The Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art has an ongoing exhibit that celebrates an African American artist from Kansas.
The museum is highlighting the Gordon Parks: Homeward to the Prairie I Come in cooperation with Black History Month. Museum Curator Aileen June Wang says Parks grew up in segregated Fort Scott until he was 15.
Parks’ artistic endeavors expanded into other mediums such as poetry and films. Parks directed the cult classic Blacksploitation film series Shaft, and was the first Hollywood produced black director of the film The Learning Tree. Wang says while Parks made New York his home, Kansas would always be where he came from.
Gordon Parks: Homeward to the Prairie I Come, has been on display since September and will continue till May. Parks has had many artistic endeavors, but the exhibit focuses on the 128 photos he donated to K-State.
Wang, says this was the first time in Parks career where he donated photos to a public institution. The title of the exhibit comes from the first line of his poem, which appeared in a 1984 insert published by the Manhattan Mercury. The insert is also on display at the museum.
A Manhattan photographer also has an exhibition at the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art.
Doug Barrett: Find Your Voice has three different series; Homeless Veteran Project, George Floyd Protest, and Yuma Street. For the Yuma Street series, Wang says Barrett’s motivation comes from the viewpoint of being a transplant from Georgia.
Wang says Barrett wanted to tell the stories of those long time residents in a historically black neighborhood and debunk the myth. Each photo in the series includes the interview conducted with each resident. The Homeless Veteran Project is close to Barrett since he has a military background.
The Find Your Voice exhibit is a partner exhibition with the Gordon Parks exhibit, as Wang says Barrett was inspired by Parks. Both exhibits can be seen in person at the museum, the full exhibit can also be viewed virtually on the museum’s website.
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