David C. Driskell Center

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Date: May 23, 2016
Contact: Stephanie Smith
Title: Archivist
Phone: 301.405.2984
Email: slsmith3@umd.edu


COLLEGE PARK, MD. – The David C. Driskell Center, the leading research center for the study of African American art and the art of the Diaspora, is proud to announce the establishment of the Faith Ringgold Study Room, a new resource for the study of African American art. The study room is a space dedicated to honoring the work and life of the artist Faith Ringgold and provides an opportunity to students, scholars, and the community at large to research and engage with her artwork and books while also deepening their understanding of contributions by African American artists to the American art canon.

Over the last six decades, Faith Ringgold has organized and maintained records documenting her life and career; this collection was donated to the Driskell Center and is the heart of the Faith Ringgold Study Room. The Faith Ringgold Collection includes: letters; writings including drafts of her children books, lecture notes, and notes about the creation of her art; original art; DVDs; books by and about Ringgold; and ephemera that document the artist’s life and work. With financial support from the artist, the Driskell Center will hire a graduate student who will assist the Driskell Center’s Archivist to document, inventory, and catalog the collection in the Center’s PastPerfect database, making Ringgold’s collection available to the public; in addition the funds will be used to create educational programming using the collection.

The Faith Ringgold Study Room is expected to open in early March 2017. The opening will coincide with the exhibition “Shifting: African American Women Artists and the Power of Their Gaze” which will open at the Driskell Center on Thursday, March 2, 2017. This exhibition will showcase artwork by leading and emerging African American female artists and highlight how they address the female gaze and will include art from Ringgold, among other African American female artists. The exhibition will be accompanied by a panel discussion on Friday, March 3, 2017 which will explore how African American women artists address the female gaze.


Faith Ringgold is an African American artist and author who was born in 1930 in Harlem, New York City. Ringgold is best known for her large painted story quilts. As a child she was taught to sew fabrics creatively by her mother, a professional fashion designer, and to make quilts by her great-great-grandmother. In 1950, she began studying art at City College of New York, concentrating on painting; she received her Master's degree in Fine Art from City College in 1959. Ringgold is a Professor Emeritus at the University of California, San Diego where she taught art from 1987 until 2002. Her art frequently comments on themes of race and gender and their particular relation to the art world, including art history. Ringgold was one of the first female artists to begin making art objects in a medium formerly referred to as "woman's work" (textiles, sewn fabric, weaving, quilting, embroidery, etc.) in the 1970's, offering her work as 'serious' art, rather than accepting the label of 'craft.' To date, she has illustrated 16 children’s books and received more than 75 awards, including 22 Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degrees. Her works are included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the High Museum of Fine Art, among others.


The David C. Driskell Center honors the legacy of David C. Driskell—Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of Art, Artist, Art Historian, Collector, Curator, and Philanthropist—by preserving the rich heritage of African American visual art and culture. The Driskell Center is committed to preserving, documenting, and presenting African American art, as well as replenishing and expanding the field of African American art. All programs at the David C. Driskell Center are free and open to the public. The facility is wheelchair accessible. For further information regarding exhibitions and activities at the Driskell Center, please call 301.314.2615 or visit www.driskellcenter.umd.edu. The Driskell Center's programming is supported, in part, by a grant from the Maryland State Arts council.