College prior to its reaccreditation.
This article appears in our October 2023 issue.