Our Views: Southern University System Builds An Art Legacy

Our Views: Southern University System Builds An Art Legacy

The Southern University System is the only black university system in the country. It serves approximately 15,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Shreveport. This includes the opportunity to explore African and African American art.

Several HBCUs have art museums, each with a different area of ​​focus. Hampton University in Virginia has a collection of banjo lessons by Henry Tanner. Spelman College in Atlanta focuses on black women's art. The Xavier University of Louisiana collection highlights professors such as Elizabeth Catlett and Romare Bearden.

The University of the South Art Museum has eight galleries in Harvey Hall. It was opened in 2001. The Southern University Art Museum in Shreveport opened in 2002.

Dr. Leon Tarver is the 2nd president of Southern and art collector. It was in part her persistence and artistry that made the Baton Rouge and Shreveport collections possible. In the year He relinquished his leadership role in 2005, and there is no art museum on the Southern University campus in New Orleans. Many of the jobs were sent to the Pontchartrain Park campus, but most were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

After 17 years, SUNO finally has its own museum. The Southern University Museum of Art in New Orleans — SUNOMA for short — recently opened in a 15,000-square-foot, four-gallery building in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Building. A Federal Emergency Management Agency grant was used to restore the works that could be restored, and the works are now in two galleries. Suno's collection of African art includes works by William E. Bertrand, a professor of public health at Tulane University, who found them while working in Africa. It also has an exhibition space for teachers, students and regional works.

Good friends, Tarver and Bertrand attended the ribbon cutting and the crowd was delighted to see the various artifacts, paintings and sculptures.

SUNOMA welcomes the New Orleans arts community and encourages visitors to see how Katrina survived and the arts contribute to our rich Louisiana culture.

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