Sordoni Art Gallery hosts Art In Context lecture

On Feb. 1 Dr. Thomas Aiello will be speaking at the Sordoni Art Gallery about the “David C. Driskell and Friends: Creativity, Collaboration and Friendship” exhibition. Join in welcoming Dr. Aiello to the campus at 5 p.m. for his “Harlem Renaissance: Art of Black America” lecture that is free and open to the general public. 


Being a professor of history and Africana studies at Valdosta State University, he will discuss the importance of the works of art that were curated by Driskell. This was brought here through the efforts of Heather Sincavage, curator of the exhibition, director of Sordoni Art Gallery and associate professor of art, alongside her co-curators, Curlee Raven Holton and Dr. Sheila Bergman.


“As Wilkes University celebrates Black History Month, it is important to recognize the people who are telling their story,” said Sincavage. “It allows us a greater understanding and provides deeper empathy for those who have been singled out for their difference.”


Dr. Aiello will be discussing different aspects and viewpoints of the works of art presented because of his extensive educational background. His main points will be addressing the importance of the works during the time of the Harlem Renaissance and how they shaped that time period and  influenced art culture for years to come. 


This project brings light to the discussions of the importance of collaboration in both the artistic world and our own lives, being able to get to know and experience African American artwork closer to home. 


At the lecture, students, faculty and community members will be able to experience for themselves moving and thought provoking works of art by artists like Richard Bruce Nugent and Aaron Douglas. It will showcase different aspects of the Harlem Renaissance that have never been seen or thought of before by highlighting visual art of African American culture in the 1920s. 


“We’re looking forward to hosting this event,” said Melissa Carestia, assistant director of Sordoni Art Gallery. “The Art In Context lectures connect the work in the gallery to other topics. Having a lecture about the Harlem Renaissance, which was so important to Driskell and so many others in the exhibition, will be a meaningful experience.”


In today’s society, isolation and individualism is at an all time high. After COVID-19 struck, it has been very apparent that being alone and separated from friends and community has begun to not only be the norm but preferred. 

This exhibition hopes to begin a change in tone by emphasizing the importance of collaboration and communication between friends, professional disciplines, colleges and backgrounds. Especially at such a tumultuous time as the 1920s and the Harlem Renaissance, collaboration and friendship was a must for survival. 


This is a very important event in art history since it showcases many aspects of important work in African American culture. 


“The subject of the show, David Driskell, is a very important figure in the history of African-American art in the 20th century,” said Paul Riggs, dean of arts and science. “The show is premiering here at the Sordoni before moving to university art galleries nationwide. This is a very big event for Dr. Aiello and professor Sincavage.”