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WMA to open new exhibitions at Art After Hours on April 20th

The Wiregrass Museum of Art (WMA) will open new exhibitions on the evening of Thursday, April 20 at its monthly Art After Hours event. Members and the general public are invited to preview works, meet exhibiting artists, and enjoy artmaking, drinks, and music in the galleries.

“WATER GROUND: River Raft Quilts” by Coulter Fussell features a continuing series of sculptural quilt-works, which act as open-ended narrative vessels for stories of personal escape and tales of dream-seeking. Coulter Fussell, born and raised in Columbus, Georgia, is the youngest family quilter, hailing from multi-generations of seamstresses and quilters. Fussell is a 2021 Museum of Arts and Design Burke Prize Finalist, the Jane Crater Hiatt Fellow and winner of the 2021 Mississippi Museum of Art Biennial exhibition. She is a 2019 United States Artists Fellow in Craft, the 2019 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Visual Arts Inductee, and a Finalist for the 2017 SouthArts Southern Prize. Fussell has exhibited across the U.S. and lives in rural north Mississippi with her family.

Her work uses discarded and donated textiles as her sole materials, and explores recurring narrative themes of the physical labor of Craft, “uncovering human connections across time and distance through personal stories and the infinite promise between mother and child. Drawing from a childhood growing up in a river-town that owes its existence to cotton and textile mills, I sew my stories and envisaged stories of others as outfitted rafts and guide-maps, set to journey on an imagined river rolling through valleys amidst the Southern economic fallout’s reign upon the natural world,” the artist states. “WATER GROUND” is on view at WMA until June 24, 2023.

Alicia Henry, Untitled (Multi-Faced Piece), 2019-2021, Dye, acrylic, fabric, thread, and paper

“Kudzu Soliloquy”, on view until June 24, combines contemporary art and traditional craft, and interprets the blended nature of our existence in the South as traditions tend to inform our present-day practices. This exhibition, guest curated by Holly Meyers, explores Southern Identity by portraying the Southern Gothic aesthetic of its environment, living culture, folklife traditions, and craft. Exhibiting artists include Michael Acuff, Sarah Adkins-Jablonsky, Gwen Chafin, Zoe Fitch, Cathy Fussell, Aaron Sanders Head, Alicia Henry, Bethanne Hill, Glenn House, George Jones Jr., Jessica Peterson, Jerry Siegel, Marjorie Williams-Smith, and Lynette Youson, whose works offer a wide range of mediums for visitors to experience, including mixed media and found object assemblage and installation, traditionally woven brooms and chairs, contemporary sculpture, painting, works on paper, and more.

This exhibition provides three artist talks and panel discussions on folklore, art history, and the thematic elements of the works on view; registration for these programs can be found on the museum’s website at wiregrassmuseum.org/visiting-artist-series/. “Kudzu Soliloquy” is supported by a grant from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts, and public programs are supported by a grant from the Alabama Humanities Alliance.

Serenity Sanders, House of Royalty, 2023, Helen Keller Art Show of Alabama

Art After Hours also offers attendees the opportunity to experience The Helen Keller Art Show of Alabama, an exhibition of work created by Alabama students with visual impairments, blindness, and deafness, on view until May 20, 2023. The exhibition is juried statewide, travels from Birmingham to Mobile, and select pieces are also shown internationally. The Helen Keller Art Show of Alabama emphasizes creativity, color, and tactile media in the arts. The winning entry for the grand prize is selected by the Helen Keller Festival Board to receive the Patty Johnson Award, and will remain in the permanent collection at Ivy Green in Tuscumbia, AL, the birthplace of Helen Keller.

Kole Nichols, Writing Home, natural dye, ink, oil, dust, and gel medium on paper, 10”x 7 ½ ”, 2022

“Remnant” features works by Kole Nichols, a multi-disciplinary artist from Florence, Alabama, and will be on view until June 24, 2023.  Nichols utilizes the languages of printmaking, drawing, sculpture, and painting as an expanded approach to art making in order to navigate diverse conceptual interests. Additional exhibitions on view during Art After Hours include Selections from the Permanent Collection, as well works from area students in WMA’s Education Gallery.

Art After Hours is from 5:30 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. Admission is free for members, and $5 for not-yet members. A cash bar will be available, as well as artmaking stations with activities inspired by the exhibitions on view. For more information about this event or other annual arts programming, visit wiregrassmuseum.org or call 334-794-3871.

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