African-American exhibit to open in January at the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art

Whether or not they call it home, African-American artists of the past century have repeatedly explored their ties to the South. This region may appear in their art as a literal space located below the Mason-Dixon Line or as a “place” of mind, memories, dreams, spirit, history or culture.

“Southern Journeys,” which opens Jan. 28, 2012, at Lauren Rogers Museum of Art, presents the responses of 54 artists to the South through a selection of paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints and mixed-media works. The museum is at 565 N. Fifth Ave. in historic downtown Laurel, Miss.

Artists in the exhibition range from the generation maturing in the 1930s to those who came of age in the 1990s and 2000s, and include both academically trained and self-taught artists.

Among the artists are Leroy Allen, Benny Andrews, Radcliffe Bailey, Richmond Barthé, Romare Bearden, Beverly Buchanan, Elizabeth Catlett, David Driskell, Clementine Hunter, Jacob Lawrence, Faith, Ringgold and Charles White.

The South is home to a unique concentration of distinctive African-American forms that can be seen in the work of the artists in “Southern Journeys.” The impact of the customs and experiences of everyday life is notable, as is that of African-American folk music, art and religion.

African-American oral and visual traditions intersect in much of their work, as do the sacred and secular. Musicians, storytellers, singers, dancers and the black church are key sources of inspiration. Themes from African-American history and culture appear frequently, spanning a period from the advent of slavery to the present day.

“Southern Journeys” is curated by Eloise Johnson, Ph.D., independent curator of Zachary, La., and Stella Jones, M.D., of the Stella Jones Gallery in New Orleans.

The exhibition is toured by ExhibitsUSA, a national program of Mid-America Arts Alliance. ExhibitsUSA sends more than 25 exhibitions on tour to more than 100 small- and mid-sized communities every year.

Mid-America is the oldest nonprofit regional arts organization in the United States. Information, go to and

LRMA is open 10 a.m. until 4:45 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1-4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free; a donation of $3 is suggested for adult non-members. Information, call 601-649-6374 or go