New IAC exhibit opens Friday featuring photography of Selma native Jerry Siegel; artist’s reception set for Jan. 26

Barrettes is one of the photos that will appear in the exhibit

Barrettes is one of the photos that will appear in the exhibit "The Promise of Living/The Tender Land" by Jerry Siegel, opening Jan. 20 at the IAC.

A photography exhibit by Selma native Jerry Siegel, will open at Troy University’s International Arts Center on Friday, Jan. 20.

The exhibit, “The Promise of Living/The Tender Land,” combines portraiture of Southern artists and residents of Alabama’s Black Belt with Siegel’s street and landscape photography. An artist’s reception will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Jan. 26 where guests can meet Siegel, admire his work and enjoy refreshments.

The exhibit’s title come from an opera written by Aaron Copeland upon seeing Alabama during the Great Depression through the book “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men” by Walker Evans and James Agee.

Jerry Siegel’s self portrait on Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge

“Siegel’s exhibition opens the door for conversation in our community for a wide range of subjects involving influential Southern artists, as well as the Alabama rural landscape,” said Carrie Jaxon, Director and Curator of the International Arts Center. “As Siegel’s photos reflect a commonplace rural southern environment, visitors will leave with an extended awareness of the charm found in their own personal surroundings that might not have been noticed before. Visitors and participants will also be able to learn more about the dynamic range of southern artists we have in our region.”

Paul Barrett, the curator of the exhibition, has worked extensively with Siegel, as well as numerous other highly reputable artists of the region. Barrett will be producing a free publication as a result of “The Promise of Living/The Tender Land” tour and associated activities.

Barrett said Siegel demonstrates great sympathy for his subjects with his ongoing series of color photographs serving as “an understated love letter to the artist’s rural upbringing.”

In addition to the artist’s reception, other events related to the exhibit are planned for February.

A free, in-person and online conversation with Richard McCabe, photography curator for the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, will take place from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Feb. 23. Visitors can attend the panel discussion in-person at the International Arts Center or watch it on the IAC Facebook page. Refreshments will be served at the in-person event.

The February ArtSPARK session, set for 9 to 11 a.m. on Feb. 25, will offer an art workshop for children based on Siegel’s exhibition. The children will also be able to participate in story and snack time, an art scavenger hunt and outdoor activities.

This exhibition and associated programs are funded, in part, by a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, along with Alabama Humanities Alliance, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.