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Say it Loud exhibition celebrates Norton's collection of art by African and African-American artists
Nick Cave, Sounsuit, 2010. Mixed media, 90 x 30 x 23 in. Purchase, acquired through the generosity of the 2010 Contemporary and Modern Art Council and the R. H. Norton Trust, 2011.11.

WEST PALM BEACH, FL.- The Norton Museum of Art announced the opening of Say it Loud: Art by African and African-American Artists in the Collection. The exhibition, which runs through March 3, 2013, includes dozens of paintings, sculptures, photographs, and works on paper spanning much of the past 100 years.

“This exhibition celebrates the diversity of the Museum’s Collection, and features more than 20 artists working in a variety of media and representing an array of styles, ideas, and issues inspired by personal and artistic concerns,” said Norton Executive Director Hope Alswang.

Among the works in the exhibition are rarely-seen photographs by James Van Der Zee and Gordon Parks, sculpture by Augusta Savage, paintings by Jacob Lawrence and Charles Henry Alston, and contemporary works by Nick Cave, Al Loving, Faith Ringgold, Yinka Shonabare, Mary Sibande, Kara Walker, and others. (Ringgold is scheduled to discuss her life’s work as artist, activist, author, and teacher at 4 p.m. on Jan. 20, 2013 at the Museum.)

The Norton Museum of Art also announced a $1.5 million grant from The Leonard and Sophie Davis Fund/MLDauray Arts Initiative for a six-year project called RAW (Recognition of Art by Women). RAW’s mission is to discover, highlight, showcase, and promote living women artists, a group the grantors believe has been substantially underrepresented, and that the Museum wishes to champion.

With this grant, the Museum will organize six special exhibitions, one in each of the next six years (2011-2016). The inaugural exhibition will premier this fall and feature the rarely-exhibited paintings and drawings of British artist Jenny Saville, It is being organized by the Norton’s Curator of Contemporary Art, Cheryl Brutvan. The grant encompasses exhibition, publication, research, and education programming, and includes the funding of the first Sophie Davis Curatorial Fellow, which the museum is now recruiting, and will allow the Museum to expand its research and exhibition development.

“This is a spectacular gift,” said Museum Executive Director Hope Alswang. “This grant not only represents an incredible opportunity for the Museum to continue a relationship with the Davis family -- a family that has been an important part of its history and development over the past two decades -- but it is also completely transformative to our contemporary collection. It gives us a dynamic new platform from which to engage our many audiences, and affords our curators the opportunity to speak and publish on important topics. In short, it allows the Museum to influence the way art is being discussed today.”

Alan Davis, son of Leonard and Sophie Davis, who directs the fund, said, “My wife (Mary Lou Dauray) and I discussed opportunities to make a statement about the gender discrimination that still exists today, and the lack of representation of women artists in many museums. We came up with a program that made sense for both the Norton and for us. I have to say it wasn’t very difficult because the Museum was already there in terms of their ideas about women artists, and working with living artists in particular.”

Davis added that, “The grant also provides a perfect opportunity to continue my parents' support of an important institution. The Norton was one of my mother’s great passions. She was very interested in public access to the arts, and very proud of her association with the Museum.”

The late Leonard and Sophie Davis were among Palm Beach’s most prominent philanthropists. Sophie Davis also served on the Norton Museum's board, and the couple’s contributions included $2.5 million toward the Museum’s expansion, and a gift of Chinese art. Sophie Davis died in 2000 and Leonard Davis in 2001. Their children established the Leonard and Sophie Davis Fund in 2001.

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