Columbia College Chicago Celebrates Art of Archibald Motley with Citywide Program Series

Gallery talks, music and dance performances, film screenings and more, highlight Motley's influence on range of artists

CHICAGO (April 14, 2015) – Columbia College Chicago will celebrate the works of Archibald Motley with a series of citywide programs in partnership with the exhibition, Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist, presented by the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events at the Chicago Cultural Center now through Aug. 31.

The programming for the exhibition, Connect, Collaborate and Create: The Art of Archibald Motley, seeks to connect audiences with the artist’s themes of identity, migration, and community-building while serving as a catalyst for contemporary collaboration and creativity. Curated by Motley scholar and Columbia College Chicago Art + Design associate professor, Amy Mooney, programs include gallery talks, musical performances, programs for educators, author discussions, film screenings, and more.

“For Motley, an artist needs to bring empathy, personality and intensity to the work,” said Mooney. “These same qualities are important to artists today and will be reflected throughout the performances and programs that we have planned for the exhibition.”

Program highlights through May include:

  • Evenings for Educators: K-12 teachers have opportunities to look, learn, and connect with the main themes of Motley’s work: identity, migration, and the experience of Chicago’s Bronzeville community.
  • The Black Dandy: Cultural and Historic Context: The Museum of Contemporary Photography hosts a panel providing cultural and historic context on images documenting the contemporary Black Dandy phenomena in popular culture in conjunction with their exhibition, Dandy Lion: (Re) Defining Black Masculine Identity.
  • James Falzone: Liminal Voices: Chicago-based clarinetist and composer James Falzone presents his own compositions for solo clarinet based on his interpretations of Steve Reich’s New York Counterpoint, and a new work composed specifically in response to the Motley exhibition.
  • Archibald Motley and the Matter of Film: A three-part film series curated by Dr. Romi Crawford (School of the Art Institute of Chicago) exploring how the formal and thematic concerns of filmmakers from the 1920s-1940s parallel those of Archibald Motley.
  • Part I: Race and Gender Matters: The Black Cinema House hosts screenings including Charleston Parade (Jean Renoir, 1927), a science fiction-esque silent film short depicting a devastated Europe and Africa as the focal point for human progress and civilization; and Devil in a Blue Dress (Carl Franklin, 1995), a hardboiled detective film based on the novel by Walter Mosley set in Los Angeles in the late 1940s.
  • Louis Armstrong Legacy Program and Celebration: The culminating event of the Louis Armstrong Legacy Program showcases the talent of Chicago Public Schools students with renowned trombonist Wycliffe Gordon. The Armstrong Legacy Program is part of Columbia College’s Center for Community Arts Partnership.
  • Archibald Motley and Chicago’s Sound Palette I: Tomeka Reid: This three-part series curated by Kate Dumbleton, (Artistic and Executive Director of the Hyde Park Jazz Festival and assistant professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago) will launch with cellist and Bronzeville resident and activist Tomeka Reid as she responds to the sonic quality of Motley’s paintings.
  • Chicago Artists and Authors Respond to the Art of Archibald Motley:Playwright Regina Taylor. For this series of informal gallery talks, Chicago artists and authors are invited to reflect on how this modern master influenced their own work. Drawing from the themes of her latest play, stop.reset., award-winning playwright Regina Taylor will consider how Motley’s work poses questions regarding identity and legacy.

More exhibition events and programs run through Aug. 31. Go to for dates, times and additional information.

Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist at the Chicago Cultural Center is presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and programmed by Columbia College Chicago. The exhibition is organized by the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University and is made possible by the Terra Foundation for American Art; the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor; and the Henry Luce Foundation. Major support is provided by the Wyeth Foundation for American Art.

Columbia College Chicagois an urban institution that offers innovative degree programs in the visual, performing, media and communication arts for nearly 10,000 students in 120 undergraduate and graduate programs. An arts and media college committed to a rigorous liberal arts curriculum, Columbia is dedicated to opportunity and excellence in higher education. For further information, visit

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE)is dedicated to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This includes fostering the development of Chicago’s non-profit arts sector, independent working artists and for-profit arts businesses; providing a framework to guide the City’s future cultural and economic growth, via the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan; marketing the City’s cultural assets to a worldwide audience; and presenting high-quality, free and affordable cultural programs for residents and visitors. For more information, visit


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