Pitt State Art Department plans November exhibits, receptions 

Several artistic opportunities open to the campus and the community are planned in November by the Pittsburg State University Art Department. All are free and open to the public and are in Porter Hall, 202 E. Cleveland Ave. 

To learn about other upcoming university events open to the public, visit pittstate.edu/calendar

Reception: Faculty exhibit | Nov. 2 

A reception is planned from 5 to 7 p.m. on Nov. 2 in the University Gallery to showcase this year’s faculty exhibit.  

Called “Process,” it dives into the techniques that each artist uses to complete their work.  

Reception: Morgan exhibit | Nov. 9 

A reception is planned from 5 to 7 p.m. on Nov. 9 in the Harry Krug Gallery to highlight the work of visual artist Jo-Ann Morgan, whose exhibit “Cotton Collages: Remembering the Innocent” is on display and will come to a close that night. 

Refreshments will be served and it is open to the public on a come-and-go basis. Morgan will present a lecture at 5:30 p.m.  

She is professor emeritus of African American Studies and Art History at Western Illinois University, and author of “The Black Arts Movement and the Black Panther Party in American Visual Culture.” Her book “Uncle Tom’s Cabin as Visual Culture” won the Seaborg Award for Civil War Scholarship in 2008. 

Since 2020, Morgan has been a full-time fiber artist, creating stitched fabric wall hangings on themes related to social justice and gun violence. 

“I consider artmaking to be a form of activism. ‘Cotton Collages: Remembering the Innocent’ is presented in remembrance of people who, through circumstances not of their own intentions, became victims of senseless violence. 

She began sewing during the pandemic.  

“Quilting and applique’ techniques seemed a perfect choice for making art that could offer comfort during trying times,” she said. “I created a female figure as a focal point and named her Nuestra Dama de la Corona (Lady Corona). She was to be a comforting presence, not unlike a deity or favorite doll, to offer respite and hope within scenarios that brought attention to social inequality.”  

The figure is represented wearing a crown, gloves, and mask.  

In ‘Lady Corona Comforts the Children,’ she offers comfort to children at the U.S./ Mexico border, bringing attention to family separation, and hopefully inspiring empathy for those striving for a better life.

In other work, she pays tribute to people who have passed, comparable to the spontaneous memorials that communities erect after an untimely death.  

“I became aware of this impulse following the death of Trayvon Martin when scores of people created portraits of the young man, and again after the death of Michael Brown when a tower of flowers and other items was raised in Ferguson, Missouri at the spot where he was killed by police.” 

Other widespread public commemorations, including those for Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, are included in her work.  

“My most recent work is a series that brings attention to the mass shooting of nineteen children at Robb Elementary School in of Uvalde, Texas. These quilted memorials are individualized portraits but they are also meant to be universal. They celebrate the short lives of the 10-year-old victims and are meant to evoke our collective outrage,” she said. 

Opening & reception: Head exhibit | Nov. 13 & 14 

The exhibit “Family Secrets: The Storytelling Art of Steve Head,” will open on Nov. 13 in the Harry Krug Gallery in Porter Hall and will run through Jan. 18, 2024.  

An opening reception will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Nov. 14, with a lecture by the artist starting at 5:30 p.m. Refreshments will be served and it is open to the public on a come-and-go basis. 

Head is an award-winning artist and photographer living in Southwest Missouri. He didn’t become a professional artist until age 59, and since then has been recognized nationally and internationally. 

He grew up in California in the 1950s and ‘60s in a dysfunctional and abusive home.  

“My parents were uneducated rural folks from a tiny Oklahoma farm town called Konawa. They were poor, often in need of outside help, and we all lived through many struggles and hardships. My family history is full of ‘emotionally wounded’ people who struggled with poverty, abuse, mental illness and alcoholism,” he said.  

“It’s from my family story and those early years of my life that I draw much of my artistic influence….I try to convey on canvas or in print the scars that remain on my own heart from the past. In doing so, I have found many, many people who relate, appreciate and personally connect to the stories I tell through my art.” 

Empty Bowl Making | Nov. 10

Under the direction of ceramics instructor Mayumi Kiefer, local artists and members of the public with artistic inclinations may join in the making of clay bowls from 4 to 6 p.m. on Nov. 10 in the ceramics studio in Porter Hall. No experience is required. 

Participants may wheel throw or hand build bowls, which after being fired will be donated to the First United Methodist Church for their Empty Bowls project. The bowls will be sold as a fundraiser and all proceeds will go to the Wesley House Food Pantry.  

Reception: Student Art Showcase | Nov. 30 

A reception will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. on Nov. 30 to spotlight the Student Art Showcase, a juried exhibit for Pitt State art majors.  

The reception will be held in the 2nd Floor Gallery in Porter Hall. 

— Media release from Pittsburg State University —