Arts & Culture

Virtual Events Abound at UK Art Museum This Fall

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headshot photo of Rhea Combs
detail image of one of the hands holding black cloth in “God Bless the Martyrs” by Paul Stephen Benjamin
photo of Jeanne Silverthorne's sculpture "Top of the World"

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 5, 2020) In conjunction with “This is America*” and an exhibition of sculptor Jeanne Silverthorne’s work, the University of Kentucky Art Museum will offer several virtual events for arts lovers to enjoy from the safety and comfort of their homes as the winter months approach during the pandemic. All of the events are free and open to the public.

The second 2020-21 Robert C. May Photography Lecture will be presented this week featuring Rhea Combs, supervisory curator of photography and film at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. The talk is scheduled for 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6, on Zoom.

Combs understands the power of images to tell stories and write histories. She unearths film and photographs made by both professionals and amateurs, ranging from fine art and documentary photos, to home movies, family portraits and commercial imagery. As part of the Robert C. May Photography Lecture Series, she will discuss her use of this work to help “reclaim stories that are fundamentally American, but are lost or forgotten.”

To register for Combs’ May Lecture, visit here.

Dedicated to civil rights icon U.S. Rep. John Lewis, who died July 17, 2020, and planned to coincide with the 2020 presidential election, “This is America*” explores aspects of history, citizenry, race, dignity, power and struggle. The exhibition also speaks to more recent events across the nation as the country faces a global pandemic and waves of social unrest centered around issues of social justice and policing practices with new pieces added to reflect these movements. In partnership with this exhibition, the museum will present two events today.

First up, the museum regular series Eat/Art will examine “God Bless the Martyrs,” a piece on display from artist Paul Stephen Benjamin. As part of Eat/Art, the public is invited to take a break from their workday and join museum staff virtually as they look at and discuss the artwork from noon to 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 5, on Zoom. Preregister for this Eat/Art event here.

This evening, hear from several artists featured in “This is America*” with “Solidarity,” a virtual conversation about how togetherness informs creative work and socio-political engagement. Exhibiting artists participating in the talk include Amber Boardman, Joseph Peragine and Tad Savinar. The discussion, moderated by UK Art Museum Director Stuart Horodner, will run 6-7 p.m. on Zoom. Preregister here.

In support of the exhibition “Jeanne Silverthorne: More Flesh and Bone,” the UK Art Museum has two events on tap this November. An acclaimed and influential New York-based artist, Silverthorne’s works take their cue from the human body, as well as domestic and industrial items. For decades, she has thought of her studio as a generative site where acts of thinking, making, destroying and accepting take place. “More Flesh and Bone” offers a meditation on time, human effort, and nagging questions of success and failure.

Silverthorne will join the museum for a discussion of this exhibition 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 12, on Zoom. As part of this event, the artist will discuss the ideas and processes that inform her realistic sculptures in cast rubber with Horodner. To pre-register for this event, visit go here.

For those who would like to learn more specifically about Silverthorne’s “Crates with Skeletons,” join museum staff for Eat/Art noon Thursday, Nov. 19. Register for this event here.

And for families looking for educational and entertaining arts content for their children, the UK Art Museum will present “Virtual Family Day: Boxes and Belongings.” This hourlong session will take participants on a virtual tour of the museum, focusing on artwork that uses boxes, containers, and frames and talking about how artists use these simple shapes to tell stories and prompt us to look closer. Parents are encouraged to have paper and a writing utensil or other art supplies ready for a drawing activity. Kids of all ages are welcome to participate with a parent or guardian’s permission. “Virtual Family Day: Boxes and Belongings” will begin 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 21. Register for this event here.

The mission of the UK Art Museum, part of the UK College of Fine Arts, is to promote the understanding and appreciation of art to enhance the quality of life for people of Kentucky through collecting, exhibiting, preserving and interpreting outstanding works of visual art from all cultures. Home to a collection of more than 4,800 objects including American and European paintings, drawings, photographs, prints and sculpture, the Art Museum presents both special exhibitions and shows of work from its permanent collection. 

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion three years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for four straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.