NASHVILLE, TN.- Hailed as one of the most outstanding self-taught carvers of the 20th century, William Edmondson paved the way for many African American artists. Cheekwood celebrates Black History Month with its ongoing exhibition, William Edmondson: The Hand and the Spirit, and a special lecture on his work.
On Saturday, February 16 at 2:00 pm, Dr. Bobby Lovett, Ph.D, scholar and professor at Tennessee State University, describes how the artist’s faith, community, and culture influenced his works in an intriguing lecture, William Edmondson: Spirit in Stone. Celebrate Black History Month and learn about this revolutionary artist as well as this interesting era of American culture. Seats may be reserved by calling 615-353-9827 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a seat. Admission is free with gate admission to Cheekwood.
Born in 1874 and raised south of Nashville in what is today Green Hills, Edmondson found his calling as a sculptor late in life. During the 1930s, his talents were recognized by art collectors and professionals; in 1937, he was the first African American to receive a solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Edmondson is now considered one of the great artists of the Twentieth Century.
Cheekwood’s exhibition covers a wide range of Edmondson’s work, including his statue of Eve, his Schoolteacher, an eagle, a ram, a squirrel, and a gravestone. As documented in a black and white photo that is included in the exhibition, Edmondson used an old railroad spike to carve these sculptures. Edmondson’s sculptures are magical and are derived from a strong spiritual connection with God.
Further background on Edmondson and Nashville can be found in Professor Lovett’s articles and books: R. Findley, edited, The Art of William Edmondson (University Press of Mississippi and Cheekwood Museum of Art, 1999); Lovett, The African American History of Nashville (University of Arkansas, 1999), and Lovett, The Civil Rights Movement in Tennessee (University of Tennessee Press, 2005).
Cheekwood inspires and educates by making art, horticulture and nature accessible to a diverse community. Cheekwood is located at 1200 Forrest Park Drive in Nashville, 8 miles southwest of downtown Nashville. Open Tuesday – Saturday 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. For further information call 615-356-8000 or visit www.cheekwood.org.