Join us at Bower Center for the Arts on Friday, March 10, 5-7 for the awards reception for the 9th Annual Curry/Bower Exhibition. In addition to Virginia, artists from IL, IA, NC, NE and FL have sent work for this annual exhibit that honors Bower Center’s primary benefactors Edna Curry and Dr John Bower.

   In addition to the Curry/Bower exhibit, Art Around the Corner, adjacent to the Sara Braaten Gallery, and Art on 3rd in the elevator lobby on the 3rd floor, visitors can view BLACKTIVISTS, ongoing artwork consisting of silkscreened portraits that depict thirteen relatively unknown and understudied Black women activists. BLACKTIVISTS is a hybrid term created by combining the words Black and Activists. The word "activist" is defined as an energetic and vigorous advocate of a cause, especially a political one. The exhibit remains up through March 25.

   The program starts at 6pm, with Executive Director Susan Martin’s opening remarks. Veronica Jackson, the creator/curator of BLACKTIVISTS, will talk about this exhibit. She will be followed by commentary about the Curry/Bower exhibit provided by the judge Jane Winders Frank and the presentation of awards for the adult and youth divisions. 102 artworks by 41 artists in the Sara Braaten and Terrace galleries and adjoining lobbies will remain through April 1.



Women of the Week

(1859 - 1894)
Educator and Activist

Although born enslaved in southwest Tennessee, Laura Westbrook was educated by one of Oberlin College’s finest instructors. After only five years of dedicated study, she became an educator at the young age of 11 by tutoring other African American girls in her community. After college and marriage, she made a home in Waco, Texas which included a career of public education and activism—notably for women’s civil rights. Westbrook was a member of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. In 1888, it became the first chapter in the South to take the radical step of endorsing women's suffrage. Recognized for being passionate about her work, colleagues described Westbrook as aggressive when defending people of her race. She was acknowledged to be a firm believer of the true, the pure, and the beautiful. Westbrook lived a meaningful and active life, albeit a short one. She died in 1894 at the age of 35.

(1880 - 1914)
Vaudeville Performer and Racial Uplift and Respectability Politics Activist

Based in New York, New York, Aida Overton Walker was an African American vaudeville performer engaged in a campaign to restructure and re-present how African Americans were viewed and perceived by society. These acts reflect her embodiment of racial uplift—a project with the purpose to deliver positive images of Black people. The perceived need to uplift the race was a response to the anti-Black, racist environment prevalent at the turn of the 20th century. Overton Walker’s interpretation of racial uplift came in the form of restructuring identity, representation, and respectability of Black people—particularly Black women in popular theater—through her choreography, dance, onstage performances, and her visual presence during years of pervasive racism. Specifically Overton Walker was determined to articulate her brand of respectability politics while claiming her right to choose the theater as a profession. She consistently worked toward these goals from the beginning of her onstage career in 1897 to her premature death in 1914.




    Spaces are still available for our Adult Mosaic Portraits, Mosaic Open Studio, Mosaic Gazing Ball, Plant Pot, and Stepping Stone classes & workshops.  In addition, we are enrolling for Adult Clay Hand Building, Beginning Wheel Throwing & Clay Open Studio.

   Youth can enjoy Acrylic & Watercolor Painting and Youth Clay Lab! 

Click HERE for more information and to register!

Bower Center For The Arts

305 N. Bridge Street

Bedford, VA


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