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Artist Tarleton Blackwell invited to the White House

July 1, 2004

Tarlton BlackwellUNC Pembroke Art Professor Tarleton Blackwell was invited to the White House on May 17 as the guest of First Lady Laura Bush to be honored for his participation in the Art in Embassies program.

It is the 40th anniversary of the program, and Blackwell, the Martha Beach Endowed Chair in Art at UNCP, was also the guest of Secretary of State Colin Powell at a State Department reception.

President George W. Bush praised the program for spreading American ideals and values around the globe.

"This outstanding program places the art of hundreds of American artists into our embassies around the world," President Bush said. "These works communicate the values and diversity of the people of the United States, as well as the aspirations and hope common to all people."

U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Howard Franklin Jeter requested Blackwell's life-size group portrait, entitled "The Unity Series II: Sisterhood." It is a large oil-on-canvas painting that was displayed in the ambassador's residence in Lagos, Nigeria from 2001-03.

"Unity Series II" represents young girls dressed in costumes symbolizing four Pan Hellenic sororities in the setting of the historic Mann-Simons Cottage Museum of African-American Culture in Columbia, S.C.

This summer Prof. Blackwell's works were on display at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta and on a national tour, entitled "Thinking with Blood: Conflict and Culture in the American South." The exhibition was in Asheville, N.C., for three month ending June 20.

The exhibition encompasses three decades of contemporary American art that explores issues of identity, racism and Southern stereotypes. The tour will be in New York City at the Dorsky Gallery, July 5 through August 30.

A Manning, S.C., native, Blackwell joined the faculty at UNCP in 2003 and teaches painting.