Upcoming events enable participants to engage with International Arts Center’s latest exhibit

The IAC will host a panel discussion relating its latest photography exhibit,

The IAC will host a panel discussion relating its latest photography exhibit, "The Promise of Living, The Tender Land" on Feb. 23 at 11 a.m.

Troy University’s International Arts Center will offer two free events later this month that will allow participants to engage with its most recent exhibit, “The Promise of Living/The Tender Land,” by photographer Jerry Siegel.

The exhibition, which will be available for viewing until April 2, is curated by Paul Barrett and combines Siegel’s portraiture of Southern artists and residents of Alabama’s Black Belt with the Selma native’s street and landscape photography. The exhibit and related activities are made possible through grants from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and Alabama Humanities Alliance.

The IAC will host a public panel discussion from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 23, featuring Siegel and Richard McCabe, photography curator at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. The conversation will be moderated by Paul Barrett, curator of the exhibit, and will be open to the public to attend in-person and also available live on the IAC’s Facebook page.

The program will focus on Siegel’s photography series featuring photos of Southern artists from his monograph “Facing South” alongside street and landscape photography from his monograph “Black Belt Color.” The two will examine how Siegel’s work reflects the Southern Gothic tradition exemplified by artists from Clarence John Laughlin, Eudora Welty, and Kathryn Tucker Windham to contemporaries Deborah Luster and Sally Mann, as well as to authors such as William Faulkner and Harper Lee. The discussion will also provide context on how Walker Evans and Arthur Rothstein’s photography of rural Alabama for the Farm Security Administration during the Great Depression brought this devastating time in Alabama to light before the age of the internet, and how Siegel’s point of view is conveyed through his ongoing photography practice. The talk will take place in the foyer of the International Arts Center. Refreshments will be served.

ArtSPARK participants pose with mascot Sparky during a recent event at the International Arts Center.

On Saturday, Feb. 25, local families with elementary-aged children are invited to attend the IAC’s in-person ArtSPARK event from 9 to 11 a.m. Families will participate in an art activity with Andrea Pack, inspired by Siegel’s photographic works.

At 10 a.m., special guest six-year-old Raelyn Comstock will read the group one of her three published children’s books, along with snack time.

Children will also enjoy an indoor art scavenger hunt based on the current exhibition and outdoor activities, weather permitting. There will be special mascot Sparky merchandise given to participants at the event as supplies last.

“We are thrilled to engage with our community through a wide range of public activities at the International Arts Center,” said Carrie Jaxon, the center’s director. “It’s important to our mission to reach visitors of all ages with free, exciting programs and activities, encouraging our community to participate in and enjoy the many forms of art offered here at Troy University.”

ArtSPARK is a free family art experience program provided by the IAC, which has been made possible by grants from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment of the Arts, a federal agency.

The exhibit is free for viewing until April 2 during IAC operating hours, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m.