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Living Legacy National Speaking Tour

The David C. Driskell Center at the University of Maryland, College Park is pleased to share its recordings of The Living Legacy Speaking Tour, a historic journey to present, celebrate, and document the achievements and legacy of its founder, David C. Driskell. 

The Living Legacy National Speaking Tour was an opportunity for the Driskell Center to highlight Professor David C. Driskell and his legacy as an artist, scholar, and cultural historian to different areas of the United States, especially those communities which have traditionally had fewer opportunities to engage with the contributions of Professor Driskell and other African American artists to the American art canon.

The speaking tour, envisioned as a series of conversations between Professor David C. Driskell, and in most cases Professor Curlee R. Holton, the David C. Driskell Center’s Director, provided an opportunity for audiences and communities around the country to learn about the contributions of Professor Driskell, and of African American artists, to the country’s artistic history.

Driskell lived through, and witnessed firsthand, the dynamic historic changes in America that define our contemporary cultural landscape. His lifetime of experience maked him a national treasure, and in addition to his singular accomplishments, he was a gifted and inspiring speaker whose personal narrative brought with it an intimate and powerful voice. 

This national tour was managed by the David C. Driskell Center directors and staff and was supported by a generous donation from Mr. Larry and Dr. Brenda Thompson. 

Recordings of Living Legacy Tour

About David C. Driskell

Trained as a painter and art historian, David C. Driskell worked primarily in collage and mixed media. Driskell maintained an active career as a practicing artist, teacher, curator, collector, art administrator, and art consultant for more than 60 years. He lectured across the globe, and his works are included in major collections of art museums throughout the world. Professor Driskell authored five exhibition catalogues on the subject of African American art. He was the recipient of numerous fellowships, awards, and prizes, including three Rockefeller Foundation Fellowships and a Harmon Foundation Fellowship. In 1976, Driskell curated the groundbreaking exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, “Two Centuries of Black American Art: 1750-1950” which has been a foundation for the field of African American Art History. He joined the faculty of the Department of Art at the University of Maryland, College Park in 1977 and served as its Chairperson from 1978-1983. In 1995, he was named Distinguished University Professor of Art and taught until his retirement in 1998. In 2000, Prof. Driskell was honored by President William Jefferson Clinton as one of 12 recipients of the National Humanities Medal. In 2005, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, GA, established the David C. Driskell Prize, the first national award to honor and celebrate contributions to the field of African American art and art history. In addition to his thirteen honorary doctoral degrees in art, Prof. Driskell was elected in 2007 as a National Academician by the National Academy. Prof Driskell received the Lifetime Legacy Award from the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2016 and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2018.

About Curlee R. Holton

Curlee R. Holton has been the Director of the David C. Driskell Center at the University of Maryland since 2012. The David M. and Linda Roth Professor of Art, emeritus, at Lafayette College, Easton, PA, Holton is a printmaker and painter whose work has been exhibited professionally for over twenty-five years in more than thirty one-person shows and over eighty group shows. His exhibitions have included prestigious national and international venues such as Egypt’s 7th International Biennale, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. His work is in many private and public collections including the Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio; Yale University Art Gallery; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. As part of his research and study as an artist-scholar he has lectured and presented demonstrations throughout the United States and abroad in Europe, Mexico, the West Indies, and Costa Rica. He has presented over seventy public lectures on the subjects of his work, African American art, and contemporary printmaking. He has written numerous articles and essays on art and artists that have been published in catalogues and journals. Holton earned his M.F.A. with honors from Kent State University and his B.F.A. from the Cleveland Institute of Fine Arts in Drawing and Printmaking. Since 1991 he has taught Printmaking and African American Art History at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania and is also the founding director of the Experimental Printmaking Institute.