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MICA's Unity Week 2009 Features African-American Artist Renee Cox

Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration (Jan. 19-23) Includes Day of Service, Presidential Inauguration Viewing, Hunger Banquet, Exhibition and Silent Auction, and Awards Ceremony

Posted 12.31.08 by MICA Media Relations

Renee Cox portrait

BALTIMORE - Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) welcomes internationally recognized photographer and mixed media artist Renee Cox, one of the most controversial and thought-provoking African-American artists working today, as the keynote speaker of the College's Unity Week 2009: Create the Dream celebration, which takes place Monday, Jan. 19-Friday, Jan. 23, 2009.

MICA's Unity Week was established in 2008 to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This year, the weeklong celebration goes beyond honoring the man, and strives to honor his ideals through expanded programming that explores themes of social justice, equality, diversity, and cultural representation. It is coordinated by the College's new Office of Diversity & Intercultural Development and co-sponsored by the Office of Alumni Relations.

"This week's Unity Week Committee featured representatives from a range of campus constituencies to better reflect the diversity of interests and perspectives of the MICA community," said Clyde Johnson, MICA's Assistant Dean of Diversity & Intercultural Development. "Incorporating this diversity drove the programming for the celebration - each day's event developed by a different department or academic area."

The celebration begins Monday, Jan. 19 with a community service project. Students, faculty, and staff will fan out across Baltimore to volunteer with local charitable organizations, including St. Elizabeth Rehabilitation and Nursing Center and Parks & People. At noon on Tuesday, Jan. 20, the MICA community will gather in the College's BBOX performance space in the new Gateway building to watch the historic inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama. Participants in the Hunger Banquet on Wednesday, Jan. 21 at 6 p.m. in BBOX will experience what it means to partake of a meal in an impoverished community, a middle class community, and a wealthy community. A small monetary donation or canned goods will be accepted to benefit hunger relief efforts.

Beginning Monday, Jan. 19 and continuing through Saturday, Jan. 24, visitors to MICA's Rosenberg Gallery can bid on artwork featured in Create the Dream, an exhibition of paintings, photography, prints, and fiber arts made by MICA students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Participating artists include Silja Lahtinen '86, Paul Mintz '53, Kevin Ryan '80, and MICA photography faculty Colette Veasey-Cullors '96. A reception takes place Thursday, Jan. 22 from 6-8 p.m. in the gallery, located in Brown Center, 1301 Mount Royal Ave. Proceeds from the silent auction benefit Bea Gaddy Foundation and Oxfam America.

MICA President Fred Lazarus and the Office of Diversity & Intercultural Development invite the MICA community and the general public for a Unity Celebration to honor Dr. King and others who have been trailblazers and champions for social justice and equality on Friday, Jan. 23 at 3:30 p.m. in Falvey Hall of Brown Center, 1301 Mount Royal Ave. President Lazarus will present three new Unity Week awards that recognize members of the MICA community who have contributed to social justice initiatives through their humanitarian work or whose artwork captures the significance of the movement.

Renee Cox, Friday's keynote speaker, has used her own image and body to celebrate black womanhood and criticize a society she often views as racist and sexist. From the very beginning, her work showed a deep concern for social issues and employed religious imagery. One of Cox's most controversial photographic series, Flipping the Script, reinterpreted a number of European religious masterpieces with contemporary black figures. Yo Mama's Last Supper, a series photograph exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, angered some Roman Catholics and then-New York City Mayor Rudolph Guiliani.

For more information, call 410-225-2300.

Founded in 1826, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is the oldest continuously degree-granting college of art and design in the nation. The College enrolls nearly 3,500 undergraduate, graduate and continuing studies students from 49 states and 52 countries in fine arts, design, electronic media, art education, liberal arts, and professional studies degree and non-credit programs. With art and design programs ranked in the top ten by U.S. News and World Report, MICA is pioneering interdisciplinary approaches to innovation, research, and community and social engagement. Alumni and programming reach around the globe, even as MICA remains a cultural cornerstone in the Baltimore/Washington region, hosting hundreds of exhibitions and events annually by students, faculty and other established artists.


Monday, Jan. 19

Day of Service (MICA community only)

Tuesday, Jan. 20, noon

Inauguration of President-Elect Barack Obama (MICA community only)

Wednesday, Jan. 21, 6 p.m.

Hunger Banquet; BBOX, the Gateway, 1601 Mount Royal Ave.

Thursday, Jan. 22, 6-8 p.m.

Create the Dream Exhibition Reception and Silent Auction; Rosenberg Gallery, Brown Center, 1301 Mount Royal Ave.

Friday, Jan. 23, 3:30 p.m.

Unity Celebration featuring MICA President Fred Lazarus and keynote speaker Renee Cox; Falvey Hall, Brown Center, 1301 Mount Royal Ave.