FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (July 24, 2002)   
Contact:  Diane G. Dufllho, Director, Meadows Museum of Art, 318-869-5040
 Date of Event: August 10 - October 20, 2002
 Re: Exhibition Opening of A Celebration of Rural America

Meadows Museum of Art Opens the 2002-03 Season with A Celebration of Rural America

SHREVEPORT, LA -- An exhibition of print works by many of America's most renowned Regionalist artists opens to the public on Aug. 10 at 5:30 p.m. at the Meadows Museum of Art at Centenary College of Louisiana and sets the tone for the 2002-03 season.

Autumn Gold -- Coy Avon Seward 1929 WoodcutMore than 20 of America's finest artists are featured in the exhibition that captures the idealized, early 20th Century vision of rural America through landscapes and working people.  Works by American artistic luminaries Grant Wood, Thomas Hart Benton, John Steuart Curry and Mabel Dwight are included in this exhibition and make this special season opener as historically and aesthetically important as it is timely.November Evening -- Jackson Lee Nesbitt lithograph

Shortly after the turn of the century, American artists sought to release the art establishment from the grip of European studio painting and produce works that defined America through depictions of everyday life. The Ash Can School artists, a group that included John Sloan and George Luks, created images of urban daily life that realistically depicted the streets of New York. These artists were dubbed The Ash Can School by the critics because they depicted subject matter that in the previous century was considered inappropriate for works of art.

Other artists followed the trend of depicting common people but chose the daily life of rural peoples as their subject matter. A Celebration of Rural America fully illustrates the range of works created by these artists, who as a group became identified as the American Scene Movement. It was during the grip of the Depression (1929-1943), however, that the American Scene Movement became known as Regionalism.

Working in a style that became synonymous with America, artists such as Thomas Hart Benton, John Steuart Curry and Grant Wood, fled the urban centers of New York and Paris to return to their roots in order to capture the sights of America's rugged, rural hinterland. Other artists such as Isabel Bishop and Reginald Marsh (on view in the Meadows Museum of Art Permanent Collection exhibition galleries) continued the trend of the Ash Can School artists and depicted common urban scenes, the contextual polar opposite of the Regionalist subject matter.

It was through the Regionalist works of Thomas Hart Benton, Adolf Dehn and Stow Wengenroth that a new vision of America and a uniquely American style emerged.  As with the works created by the Ash Can School artists, the subject matter of Regionalist works had been previously considered inappropriate by the establishment because it captured common people from a variety of eclectic cultures. Ultimately, it was this group of rural immigrants that helped to form the unique fabric of American culture.

"The Meadows Museum of Art at Centenary College of Louisiana is delighted to be able to open the season with this exhibition celebrating American rural life, its peoples and the extraordinary group of artists that produced these works," said Diane Dufilho, director of the museum.  Members from the community-at-large are invited to attend a special volunteer training session for A Celebration of Rural America on Monday, Aug. 26, at 9:30 a.m. in the Meadows Museum of Art galleries.  A special gallery talk on Regionalist prints and a tour of this collection will be included.  For further information about the Meadows Museum of Art Volunteer Program or to reserve a spot at  A Celebration of Rural America Volunteer Training, call the Meadows Museum of Art Education Department at 318-841-7271.

This collection of historic prints was organized for the Meadows Museum of Art by Blair-Murrah Exhibition, the service organization that provides a wide range of historic, cultural, educational and contemporary exhibitions to institutions throughout the world.

The Meadows Museum of Art is located on the campus of Centenary College of Louisiana at 2911 Centenary Boulevard in Shreveport, La. The Museum is open to the general public from noon to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; from noon to 5 p.m. on Thursday; from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The Museum is closed on Monday.  The Museum is free of charge to the general public. For further information or to receive a 2002-2003 Exhibition and Program Guide, call the Museum Business Office at 318-869-5040.

The printing of educational and informational materials for this exhibition has been supported by a generous grant from the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Museum receives general operating support from the Shreveport Regional Arts Council with funds from the City of Shreveport. The Museum receives annual support from the Friends of the Algur Meadows Museum. The Museum seeks and receives funding and support from both public and private foundations and other sources on a project-by-project basis.

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