News Center

News from the Reed College public affairs office

Search: or

Media Advisory

Reed College's Cooley Gallery presents art historian William Arnett on African American vernacular art, October 22



William Arnett, acclaimed curator, author, and editor, will lecture on "African American Vernacular Art: A Secret Language, A Hidden Tradition," exploring the often-overlooked aesthetic traditions of African American art in the American South. Arnett will devote particular attention to the Quilts of Gee's Bend, which demonstrate a sophisticated color play evocative of 20th century abstract painters. The lecture is presented by Reed College's Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery in conjunction with the Elizabeth Leach Gallery, currently showing "Prints from Gee's Bend."


6 p.m., Saturday, October 22


Kaul Auditorium, Reed College, 3203 SE Woodstock Blvd., Portland (Park in the West Parking lot, off Botsford Drive, via SE 28th Avenue)


Free and open to the public.


For more information, please visit Reed's public events webpage at or call the public events hotline at 503/777-7755.

William Arnett
William Arnett is the co-curator of the traveling exhibition "The Quilts of Gee's Bend"and co-author of the acclaimed The Quilts of Gee's Bend and Geeâ's Bend: The Women and Their Quilts, as well as the editor of the two-volume Souls Grown Deep: African American Vernacular Art of the South.  

The Quilts of Gee’s Bend
Gee's Bend is located in southwest Alabama, on a sliver of land made into a virtual island by a bend in the Alabama River.  Isolated without a ferry service for decades, the women of Gee's Bend developed a unique, innovative, and resourceful quilting aesthetic. The quilts were brought to the public eye by the traveling exhibition, co-curated by Arnett and sponsored by the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, in 2002.
"Prints from Gee's Bend" at the Elizabeth Leach Gallery
Mary Lee Bendolph and Louisiana Bendolph, two of the Gee's Bend quilters, have worked with master printers in Northern California to produce a set of twelve colorful etchings.  These new works reflect the aesthetic of improvisation and color play that inform the quilts. "Prints from Gee's Bend" opens simultaneously with "2D from 3D," an exhibit of contemporary and historical drawings from artists known primarily for their sculptural work. There will be a reception for Mary Lee Bendolph and Louisiana Bendolph from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, October 22 at the Elizabeth Leach Gallery at 417 N.W. 9th Avenue in downtown Portland. "Prints from Gee's Bend" will be on view through October 29, 2005.


Reed College

Reed College, in Portland, Oregon, is an undergraduate institution of the liberal arts and sciences dedicated to sustaining the highest intellectual standards in the country. With an enrollment of about 1,360 students, Reed ranks third in the undergraduate origins of Ph.D.s in the United States and second in the number of Rhodes Scholars from a liberal arts college (31 since 1915). For more information, visit