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October 14, 2020

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – Johnson County Community College will host #1960Now, an outdoor exhibit by internationally known artist Sheila Pree Bright, from Oct. 27 to Nov. 23, 2020, outside its Fine Arts & Design Studios (FADS).

The exhibit parallels the civil rights movement of the 1960s with the Black Lives Matter movement of today. Bright's striking black-and-white photographs capture the courage of 1960s elder statesmen and the conviction of a new generation of activists. JCCC Fine Arts, Photo and Film students will install the exhibit.

“It is a rare opportunity for students to be allowed to install art created by such a well-known artist. It is even more rare for them to get to install it using alternative presentation methods such as public art,” says Tonia Hughes, Associate Professor of Film and Photography at JCCC.

#1960Now has three parts:

  • Outdoor photography showcasing Bright’s portraits of leaders of the civil rights and Black Lives Matter movements.
  • A video created by Bright, in which she combines footage from the civil rights movement with footage from the Black Lives Matter movement for a compelling look across decades in the United States.
  • An interactive opportunity in the FADS vestibule that encourages attendees to respond to the portraits and video by writing on the “chalkboard” created by Bright and installed by students.

“Bright’s work is often shown outside in public areas, which removes the constraints and challenges of trying to show inside a gallery during COVID-19,” Hughes said.

#1960Now is open during campus hours but will require a reservation to ensure social distancing. The interactive portion inside the vestibule is limited to one person at a time and is only available when FADS is open and staffed. Masks are required while on campus.

Students will install the exhibit over several class periods during the weeks leading up to the exhibit opening. Setting up the photographs, video and interactive portion in the vestibule will provide a valuable learning opportunity for the students, as will experiencing the powerful exhibit as an attendee.

“Young artists need to physically see art, not just slides,” says Hughes. “They need to develop an understanding of perspective and context and learn hands-on skills such how to install a show.”

On Nov. 19, the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art will feature Bright as a Virtual Third Thursday Visiting Artist from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Registration is required for this free Zoom event.  

#1960Now is funded by JCCC’s Department of Fine Arts, Photo and Film and the Kansas Studies Institute.