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Jan. 8, 2002
Contact: Thomas Knox
(310) 243-3367


First National Exhibition of African American Murals
Set for Display at California State University, Dominguez Hills

Historical, Cultural Impact of Black Art Examined during South Bay Symposium

Carson, CA - A vivid expression of African American life and culture will be presented for the first time as African American artists from across the nation showcase their murals and selected pieces of art during a special exhibition at the University Art Gallery, California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) beginning Feb. 6 and continuing through March 6, 2002. The exhibition, Walls of Heritage, Walls of Pride: African American Murals features 52 photographs of murals and 20 works of original art related to the murals that represent a broad historical, cultural and geographic range of African American life experiences. The University Art Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The artwork is divided into three major thematic sections: Walls of Heritage: An Historical Perspective; Walls of the People: The Nation as Street Gallery and Walls of Pride: The Los Angeles Urban Landscape.

"These murals express a powerful visual narrative of black history and culture as African Americans struggled to gain simple human recognition, rights of citizenship and social, political, economic, and artistic autonomy," said Robin J. Dunitz, guest curator for the exhibit, who has invested years of research in the use of murals as methods of communication. "Murals have been used as a teaching tool within the black community to express an alternative, and more truthful vision of history," Dunitz explained.

Dunitz says themes of solidarity, pride of heritage, self-worth and social protest are evident from the earliest commissioned works by masters such as Aaron Douglas, Charles White, Hale Woodruff, John Biggers and Charles Alston, to the first community-based mural, Wall of Respect, which was created in Chicago in 1967, and continuing to the neighborhood hip-hop murals of the 1990s. Murals have historically served as a vehicle of communication within the African American community. "This mode of expression also serves as a link to other ethnic populations, who use murals as an indigenous, alternative art form and medium," Dunitz explained.

Several off-campus activities will work in conjunction with the mural exhibition. The public events include a symposium at the Museum of Cultural Diversity in Carson, two bus tours of African American murals and historic sites, and three slide lectures at various Los Angeles public libraries. The following list of public programs complement the mural exhibition:


Museum of Cultural Diversity
Sunday Feb. 24, 2002, 3-5 p.m.
"Talking Walls: What's Up with All Those Street Murals?" Panel will include art historians Paul Von Blum, author James Prigoff, and muralist Elliott Pinkney.
South Bay Pavilion Mall
20700 Avalon Blvd., Suite 870, Carson, CA 90746
Contact: Deborah McDuff Williams, Director, (310)-324-4702

Bus Tours

Two bus tours of African American Murals and historic sites with Humanities Scholars Robin Dunitz and Cecil Fergerson. The event is co-sponsored with the Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles. Tour leaders will use local narrative murals to reveal the little known history of the area's black community.

Saturday, Feb. 9, 2002, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., $5
The first tour will visit sites in Watts and Compton, including Dollarhide Community Center, the Watts Towers and Watts Labor Community Action Committee.

Sunday, Feb. 17, 2002, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., $5
The second tour will focus on South L.A., Mid-City and Downtown. Among the stops will be the Dunbar Hotel, Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company, St. Elmo Village, First A.M.E. Church, Broadway Federal Bank and the Biddy Mason Memorial.

For details and reservations, contact the Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles: (818) 487-0416.

Slide Lectures

The Ann Sagram Tuesday with Books
Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2002, 1:30 p.m.

Slide lecture and audience discussion on the history of African American Murals by Robin J. Dunitz.
Santa Monica Public Library
1343 Sixth Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401
Contact: Jamie Ruth Watson, (310) 458-8600

Angeles Mesa branch of Los Angeles Public Library
Saturday, Feb. 16, 2002, 2 p.m.

Slide lecture on history of African American murals by Robin J. Dunitz and slide presentation by muralist Alice Patrick.
2700 West 52nd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90043
Contact: Librarian Cathy Chang, (323) 292-4328

Junipero Serra branch of Los Angeles Public Library
Saturday, Feb. 23, 2002, 2 p.m.

Slide lecture on history of African American murals by Robin J. Dunitz and slide presentation by muralist Jacqueline Alexander.
4607 South Main St., Los Angeles, CA 90037
Contact: Librarian Mrs. Morgan, (323) 234-1685

This exhibit and related public programs are co-sponsored by the Fine Arts Commission for the City of Carson, the Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles, the Instructionally Related Activities Committee of the Associated Students, CSU Dominguez Hills, and the Institute for Cultural Diversity and Internationalization, CSU Dominguez Hills. This project is made possible in part by a grant from the California Council for the Humanities, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. For additional information, contact Kathy Zimmerer at (310) 243-3334, or visit our website at