New Panther Club launched
Sept. 1, 2010

After more than a year of preparation, an exhibition funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts will open Oct. 8 with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Lamar Dodd Art Center.

“African-American Contributions to a Shared Vision: Prints from the Cochran Collection” explores historical and contemporary printmaking with an emphasis on African-American artists such as Robert Blackburn and Camille Billops, who have had an impact on art through their teaching and mentoring, according to Margaret Reneke, Associate Professor of Art.

Although it contains mostly prints, the exhibit “includes a wide range of techniques and mediums, spanning the entire 20th century,” she said. “You can’t have American art without African-American art – they are each part of the whole.”
Reneke was instrumental in getting the NEA grant, said Marcia Brown, Chair of the Art and Design Department.

“We were told last year that a 3rd Congressional District matching grant for $10,000 was available,” Brown said. “Margaret initiated the application process and made sure that everything was in order. The grant gives us a wonderful opportunity to offer our students, as well as the entire West Georgia area, a transforming experience through art.”

Reneke said the diversity of the show is what makes it special.

“This shows the marriage of different ethnicities, styles, ages and cultures coming together,” she said. “That is one the main points of this exhibit.”

Since receiving the grant last fall, the Art Department has been busy preparing for the exhibition.

“We put together a catalog, and commissioned an essay for it from Curlee Raven Holton, Professor of Art at Lafayette College in Easton, Pa.,” Brown said.

The grant also helped fund new equipment for a lithography class that Reneke will teach during Jan Term.

“Margaret had been working hard on getting our press up and running,” Brown said. “She also attended a two-week session on lithography at the famed Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina.”

Brown said one important outreach of the grant is establishing connections with area art teachers.

“We have put together packets that include a teacher’s guide and the exhibit’s catalog,” she said. “We want teachers to think of us as a resource. We’d love to host tours for students.”

The Georgia Art Educators Association will be meeting at Callaway Gardens in October, and 40 of them will travel to LaGrange to view the exhibit.

“This is an invaluable chance for us to show the state’s best and brightest art teachers what we have to offer at LaGrange College,” Brown said.

The prints featured in the exhibit belong to Wes and Missy Cochran of LaGrange.

“We are so appreciative of the Cochrans for sharing their collection of significant printmakers,” Brown said. “Missy, who is a retired school teacher, and Wes were very interested in getting teachers into the gallery. This is a perfect partnership.”

Three printmakers will visit the campus during the exhibit, and will offer demonstrations to students. The lectures will be at 11:15 a.m. in the Dodd lecture room and are open to the public. Speakers will include Joe Norman on Sept. 14, Curlee Horton on Oct. 26 and Lynn Marshall-Linnemeier on Nov. 9.

A reception for local art teachers will be from 4 to 6 p.m. Oct. 25 and will feature a gallery talk by Holton. A homecoming alumni coffee will be from 9 to 11 a.m. Oct. 30.

The show will be up through Jan. 31.

For more information, contact Brown at or call (706) 880-8211.

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