Lecture at Meadows Museum offers historical perspective on political ads in presidential campaigns

SHREVEPORT, LA — Dr. Mark Leeper, assistant professor of political science at Centenary, will present "Are They Still Hitting the Spot? An historical glance at the use and effectiveness of political ads in presidential campaigns" at the Meadows Museum of Art on Wednesday, October 12 from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, with refreshments.

"Political ads are complex beasts – a mixture of images, sound, music, messages, and people all intertwined into 30 seconds that candidates hope will reflect their strengths and make an impact," says Leeper. "At a minimum, political ads are a glimpse into the soul of a campaign – if there is one."

From "Ike Answers America" to "Daisy" to "It's Morning in America Again," Leeper's lecture will analyze the art and impact of political advertising from its inception through today. Those who attend will be active participants – like a focus group – determining the relative strengths or weaknesses of the ads. Leeper argues that there is a right way and a wrong way to use 30 seconds of sound and imagery, and will demonstrate the ways in which some presidential candidates have used television to their advantage.

Leeper's presentation coincides with "Election Humours: Prints by William Hogarth," a mini exhibit featuring items from the Meadows' permanent collection that runs through October 22. Hogarth (1697-1764), the father of modern political cartooning, created visual satires of crooked politicians, rigged elections, and an equally corrupt electorate in 18th-century England. These elements are especially prevalent in his 1755 series "Humours of an Election" that is featured in the current Meadows exhibit.

"In 'Election Humours,' we see Hogarth criticizing the way 18th-century political candidates sold themselves to the public," says Dr. Lisa Nicoletti, professor of art history and visual studies and head of collections and research at the Meadows. "He depicts a campaign rife with bribery, drunkenness, rigged voting, and an ignorant, easily influenced populace. The prints are humorous, but they’re deadly serious, too. Hogarth was asking the English public to consider what divisiveness was doing to their nation, and shows that the discord continues after the winner is declared."

Leeper joined the faculty at Centenary in August 2016 and is currently offering courses examining American politics, contemporary issues in public policy, and the American presidency and Congress. He earned a Ph.D. in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and previously taught at Wayne State College in Nebraska. Leeper's past research has focused on the impact of prejudice on female political candidates as well as analyzed patterns in the ambition and advancement of women in politics.

About the Meadows Museum of Art
The Meadows Museum of Art is located on the campus of Centenary College of Louisiana at 2911 Centenary Boulevard in Shreveport, Louisiana. The Museum is free and open to the public Mondays from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Tuesdays from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Wednesdays from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Thursdays from noon to 4:00 p.m., Fridays from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 4:00 p.m. The Museum is closed on Saturdays and during all school holidays. For more information or to schedule fieldtrips, call the Museum at 318.869.5040 or visit centenary.edu/meadows.