History through art

This article was updated Feb. 5 at 3:00 p.m.

Power of the MIC 2: The Movement will mark the beginning of events held by the Bruce Nesbitt African American Cultural Center for February, Black History Month.

The artistic expression of words, songs and history will begin at 7:00 p.m. Friday, Feb. 5. The theme, “The Movement,” spans the 1960s to the late 70s to demonstrate the tenacity widely held during that era.

The ceremony will take place at the Bruce Nesbitt African American Cultural Center, located at 708 S Mathews in Urbana.

A Civil Rights Project Solo art exhibit will also begin showing that evening. Paintings and drawings by local artist Jason Patterson will premier during the Opening Reception that will last from 7-10 p.m. at the Indi Go Artist Co-Op located at 9 East University in Champaign.

According to Patterson’s website, the new series of works depicts the “work carried out by Afro-Americans and their supporters during the mid 20th century.”

“Growing up I loved studying history. Naturally that love worked its way into my art,” Patterson said in an e-mail. “Also, being African American, the Movement has a lot of meaning to me. Artistically what gave me a lot of inspiration was the monochromatic photo paintings of Gerhard Richter. I borrowed from his painting style to draw the blurred film and video stills that are depicted in these pieces.”

Patterson said he began Civil Rights Project in the summer of 2008 and it has been his main focus since then.

“It’s hard for me to say what I hope people’s reaction to this work will be,” Patterson said. “When I made the work, one of the goals was to show the civil rights movement the way I see it. To capture the images that I see most significant and show them to others. So I suppose I hope that people simply agree with the work.”

Patterson said all the main pieces in the main series were drawn on raw canvas with charcoal and white pastel, all but for an oil painting and one charcoal and pastel drawing that is on laid paper.

He said he developed this drawing style after studying the figure drawings of Pierre-Paul Prud’hon.

Any proceeds made at the free exhibition will go to benefit the Don Moyers Boys and Girls Club, a nonprofit organization that University students can assist while enrolled in English 298. The Don Moyer Boys & Girls Club is a Champaign-centered organization dedicated to instilling a sense of community spirit, competence, positive influence and self-esteem in the youth of the Champaign community, according to their mission statement.

The Solo Exhibition will run Feb. 5, 2010 to Feb. 21, 2010.