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‘Bearden at Bowie’ Features Limited Edition Artwork

September 5, 2012

(Bowie, Md.) – Bowie State University presents “Bearden at Bowie,” an art exhibition of limited edition prints and other works by celebrated African-American artist Romare Bearden, running Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012 - Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012 at the new BSU Fine and Performing Arts Center’s Gallery of Art.

More than 30 artworks from local collectors are featured in the exhibit, including rare works from Bearden’s Odysseus series, inspired by the Greek mythological hero of Homer’s The Odyssey. Other works use watercolors, collage, and mixed media – one combines three printmaking processes.

“Romare Bearden is an iconic figure in the history of American art,” said BSU art professor Clayton Lang, who is the gallery’s director and curator. “The goal of this exhibit is to educate our students, the BSU community, and local metro area about this great artist and the value of collecting African-American art. The center cultivates and preserves African-American culture and art.”

Bearden’s niece, Diedra Harris-Kelley, is the guest speaker for the exhibit’s opening reception Tuesday, Sept. 25 from 6-8 p.m. She is also co-director of the Bearden Foundation, a nonprofit organization established to preserve and perpetuate the artist’s legacy. Bearden’s sister-in-law, Dorothe Rohan Dow, will give opening remarks at a panel discussion on “Bearden and the Art of Collecting” Thursday, Oct. 11 from 6-8 p.m., featuring local arts experts and collectors who lent works to the exhibit.

Bearden is best known for his richly textured collages, with two appearing on the covers of Fortune and Time magazines in 1968. A prolific artist with diverse interests, he designed costumes and sets for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. His works are now displayed in important public collections, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, among others.

The exhibit is free and open to the public. Starting on Thursday, Sept. 20, gallery hours are:

  • Monday, 12-4:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.
  • Wednesday, 12-6 p.m.
  • Thursday, 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.
  • Friday, 2-6 p.m.

Special events scheduled during the exhibit include: 

  • Opening Reception
    Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012, 6-8 p.m.
    Recital Hall, BSU Fine and Performing Arts Center
    Guest speaker: Diedra Harris-Kelly, Bearden’s niece and co-director of the Bearden Foundation 
    Light refreshments will be served after a short program.

  • “Bearden and the Art of Collecting” Panel Discussion
    Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, 6-8 p.m. 
    Recital Hall, BSU Fine and Performing Arts Center
    Opening remarks: Dorothe Rohan Dow, Bearden’s sister-in-law
    Panelists include: 
    o   Dr. Leslie King-Hammond, director of the Center for Race and Culture, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), Baltimore
    o   Dr. Michelle Wilkinson, director of Collections and Exhibitions, Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture, Baltimore
    o   Juanita Hardy, local art collector and board member, Brandywine Workshop, Philadelphia
    o   Wisson West, owner, Gallery Serengeti, Capitol Heights, Md.
    o   Dr. Dianne Whitfield-Locke, local art collector and lender to the “Bearden at Bowie” exhibit

The new BSU Fine and Performing Arts Center, which opened its doors in spring 2012, boasts two art galleries – a 1,380-square-foot space for rotating exhibits and a smaller adjoining gallery for the BSU permanent collection of African-American art, as well as works from Africa and South America. The center is also home to BSU art, digital media arts, music and theater programs.

Future gallery events include Black History Month programs in February 2013 with the arts organization, Black Artists of DC.

For more information on the “Bearden at Bowie” exhibit, call the BSU Fine and Performing Arts Center at 301-860-3750.


Bowie State University (BSU) is an important higher education access portal for qualified persons from diverse academic and socioeconomic backgrounds, seeking a high quality and affordable public comprehensive university. The University places special emphasis on the science, technology, teacher education, business, and nursing disciplines within the context of a liberal arts education. For more information about BSU, visit the website