October 20, 2022 | 5 – 10 PM
Presented by CAPE In-State Artist in Residence Charles Edward Williams, Pike School of Art – Mississippi, and the Mississippi Museum of Art
Mississippi Museum of Art
380 South Lamar Street
Jackson MS 39201
On Thursday, October 20, 2022, in conjunction with Museum After Hours, from 5:30 until 7 PM, Pike School of Art, in partnership with the Mississippi Museum of Art, will host a listening session of Charles Edward William’s work, FORWARD and a panel discussion about the works place in the history of the Civil Rights Movement. The panel will take place at the Mississippi Museum of Art and feature, along with the artist, Monique Davis, Managing Director for the Center for Art and Public Exchange (CAPE) at the Mississippi Museum of Art m; Brenda Travis, an African American veteran of the Civil Rights Movement from McComb, Mississippi whose imprisonment for protesting a segregated bus station and participation in a peaceful high school walk out in 1961 helped catalyze public sentiment against segregation and Flonzie Brown Wright, best-selling author of Looking Back to Move Ahead, which chronicles her journey growing up in a small Mississippi town through her work in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s and 1970s, three powerful women of color and consummate experts in their fields.
Charles Edward Williams was selected by The Center for Art & Public Exchange at the Mississippi Museum of Art in 2020 to participate in their National Artist Residence program. CAPE’s residencies promote the exploration of legacies and issues that resonate both locally and nationally, and use art as a lens to inspire dialogue, empower personal experiences, and connect Mississippi across geographic boundaries. CAPE had earlier joined forces with Pike School of Art – Mississippi to gather public input as part of their Art + Exchange story gathering tour, in which participants shared their opinions on the past, present and future of their community. This input was utilized by Williams when he was invited to propose specific project ideas that addressed narratives raised by the public.
In 1960 McComb, Miss, and other surrounding areas endured extreme violence by the KKK, who sought to intimidate and scare black voters. In 1961, the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) had its first voting registrations in McComb, Mississippi, and Herbert Lee, a member of the NAACP, was murdered near Liberty by white state representative E.H. Hurst. One hundred black high school students protested the expulsion of Brenda Travis, who sat-in at the Greyhound Bus Station in protest of Herbert Lee’s death in McComb, and violence erupted, injuring several SNCC members. The song “We Shall Never Turn Back” shares lyrics specifically related to the incidents of Pike and Amite counties in 1961.
From the historical events that took place in McComb, artist Charles Edward Williams has written and produced 8 tracks for an album EP entitled, FORWARD. The album’s title is an exploration of and response to the 1960s audio/visual project, “We Shall Never Turn Back.” The work juxtaposes Williams’ own personal encounters, past and present, with the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. The concept album consists of tracks, recorded in McComb, with audio, spoken word, and music from local citizens and community stakeholders. While the music has already been created for FORWARD, Council funding would be used to bring Williams to McComb to continue working with the community, to produce and document a live version of the work, and to create a companion publication and limited-edition vinyl pressing of the album. The album is currently available via the streaming service Bandcamp.
About Charles Edward Williams
Charles Edward Williams was born in Georgetown, South Carolina. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, GA in 2006 and his Masters of Fine Arts from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, NC in 2017. He has had solo exhibitions at Residency Art Gallery, Inglewood, CA; Artspace, Raleigh, NC; Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC; New Gallery of Modern Art, Charlotte, NC; Central Piedmont College, Charlotte, NC; Morton Fine Art, Washington, DC; and Myrtle Beach Art Museum, Myrtle Beach, SC.
His residencies include Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, CA; Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, SC; SOMA, Mexico City, Mexico; McColl Center of Art and Innovation, Charlotte, NC; and Hudson River Landscape Fellowship, Hunter, NY. His work is in the public collections of the Knoxville Museum of Art, Knoxville, TN; North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC; Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, SC; Myrtle Beach Museum, Myrtle Beach, SC; the Petrucci Family Foundation Collection of African American Art, Asbury, NJ; among others.
About Pike School of Mississippi
Our mission is to enrich and empower a thriving community built by artists and allies in Southwest Mississippi. Pike School of Art – Mississippi (PSA-MS) values collaboration, understanding, respect, inclusivity, equity, and unconventional spaces. PSA-MS public programs are designed to promote our organizational goal to be a space for interdisciplinary creative experimentation. In addition to our residency program, which invites artists and writers to the Deep South, PSA-MS offers opportunities for the residents of Pike County and southwest Mississippi to engage in the power of artistic expression and to effect positive change in our community.
Charles Edward Williams: FORWARD was made possible with support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Ruth Arts, South Arts, the Mississippi Arts Commission, and the Mississippi Humanities Council.