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“The Spirit of the Blues,” created by Curlee Holton, professor of art and director of Lafayette’s Experimental Printmaking Institute, has been designated the official image of Easton Blues Jam 2005.

Last year’s Easton Blues Jam poster featured “The Quilt,” also created by Holton.

Holton will create 40 limited-edition, silk-screened serigraph prints of “The Spirit of the Blues” as a fund-raiser for the Blues Jam. With a print size of 22 by 30 inches and an image size of 18 by 26 inches, the prints will be signed by Holton and a letter of authenticity will be included.

The Easton Blues Jam will run from June 3 through the free Grand Finale June 12 at Riverside Park in Downtown Easton. More information about Easton Blues Jam 2005 and “The Spirit of the Blues” is available on the Blues Jam web site.

Holton also is author of Faith Ringgold: A View from the Studio, a book recently published in conjunction with an exhibition of Ringgold’s art at Allentown Art Museum that began March 6 and concludes Sunday, Aug. 14. Holton, who has been making prints with Ringgold since 1993, organized the display of more than 50 works from her studio collection and new Jazz Series, including paintings, prints, soft sculptures, and story quilts. Their 13 prints together include a Sept. 11 flag with the scripted message: ”On Tuesday Morning we faced the Devil in the sky/and told him that Freedom will never die.” Last year Holton supervised a 100-print jazz serigraph that sold out and helped pay for the exhibit.

“Perhaps the strongest impression one takes away from this show is that Ringgold is a fiercely proud and independent person who does not compromise in life or in her art,” states the Philadelphia Inquirer. “That impression alone is more liberating for her audience than any single image she has created.”

The book covers Ringgold’s creative methods, studio work, and many sources of inspiration. Holton reveals an artist endowed with an unquenchable energy that communicates itself to all who come into contact with her, be they children, students, or her many admirers and collectors both private and institutional. As a printmaker and teacher, Holton pays particular attention to the nature of the Ringgold’s working relationship with him and others such as Bob Blackburn, John Phillip, and her mother, Willie Posie.

“It is a book by one artist with and about another, about the making of art, about politics and judgement, about passion and struggle, above all about a great artist’s collaboration with others in the creation of a unique body of work, which expresses a deeply committed vision of American history and the struggle for freedom,” states Kerri Goddard Kinch ’92 of Bunker Hill Publishing. “Whether in the deeply personal works such as Coming to Jones Road or the more public statements in The Death of Apartheid and No More War, Faith Ringgold embodies a bold vision that celebrates a debt to the legacy of African American literature, music, poetry and painting. A courageous experimental artist with a deep sense of public responsibility, she is the embodiment of one of the richest traditions in American art.”

Holton founded the Experimental Printmaking Institute in 1996. EPI provides an open and creative environment in which professional artists and students create new bodies of work while investigating and experimenting with a wide variety of approaches to the print medium. Its artist-in-residence and visiting artist programs have featured more than 50 residencies, many involving artists with international reputations such as Ringgold, Al Loving, and Sam Gilliam.

Holton has been a mentor and collaborator for numerous Lafayette students in creative art projects. Most recently as part of the Community of Scholars program, he oversaw the completion of a mural that three seniors created for installation in Farinon College Center. Using photographic images from the past and present, and original works that envision the future, seniors Maya Freelon (Durham, N.C.), Zoe Gavriilidis (Northvale, N.J.), and Nicole Kozyra (Marlton, N.J.) created a 130-foot montage.

Holton recently had etchings selected for inclusion in the collections of the Library of Congress and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. He has mounted more than 30 one-person shows and participated in more than 75 group exhibitions, including the Seventh International Biennale at the National Center of Fine Arts, Cairo, and shows at Centro de Cultura Casa Lamm Gallery, Mexico City. In 2001, he received a commission to create the awards for the Pennsylvania Governor’s Awards for the Arts.

His works are in the collections of universities, foundations, and corporations, including Cleveland Museum of Art, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Allentown Art Museum, Villanova University, and Morehouse College. He was the 1999 recipient of Lafayette’s Carl R. and Ingeborg Beidleman Research Award, recognizing excellence in applied research or scholarship.

Categorized in: Academic News