The Sutton Collection opens ‘Acts of Faith’

January 28, 2016


Staff Reporter | klb072@latech.edu. 

The “Acts of Faith” exhibition displays local artists’ pieces–Photo by Avery Bryan

The “Acts of Faith” exhibition displays local artists’ pieces–Photo by Avery Bryan


The Sutton Collection of American & African American Art opened their art exhibition titled ‘Acts of Faith’ in Dunbar Hall on Grambling State University’s campus and will stay opened to the public until Feb. 25, 2016.


The “Acts of Faith” exhibition features pieces from various local artists and some from across the U.S. Two local contributors to the art show are Rodrecas Davis, GSU’s assistant professor of art, and Frank Kelley Jr., a Grambling alumnus.


“It’s always good to be displayed,” Davis said. “To be in a show by a collection so well-known, to be with others from all over like Benny Andrews, Micheal Harris, Elizabeth Catlett, including the other local artists, and just be placed on the same playing field as them is amazing.”


Davis said it is an honor for him to be able to display his work next to a combination of people from the Monroe, Ruston, Grambling area and with everyone else from across the U.S. He also said this exhibit is unique. Davis said since being at Grambling, there has been few exhibits to be focused on African American art. Yet, the shows are usually more diverse and “capture the very breath of it all,’ which Davis said is due to the different styles used by artists.


“The overall history of people is so wide and varied and deep which makes things impressive,” Davis said.


Like Davis, Kelley also said the exhibit is unique. Kelley said the exhibit is a tribute to society and community and feels it is vital for the world to understand the gift that artists were given.


“This exhibition is a fantastic opportunity for everyone, not just the artists but everyone, to see the paintings first hand,” Davis said. “God created us to produce these pieces of work that we were able to create through His grace.”


Kelley said they were given the gift as artists to show the past, present and future. He said he wants the world to accept his work, and for everyone to get the opportunity to see people of African descent to show their creativity in a large body of work. He also said artists are just as important as anyone else in their own fields because people cannot learn everything from only reading books and listening to someone talk, but also from looking at visual paintings and objects.


“I love what I do because, with art, you can see the artists’ emotion and thoughts being put into the painting,” Kelley said.


Kelley said he advises viewers to look at art from a geometric and brush stroke point-of-view and to pay attention to the texture and different values of light and dark colors used to get a better understanding of the artists. As a result, both Davis and Kelley fit Cheryl Sutton’s, the collector and curator for Art-On-Purpose, purpose for the “Acts of Faith” exhibition.


“I wanted to include different artists because they are different types of artists,” Sutton said. “I wanted to have a well-rounded exhibition with different point of views.”


Sutton said she came to choose the artists and their art by what was appealing to them and what she thought would fully depict the American & African American history and culture. She said the scripture, Proverbs 24:3, which she posted at the beginning of the exhibition and reads, “By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established,” has become the purpose and foundation of the collection.


Sutton said her reasons behind the exhibit were to “celebrate faith, art, artists and history.” She also said the planned timing of the exhibit was meant to celebrate the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and Black History Month in February.


“Our history is extraordinary but the holidays that celebrate them and our culture are few in number,” Sutton said. “I want to make the most out of each occasion and opportunity and not let the month pass without honoring it and those who have made the history and fought for the existence of a holiday.”


Sutton said all the events which will be taking place until the exhibit’s closing will be for people to get to know art and the artists. She also said one of her intentions of the exhibit is to give visitors the chance to buy the art and add them to their collection.


“I want visitors to be reminded of the power of faith, to celebrate the artists and their work, and provide an opportunity to proudly celebrate American and African American history and culture,” Sutton said.


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