In celebration of Atlanta Art Week, The Art History & Curatorial Studies Collective at The Atlanta University Center (AUC) hosted a walking tour of the AUC in dedication of their rich art history and art education.
Leading this cultural exploration was Dr. Cheryl Finley, the director of the Art History & Curatorial Studies Collective. Her invitation to helm this program came directly from Spelman College President Mary Schmidt Campbell, herself a distinguished figure in the art world with a master’s degree in art history from Syracuse University.
Joining Dr. Finley in guiding the tour was Tenesha Carter-Johnson, a senior at Spelman College majoring in art history and minoring in curatorial studies. Together, they lead the tour through the AUC, not only shedding light on its historical beginnings but also highlighting its rich artistic heritage, including its impressive collection of statues and designs.
“Atlanta Art Week provides the perfect opportunity to showcase the vibrant art history and education that are integral to the AUC’s identity,” Dr. Finley remarked when asked about the significance of the AUC’s involvement in Atlanta Art Week. “Our mission is to connect people with the rich cultural heritage of the AUC and inspire a new generation of artists, curators, and scholars,” she continued.
A diverse array of participants, including students and art enthusiasts, joined the tour in pursuit of a deeper understanding of art history and insight into the Atlanta-based educational institutions. Among them was Kyrie Blackman, who had been part of the art collective during his time as a student at Morehouse College, where he graduated in 2020 with a degree in sociology.
“I enjoy witnessing people’s reactions and observing how they internalize and respond to these artistic pieces. For me, the satisfaction comes from seeing how people absorb information,” Blackman shared.
Participants spanned various points in the AUC’s history, with Abigail Woodward, a former GED teacher with 30 years of experience working with adolescents under state supervision. Woodard recalled taking her students to the AUC recollecting her history with the institution by taking her students to see the AIDS Memorial Quilt in November of 1985.
“Whenever I’m in Atlanta, I make it a point to explore the art, concepts, and expressions. This tour made it easier for me to do what I’ve always wanted,” Woodward expressed to The Atlanta Voice.
The journey commenced at the Spelman Museum of Art, where Finley delved into the early days of Spelman College, founded in 1881 as Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary. The tour continued through the Clark Atlanta University campus and the AUC Robert W. Woodruff Library, culminating at The Clark Atlanta University Art Museum.