“I feel a kinship with the ancient architects of the past. I relate to ancient forms, images, and monuments. There is a heightened tension that arises from a conscious and critical relationship to the past. This has enabled my art to be viable as social commentary on the present”. - Jean Lacy
Jean Lacy was born Laura Jean Wells in 1932 in Washington, D.C. and grew up near the campus of Howard University. Ms. Lacy was introduced at an early age to the philosophical thought and writings of Alain Locke, W.E.B. Du Bois and other African-American intellectuals. She received her BA in Art Education from Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and continued her studies at the Art Students League, New York City, 1956-1957, and Otis Art Institute, Los Angeles, 1958.
As Director of the African-American Cultural Heritage Center for the Dallas Independent School District, 1977-1988, Ms. Lacy developed a number of educational programs aimed at emphasizing cultural enrichment through student study of art, artifacts, and memorabilia related to African-American history. Her art is enriched with the imagery and collective spirit of all people of African decent. Ms. Lacy incorporates mixed media paintings, sculptures and printmaking to visually elucidate the recurring themes of urban African American life and experience. Throughout her career, her artwork has been an expression of love for urban life and the myriad people in the African Diaspora. By aligning images of African antiquity with modern images of urban life, she illustrates a universal connection between people of African decent.
Rosalyn M. Story is a freelance journalist whose articles have appeared in the Dallas Morning News, the Dallas Observer, Emerge and Essence magazine. She is the author of “And so I Sing: African-American Divas of Opera and Concert” as well as an accomplished violinist with the Fort Worth Orchestra and the Dallas Opera. The article included here is taken from the December/January 1994 issue of Emerge magazine entitled, “A Ministry of African Heritage: Seeing the Bible, art and Afrocentrism through stained glass windows”.
Dr. Alvia Wardlaw, Curator of 20th Century Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and Director, University Museum, Texas Southern University, has organized a number of exhibitions on African and African-American art including Black Art: Ancestral Legacy and Our New Day Begun. She is the author of The Art of John Biggers: View from the Upper Room as well as co-author for Black Art: Ancestral Legacy: The African Impulse in African-American Art. The article included here is taken from the December/January 1994 issue of American Visions magazine entitled, “Call and Response: The Art of Jean Lacy”.
A native New Yorker, Julie Levin Caro is a Ph.D. candiate in Art History at the University of Texas at Austin, Specializing in 20th Century American art as well as African American art and culture. Ms. Caro met Jean Lacy in 1991 while working as the Program Coordinator for the Family Education Wing at the Dallas Museum of Art. The excerpt included here is drawn from Ms. Caro's Masters thesis entitled “Forging a Vision of African American History, Culture and Identity in the Church Setting: Jean Lacy's Stained Glass Window Designs for the St. Luke “Community” United Methodist Church”.
Dr. Robert Farris Thompson, Professor of Art History at Yale University, has published important works in the field of African and African-American art including Flash of the Spirit: African and Afro-American Art and Philosophy, 1984, Four Moments of the Sun: Kongo Art in Two Worlds, African Art in Motion, and Black Gods and Kings. The excerpt included here is taken from Thompson's contribution to Black Art Ancestral Legacy: The African Impulse in African American Art entitled “The Song That Named the Land, The Visionary Presence of African-American Art,
Coda: The Art of Jean Lacy”.
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