FVSU hosts national NAAHBCU art conference

FVSU speakers at the National African American Historically Black Colleges and Universities Art Conference held at FVSU.

October 8, 2015 – Fort Valley State University hosted a national artistic conference of professional artists and scholars on its campus recently. The National Alliance of Artists for Historically Black Colleges held their two-day annual conference at FVSU’s campus on Oct. 8 and 9.
The NAAHBCU’s mission is to introduce art and art education to its member institutions. The organization is committed to sustaining artistic programs on college campuses for future generations and providing professional opportunities for artists, art historians, curators, collectors and art enthusiasts.

The theme for 2015 NAAHBCU conference is “Afrofuturism Rising: Black Art across the Spectrum.” The term was coined by culture critic Mark Dery, to characterize the artistic movement which follows the historical narratives and issues facing African-Americans. The artist uses a combination of magical realism, science fiction, historical fiction, fantasy and Afrocentrism to present the realities of people of color.

During the opening ceremony inside the Pettigrew Center on Oct. 8, FVSU administrators, including interim President Dr. Jessica Bailey, interim Provost of Academic Affairs, Dr. Rayton Sianjina, College of Arts and Sciences Dean Dr. Uppinder Mehan, and Department of Visual Arts Chair Bobby Dickey, welcomed guests to campus.

“Meetings such as this one are crucial to not only increasing awareness of the great work carried on in our schools and communities, but also to develop our capabilities and interests in dialogue with our peers,” Mehan said. “We are honored that you have chosen our university and community as a site for the conference.”

Mehan said the campus looked forward to the knowledge artists would share on campus.

“We look upon this gathering as the beginning of conversations and practices that will continue well beyond the first week of October and hope to grow with you,” Mehan said.

Dr. Peggy Blood, president of the NAAHBCU, delivered a brief history about the organization which received its start on the campus of Morris Brown College in Atlanta, Ga. on May 19, 2000. The NAAHBCU originally had 11 charter members. Today, the organization has grown to include more than 60 visual artists from the United States. The artistic organization meets annually to network, share research and learn about current technology.

Blood thanked FVSU professors Rickey Calloway and Bobby Dickey for their help in making the NAAHBCU conference possible.

Dr. Maisha Akbar, an FVSU associate professor of fine arts, introduced keynote speaker Elizabeth Hamilton.
“I’m really excited to introduce our keynote speaker, not only because of her scholarship, but our friendship.”

The two met through Twitter, and learned that they both lived in Warner Robins, Ga. When they learned of one another’s scholarship interests, the two became fast friends.

Hamilton is an adjunct professor from Kennesaw State University. She is currently a McKnight Doctoral Fellow at the University of Florida in the School of Art and Art History. Hamilton spoke about “Unleashing the Black Fantastic in Contemporary Art” which examines narratives of African American women that are waiting to be recovered.

Hamilton researched artists that included Afrofuturistic examinations of Harriet Tubman’s historical role through the lens of conceptual artists, writers like Octavia Butler, and musicians like Erykah Badu and Janelle Monae.

Following the several panelist discussion sessions, organizers showcased their paintings, sculptures and artistic pieces. Professors showcased their work at Middle Georgia’s Tubman Museum, which showcases African-American Art, History and Culture on Oct. 8. College students showcased their art pieces at a Student Exhibition and Opening Reception on Oct. 9.

For details, contact Calloway at (478) 825-6918.



Christina D. Milton, public relations specialist

Marketing and Communications

(478) 825-6319, miltonc@fvsu.edu