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Press Release

MICA Celebrates Eyewinkers, Tumbleturds, and Candlebugs: The Art of Elizabeth Talford Scott in Upcoming Exhibition

The Maryland Institute College of Art will present the first retrospective ever of the artistic career of acclaimed Baltimore-based artist Elizabeth Talford Scott in Eyewinkers, Tumbleturds, and Candlebugs: The Art of Elizabeth Talford Scott, and exhibition featuring the artworks and quilts of the 82 year old artist, January 15, 1998 through March 1, 1998. The exhibition will be presented in the Meyerhoff Gallery, Fox Building, and Decker Gallery.

Elizabeth Talford Scott was born in 1916 near Chester, South Carolina on land her family worked as sharecroppers and where previously her grandparents had lived as slaves. At nine, Scott's mother taught her the art of quiltmaking. Settling in Baltimore in the early 1940s, her time for quilting was limited due to the raising of her family and her work as a domestic, caterer, and caretaker. It was not until the 1970s, after retirement, that she developed a new style of quilting. Utilizing stones, buttons, shells, bones, and other unexpected materials, Scott's creations broke free of the traditional concept of quiltmaking and helped to bridge the gap between "high" and "low" art. During the last twenty years, Ms. Scott has exhibited in conjunction with her daughter, Joyce Scott, a mixed media performance artist. Exhibitions include the Studio Museum of Harlem, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution and numerous galleries between New York, NY and Washington, DC.

"African-American artistry is now recognized as part of a critical voice in the larger definition of what consstitutes an American cultural and artistic legacy," says George Cicscle, the guest curator for the exhibition. "This exhibition allows for Elizabeth Scott to be seen not only as a master artist but as a scholar and keeper of the oral and visual traditions of an ethnic group which was historically believed to have made no substantive contribution to the cultural fabric of this country and the complex diversities of its makeup."

Several events are planned in conjunction with Eyewinkers, Tumbleturds, and Candlebugs including:

  • Senior Programs. MICA will work with Baltimore City's Arts and Aging Program, which provide art classes to senior adults, in conducting a quilting program for seniors. The quilts made during these workshops will be exhibited at the Maryland Historical Society galleries, simultaneously with the Elizabeth Scott exhibition at MICA.
  • Young People Programs. George Ciscle, guest curator, and a group of MICA students will develop a quilting project for young people at two city recreation centers. Elizabeth Scott will visit with the children and talk to them about her life, her memories, and how they are expresssed in her work. The quilts produced will be exhibited at the Maryland Historical Society.
  • Lectures. There will also be a lecture series and a day long symposium, all addressing various aspects of quilting. African tradition and cultural re-invention, and African-American quilting traditions. Quilters rom Baltimore senior centers will work on site, demonstrating techniques, talking about their work and answering questions.

The funding for Eyewinkers, Tumbleturds, and Candlebugs: The Art of Elizabeth Talford Scott and its related events is provided in part by AT&T and The Richard A. Florsheim Art Foundation.

The Maryland Institute College of Art, the oldest fully accredited four-year, degree granting college of art in the nation, is acknowledged by US News and World Report as among the top art colleges in the country. In addition to its academic standing, it is recognized throughout the region as a cultrual resource sponsoring many public and community outreach programs, including its exhibition program, artists residencies, film series, lectures, and literacy and poetry readings. It is only major visual arts institution in Baltimore where all exhibitions are open to the public and are free of charge.