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Strategic Focus Area: The Arts

The future belongs to young people with an education and the imagination to create.
~ President Barack Obama

The arts stimulate imagination.  As former Texas Congresswoman Barbara Jordan stated, “They have a wonderful universality.”  They are an essential part of our humanity and they need to be recognized as such.

Through our Arts SFA, WIF encourages an expansive and reflective look at various cultures through visual arts (painting, sculpture, photography…), culinary arts (planning, preparation, and presentation of meals), and performing arts (dance, theater, spoken word…).

We recognize that these and other forms of art and culture not only advance our capacity for compassion and empathy, but also engender a measurable positive influence on education, the economies of the world, and the health and well being of our global society.

We focus on the provision of opportunities for:

 

  • Students of the visual, culinary, and performing arts to study abroad
  • Fine arts and art history scholars to study the life and work of artist Beauford Delaney

Beauford Delaney: Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color

Collage of Beauford Delaney works (details) © Estate of Beauford Delaney by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire, Court Appointed Administrator

The Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color exhibition was the first solo exhibition of Beauford Delaney’s work to be held in Paris since the 1992 show at the Darthea Speyer Gallery.  It regrouped over 40 paintings and works on paper from the artist’s Paris period and featured abstract expressionist works as well as portraits and landscapes.  All were from private collections and the majority had never been seen by the public prior to this showing.

Beauford Delaney (1901 – 1979) was a consummate artist and a warm-hearted man. He was a great teacher and a great listener. He was psychologically troubled, yet a profound inspiration to many. His life and his talent were gifts to the world.

Born in Knoxville, Tennessee, Delaney was an exceptional modernist painter. He spent the last 26 years of his life in Paris, France, where he produced many of the most powerful abstract expressionist and figurative works of his career. He died a pauper and was buried in an unmarked grave in a cemetery outside the city.

James Baldwin owed a great deal to his friendship with Beauford Delaney. In The Price of the Ticket, Baldwin pays tribute to this man, whose unshakable example of “courage and integrity, humility and passion” gave him the strength to survive and the ability to hope for a future.

Delaney’s work is found in the collections of some of the most prestigious museums in the U.S.:

  • Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
  • Museum of Modern Art, New York
  • Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
  • Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago
  • National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC
  • Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC.

The French government owns Delaney paintings, as does the Centre Pompidou, France’s National Contemporary Art Museum. But the artist’s work has yet to achieve the widespread international acclaim that it deserves.

Beauford Delaney 1953 – Photo by Carl Van Vechten

University of Arizona Augmented Reality Project

As an example of the ability of art to encourage open-mindedness and consideration of the opinions of others, listen to University of Arizona student Trypp Twyman talk about his experience with art as a participant in the Augmented Reality project for the Beauford Delaney exhibition in Paris in 2016:

Global Educator Program

Participants in the Global Educator Program were required to read Beauford Delaney’s biography prior to arriving in Paris for their week of professional development.  One of the teachers was so inspired by Delaney’s story that she created a presentation that asked probing questions about what the participants should strive to achieve through their training.

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