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Detroit Institute of Arts to Honor Artist William T. Williams with 2011 Alain Locke Award

The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) auxiliary Friends of African and African American Art will present its 19th annual Alain Locke Award to renowned artist William T. Williams on Sunday, Feb. 13 at 2 p.m. As part of the event, Williams will give a talk entitled “Merging Art and Life in Abstraction.” Photographer Hugh Grannum will receive the Alain Locke Recognition Award. The event is free with museum admission.

Williams is being recognized for his large, abstract paintings that reflect his mastery of color, his innovative artistic approaches, and his diverse range of interests. Throughout his 40-year career, Williams has generously mentored generations of artists. He is acknowledged as an initiator in 1968 of the Studio Museum in Harlem’s renowned Artist-in-Residence program, which continues to jumpstart the careers of many artists of African descent.

Williams earned a Master of Fine Arts from Yale University, and has received numerous awards, including two from the National Endowment for the Arts. His work has been exhibited in more than 100 museums throughout the U.S., Europe, South America, Asia and Africa. Williams is currently a professor of art at Brooklyn College, City University of New York.

Emmy-Award-winning photographer Hugh Grannum, who worked for the Detroit Free Press for 37 years, will be honored with the Alain Locke Recognition Award. Grannum has taught at several local universities, as well as diversity through the medium of photography at Focus Hope. Much of his work has dealt with the particular challenges faced by African American youth in the educational system. Grannum has been exhibited nationally and internationally, and has received awards from the National Press Photographers Association and the National Association of Black Journalists, among many others.

Dr. Alain Locke
Dr. Alain Locke (1886-1954), a distinguished African American intellectual of his generation, was the leading promoter and interpreter of the artistic and cultural contributions of African Americans to American life. As a professor of philosophy, his theory of “cultural pluralism” valued the uniqueness of different styles and values available within a democratic society.

Friends of African and African American Art established the Alain Locke Awards in 1992 to honor individuals dedicated to the promotion and understanding of African American culture. Recipients must have exhibited exemplary courage, commitment and leadership in promoting Locke’s legacy.

Hours and Admission
Museum hours are 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m.–10 p.m. Fridays, and 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, $4 for ages 6-17, and free for DIA members. For membership information call 313-833-7971.

The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), one of the premier art museums in the United States, is home to more than 60,000 works that comprise a multicultural survey of human creativity from ancient times through the 21st century. From the first van Gogh painting to enter a U.S. museum (Self-Portrait, 1887), to Diego Rivera’s world-renowned Detroit Industry murals (1932–33), the DIA’s collection is known for its quality, range, and depth. As the DIA celebrates its 125th anniversary in 2010, it does so with renewed commitment to its visitor-centered experience and to its mission of creating opportunities for all visitors to find personal meaning in art.

Programs are made possible in part with support from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, National Endowment for the Arts and the City of Detroit.

Top Image: William T. Williams, The Flute Player, 1992. Acrylic on canvas. Detroit Institute of Arts.

Lower image: The Detroit Institute of Arts

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