Olympic exhibitions represent collaborative efforts of corporate and community sponsors

In addition to attracting hundreds of Olympic and local visitors to the Carlos Museum, two exhibitions on display at the museum this summer will display what is being billed as "the most important and comprehensive gathering of African American self-taught art in the country."

Presented as part of the 1996 Olympic Arts Festival, the exhibitions "Souls Grown Deep: African American Vernacular Art of the South" and "Thornton Dial: Remembering the Road" have been made possible in part through a $200,000 joint grant from AT&T and The Coca-Cola Company. The grant will support the educational and high-tech components of the exhibitions.

"We've been able to develop and offer high quality educational programming to the community thanks to the mutual educational mission of AT&T and The Coca-Cola Company," said Catherine Howett Smith, interim director of the Carlos Museum.

An exhibition of more than 500 works by 30 self-taught African American artists, "Souls Grown Deep" is on display at City Hall East through Nov. 3. The exhibition is a collaboration among The Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games (ACOG) Cultural Olympiad, the Carlos Museum and the City of Atlanta Bureau of Cultural Affairs.

"Thornton Dial: Remembering the Road," a collaboration between the Cultural Olympiad and the Carlos Museum, presents this southern artist's provocative works produced since 1993. The exhibition is on display through Oct. 15.

As a vital component of the educational programming for "Souls Grown Deep," 10 high school students from the School of Communications Magnet Program at Grady High School have been selected to participate in a summer-long internship program funded by The Coca-Cola Company and AT&T. The internship will give students the opportunity to work on the exhibition through training in various departments at the Carlos Museum. The interns also will be trained as guides to provide public tours of the exhibition throughout the summer.

Participants were selected by a panel comprised of representatives from the Education Department at Georgia State University, the Georgia Council for the Arts and the Carlos Museum. Of the 18 students who applied, 10 were selected to participate. Qualifications the panel considered included academic excellence, leadership abilities, experience in the visual arts and public speaking.

Directing the internship program is Narvi Puls, a Carlos Museum docent and a former principal in the Atlanta City School System.

"We are proud to be able to support the mutual goals of numerous organizations by providing a public facility where young people can come to gain hands-on experience in museum skills," said Barbara Bowser, director of the Bureau of Cultural Affairs. "These internships will provide an excellent introduction to the museum profession for students who wish to become curators, exhibition designers and museum directors."

Among other community outreach programs offered in conjunction with the "Souls Grown Deep" and "Remembering the Road" exhibitions, the grant will sponsor class field trips for students from Atlanta area schools by providing bus transportation and guided tours. Courses also have been designed to provide staff development credits for elementary school teachers who will study the exhibitions and utilize their knowledge in their social studies curriculum.

Educational programs open to the public include several blues concerts, presented in association with the Atlanta Blues Society and WRFG Radio, and a series of lectures featuring noted scholars such as Robert Hobbs, curator of the exhibitions; William Ferris, director of the Center for Southern Culture in Oxford, Miss.; and Thee Smith, associate professor in the theology school.

A special World Wide Web site has been developed to highlight the two exhibitions, providing didactic information and images of approximately 34 works in the exhibitions. The Langston Hughes poem, "The Negro Speaks of Rivers," which inspired the title of the "Souls Grown Deep" exhibition, and several artist biographies also are featured on the site.

The address for the site is <http://www.emory.edu/CARLOS/carlos.html>.

For information on ticket prices and museum hours, call 727-4291.

--Anna Lalos

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