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National Center Tribute to Honor Two ASU Art Legends

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Release Date: Jun 29, 2012

ASU's National Center for the Study of Civil Rights and African-American Culture will honor two well known ASU artists with a special tribute for the community.

Perhaps the most fitting way ASU’s National Center for the Study of Civil Rights and African-American Culture could pay tribute to two of ASU’s art legends, Dr. William E. Colvin and John W. Feagin, is by allowing the ASU family and community to join in the honor.

The tribute is slated for Sunday, July 15, at 3 p.m. at the National Center, 1345 Carter Hill Road. 

The event will include speakers and a question and answer segment, followed by a reception.  The legends’ artwork also will be on display.

“My work involves an expression of the acceptance, commitment and participation of humans in American society,” said Colvin. “The loyalty, humanitarianism, love and dedication is so often overlooked and denied to people who have lives as unsung heroes or heroines, and yet, whose pride and production are often not cited in the annals of this country.”

Feagin’s life’s work is a creative expression that satisfies his intrinsic perception of what art is all about.

“My art is an extension of my inner thoughts, aspirations and apprehensions, aesthetics fulfillment and some failures…a flirtation with my feelings and emotions.” 

About the Artists

Dr. William Colvin has devoted the majority of his life to the preservation of African-American history and culture through the visual arts, thereby impacting the careers of thousands of students and promoting the awareness and appreciation of the visual arts in the wider community. He began his long career as a visual artist at Alabama State University, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in painting and secondary education from his beloved alma mater in 1951. Colvin earned a Master of Science degree from Indiana State University with a concentration in ceramics in 1961. In 1966, Colvin earned a Doctorate in Education from Illinois State University, with an emphasis in African-American history. He was the first African-American to receive a Doctorate in Education from Illinois State University.

Colvin’s extensive educational preparation has made him a leading scholar, art historian, lecturer and consultant on the visual arts. He has published several art catalogs, scholarly articles and other materials on African-American visual arts. His research titled “A Story of Art Programs in Predominately Negro Colleges” remains a much-consulted volume on this topic. Colvin’s expertise in African-American visual arts has made him a featured speaker at colleges and universities around the nation and the world.

He served as consultant and curator for The National Center from 2002-2012. In this capacity, he organized the National Center’s art exhibitions and other art programs. Under Colvin’s direction, the National Center has sponsored rotating art exhibitions, making it a leader in the collection and preservation of African-American visual arts.

John W. Feagin has made a major contribution to African-American visual arts in Alabama and the nation. He attended ASU in the 1950s where he received a bachelor’s and a master’s degree, in education and the visual arts. Feagin studied with the famous artist Hayward Oubre and under the renowned artist Charles Shannon for two years at the University of Alabama. He also taught art at George Washington Carver High School from 1957-1989 and ultimately impacted the lives of scores of young people.

Feagin is a visual artist with an unusual grasp of the intricate details of the art pieces he designs and produces. His private and public works of art can be found in art collections of major art collectors, including that of Paul R. Jones, a patron of the arts, with an extensive collection of artistic pieces. Feagin’s art productions are also on exhibition at the University of Delaware and at the National Center for the Study of Civil Rights and African-American Culture at Alabama State University. Feagin’s murals on the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Civil Rights Movement at the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, as well as his design of the murals at the National Center, titled “The Journey to Freedom,” identify him as a skilled and gifted visionary.

Feagin is a consultant to the National Center and a member of the Center’s Steering Committee.

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