Monumental Decisions: Art, Politics & Social Responsibility @ Rothko Chapel, Houston [15 January]

Monumental Decisions: Art, Politics & Social Responsibility

19:00 - 21:00

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Rothko Chapel
3900 Yupon St, Houston, Texas 77006
**Please note pre-registration has filled. Walkups are welcome, however priority is given to pre-registered guests on a first-come, first served basis for seating.

**Doors open 30 minutes before the program begins. Unclaimed seats will be released to walkups 15 minutes before the program begins. Weather pending, a live audio feed of the program will be streamed outside on the plaza.

Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration
Monumental Decisions: Art, Politics, and Social Responsibility

Conversation with artist Ed Dwight, Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis, and Texas Southern University Art Historian and Curator Dr. Alvia Wardlaw, moderated by ABC13 Houston news anchor ABC13-Melanie Lawson.

In honor of the life and work of the Rev. Dr. King, the Chapel will hold a lecture and conversation exploring the power of symbols in our society today.

Symbols hold power in our society. Flags, monuments, memorials…what story do they tell? Whose story do they tell? What is our collective responsibility to ensure that public space is available for all people, and how do we shape the narrative of the landmarks placed in the public sphere?

In the past two years, a critical narrative around public monuments’ histories and intentions has garnered national attention. Before June 2015, there were more than 700 confederate monuments in public places around the nation. Many of these pieces were purchased in part with public funds, yet their selection and placement were decided by a select group of people. These symbols communicated a narrow history and were used to promote racial division and elevate white supremacy. Since 2017, over 42 of these statues and plaques have been removed.

In contrast, when sculptor Ed Dwight began making public art in the 1970s, he travelled around the country and observed few monuments chronicling the history of African Americans. Over the past forty years he has created 128 monuments, memorials & public art installations around the U.S. depicting the contributions of African Americans to America’s landscape.

Join as Ed Dwight shares his journey beginning as an Air Force Test Pilot and America’s First African American Astronaut Candidate to a proficient public artist. Following his address, Dwight will engage in conversation with Harris County Commissioner for Precinct One Rodney Ellis and Texas Southern University Art Historian and Curator Dr. Alvia Wardlaw, moderated by ABC13's news anchor Melanie Lawson to explore the artistic, historical and political realities of monuments in this country, discussing the fine lines between chronicling and sharing history, preserving works of art, and creating a space that promotes justice and peace for all people.
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