SPORT:ART to Celebrate Black History + Women’s Athletics at Providence College

Monday, January 09, 2012


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Former RI-based artist Joe Norman: his lithographs of the Negro Baseball League will headline SPORT:ART

Providence College has announced a major collaboration between its departments of art and art history, and athletics, resulting in a two-month showcase of exhibits, lectures, and programs focusing on sport and art entitled SPORT:ART.

Running from January 26 through March 29, the project will explore the significance and relationship of art and sport through media and fine arts, while examining gender, race, and cultural identities.

SPORT:ART is an unprecedented collaboration among departments across campus at PC say organizers, promoting student involvement and diversity, combined with bringing new audiences to the world of art.

Black History Month, PC Women's Athletics' 40th

In conjunction with SPORT:ART, the College will recognize the achievements of African-Americans throughout the month of February, which is Black History Month. Exhibitions, special lectures, and receptions will pay tribute to "the

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Celebrating the 40th anniversary of Title IX and women's athletics at PC

extraordinary contributions of distinguished African-Americans in US history," say organizers.

Another significant milestone to be celebrated in conjunction with SPORT:ART is the 40th anniversary of PC Women’s Athletics. The College will commemorate PC women in sports through a variety of presentations and premier events in March, Women’s History Month.

Where it all began

The idea for SPORT:ART originated with Catherine Little Bert ’77, a member of the College’s Board of Trustees, along with Dr. Joan R. Branham, department chair and professor of art history, Dr. Deborah J. Johnson, professor of art history and women’s studies, and Robert G. Driscoll Jr., director of athletics. Bert, a former PC athlete and a Providence art gallery owner, envisioned a project that would “reach across campus,” a spirited partnership between art and art history and the athletics program, her two great loves.

“Student-athletes have a unique experience on the college campus and it is through imagery that we share and gain insight into their contributions to the broader college community,” Bert said.  “Looking at an artist’s image-making, we see the individual athlete in a myriad of conditions - success, failure, exhaustion - a complete range of the competitive spirit.”

Engaging mind, body, spirit

Johnson says SPORT:ART will engage body, mind, and spirit with exhibitions,  public painting projects, and lectures. “We will raise consciousness about the links between art and sport, the formation of racial and gender identity through art and sport, and the place of athletics on our campus and in the American imagination, in general,” she said.

“We hope to enhance interdisciplinarity on campus with cross-pollinated programs that raise critical awareness of how visual imagery, from the traditional arts to modern media," said Branham, "acts as a powerful force in constructing and manipulating identities. If the public becomes aware of nothing more than the fact that many art and art history majors at PC are also athletes, then this in itself is a worthwhile revelation.”


Among the highlights of PC’s SPORT:ART:

January 26: Gallery Night Providence at Smith Center for the Arts (a city-wide celebration of the visual arts); A special preview of its 2012 season at the PC SPORT:ART exhibition will kick off with two art and photography exhibits:

  • January 26 – March 22: Joe Norman Lithographs at the Reilly Art Gallery, Smith Center for the Arts; Out at Home! The Negro Baseball League metaphorizes the banning of black athletes in the mainstream quintessential American sport, baseball, and depicts struggle and enslavement in the sport. Norman’s works are powerful statements of how racism has sullied the game, as they reveal social content fluently rendered by an accomplished, aesthetic hand.
  • January 26 – March 22: Student Sports Photography Exhibition at the Hunt-Cavanagh Gallery, Hunt-Cavanagh Hall; Photography students of Dr. Eric Sung, assistant professor of art and a former professional sports photographer, will present their photo documentation of PC athletics. The students were given unprecedented access to varsity teams on campus.

February 11: Interactive Public Art Mural in the Ruane Atrium of the Concannon Fitness Center; Artist Peter Tigler from Santa Monica, California, invites public participation in the painting of a large-scale mural depicting three PC cross country women runners alongside ancient Greek athletes. Tigler adapted the composition from a photo taken by Dominic Channon ’13, a student photographer who captured the varsity runners in actual competition. The mural will allow PC students, artists, athletes, alumni, and other community participants to paint in a collaborative endeavor and connect the theme of art and sports. The event is in conjunction with the 2012 Alumni and Family Weekend.

February 11: 40 years of Providence College Women in Sports Reception in the Ruane Atrium of the Concannon Fitness Center; In addition to the interactive mural, a photography exhibit featuring female student-athletes will be set up in the atrium. The photographs are part of the Student Sports Photography Exhibition, taken by students of Dr. Eric Sung’s sports photography class. The event also will feature a reception, celebrating the 40th anniversary of PC women’s athletics, which is scheduled for 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Former Providence College student-athletes will be in attendance. The PC women’s basketball program also will be holding its annual alumni game in Mullaney Gymnasium in Alumni Hall prior to the reception at 11:30. The women’s team will host BIG EAST Conference opponent Seton Hall University at 2:00 p.m. in Mullaney Gymnasium. The game will be televised live by Cox Sports. At halftime of the game, all former student-athletes in attendance will be honored. The event is in conjunction with the 2012 Alumni and Family Weekend.

February 16: Guest Lecture by Byron Motley, filmmaker and son of Bob Motley, former chief umpire in the Negro Baseball League, at Ryan Concert Hall, Smith Center for the Arts; Motley will provide an insightful perspective focused on the history and memories of the famous league.

February 23: Guest Lecture by David E. Little, Ph.D. at the Reilly Art Gallery, Smith Center for the Arts; Little, curator of photography at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, will discuss The Sports Show, an exhibit looking at the role of photography and media (television, video, and digital technology) in transforming sports from a casual leisure activity into a spectacle of mass participation.

March 1 – 29: Women in Sports Film Festival at Moore Hall; March will be devoted to a film and speaker series on the theme of Women in Sports. It will honor Women's History Month, the SPORT:ART Project and the landmark 40 Years of Women in Athletics celebration which is a collaboration of the Athletic, Women's Studies and Art History Departments. Each film will include a speaker and begin at 7:00 p.m. commencing with a 20-30 minute presentation by the speaker, a classroom discussion, followed by a reception and the start of the film at 8:00 p.m.

  • March 1: A Hero for Daisy: Award-winning documentary, introducing Title IX in the context of the struggle of the women's crew team at Yale in the 1970s to secure facilities for practice.
  • Speaker: Lynnette Labinger, Title IX lawyer for Cohen vs. Brown University.
  • March 8: Whip It: Popular film of 2009 set in the context of women's roller derby leagues.
  • Speaker: Meghan & Katherine Follett
  • March 22: A League of their Own: beloved classic film about the women's baseball league in the 1940's during WWII.
  • Speaker: Wilma Briggs, former left-fielder for the All-American Girls Baseball League
  • March 29: Girlfight: fascinating film about a young female boxer and her ownership of her talents, as well as her boyfriend's struggles with her success. Speaker: Dr. John Sullivan

A number of other discussion panels—sponsored by Art and Art History, Athletics, the Balfour Center for Multicultural Activities, Black Studies, the Center for Teaching Excellence, the School of Arts and Sciences, and Women’s Studies—will take place throughout February and March.  For more information, go here.

For more information on education, as well as Black History month, stay tuned to GoLocalTV, fresh every day at 4pm and on demand 24/7, here.


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