Artful Healing and Medicine

On Friday October 18th the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art held their opening reception for the exhibit titled Tales of the Conjure Woman by the artist Renee Stout. The pieces in the show were all based around the folk stories that originated through slavery among African Americans.  The pieces established a story of a root worker and fortune teller named Fatima Mayfield, an alter ego that Renee Stout has had for a while that acts as a source of inspiration for her artwork.  The opening reception was prefaced by a dialogue from Renee Stout so that before viewing the show the audience members could get to know the artist better.  Renee Stout being present at the reception gave an interesting and exciting experience to the exhibit by being able to look at her art and read about her inspiration and experiences, but then see her in person and hear her speak or have a conversation with.  An interesting portion of the exhibit was that on the back of each piece she wrote the title, her name, and the perfumes she wore during the creation of that piece. She then included those perfume bottles in her exhibit to allow the audience to smell them, so that they could get a better sense of the inspiration that went into the art.

The amount of people that showed up for both the lecture and the exhibit was vast as a result of great promotional efforts.  The large crowd added excitement to the atmosphere making it not just a quiet walk through the exhibit and encouraged discussion and bolder enjoyment of the show.  The event was free and catered food and wine companies were present for the enjoyment of the audience.  The no-cost admittance allowed many college students to attend the event which they may not have otherwise if there was a cost. Before the reception I received E-mails and had seen the posters and pamphlets around campus advertising the exhibit. With the Halsey location being on campus they planned their event with their audience in mind. There were also many African Americans there that were interested in the subject of the folk stories created in slavery, and inspired the artwork in the show.   I would definitely encourage others to visit the exhibit, especially college students interested in a free art experience that is conveniently located for those with a busy schedule.

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