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A Force for Change

A Force for Change

African American Art and the Julius Rosenwald Fund

February 8, 2009 to August 16, 2009
Spertus Institute

A Force for Change: African American Art and the Julius Rosenwald Fund was the first exhibition to explore the legacy of the Julius Rosenwald Fund created by the Chicago businessman and philanthropist to foster black leadership through the arts, literature, and scholarship. From 1928 to 1948, the Fund awarded stipends to hundreds of prominent and emerging African Americans artists, writers, and scholars across such disciplines as history, sociology, literature, and the visual and performing arts. A Force for Change presented the artistic and scholarly products of Julius Rosenwald’s support, and included more than sixty paintings, sculptures, and works on paper by twenty-two Rosenwald fellows, as well as a selection of documentary and archival materials.

Artists included Elizabeth Catlett, Aaron Douglas, Katherine Dunham, Jacob Lawrence, Gordon Parks, Rose Piper, Augusta Savage, Charles White, and Hale Woodruff, among others. This exhibit was organized for Spertus by guest curator Daniel Schulman, in collaboration with Spertus Senior Curator Staci Boris, and traveled to the Allentown Art Museum in Pennsylvania and the Montclair Art Museum in New Jersey following Spertus' presentation.

In conjunction with the exhibit, a fully illustrated 175-page catalogue was co-published by Spertus and Northwestern University Press. Authors include Peter M. Ascoli, Kinshasha Holman Conwill, Julia L. Foulkes, Alfred Perkins, Darryl Pinckney, and guest curator Daniel Schulman. Available at the Spertus Shop $39.95.

A Force for Change: African American Art and the Julius Rosenwald Fund was made possible by a generous grant from the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Major support for this project also provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Righteous Persons Foundation, The Judith Rothschild Foundation, and Shaun and Andrew Block.