Samek Art Museum Fall 2021 Exhibits: Exploring Culture, Identity, and Heritage Through Visual Art

Harley Marks, Contributing Writer

The Samek Art Museum, the University’s home for academic and experimental art, has just released their planned exhibits for the Fall 2021 semester. Ranging from abstract paintings to culturally-representative sculptures, Samek’s Fall exhibitions have the potential to inspire people of all backgrounds and interests. The art museum’s exhibitions are located in the main Campus Gallery on the top floor of the Elaine Langone Center, as well as the Downtown Gallery on 416 Market Street in Lewisburg. 

On August 24, Samek launched the Lineage collection by multi talented artist Vaughn Spann. Lineage is Spann’s first museum exhibition for his abstract paintings, in which he showcases themes such as race, politics and popular culture through his art. These heavy topics are presented in a fresh way, as they are constructed with vibrant mediums and innovative materials. Spann has expressed that he doesn’t want to limit himself to one artistic style due to the many creative approaches and tools that exploring his heritage through artwork requires. Anyone interested in Black identity, the role of aesthetics in art, personal and collective memory or political history will thoroughly enjoy Spann’s collection and will be able to engage with said topics in an exciting and eye-opening manner. This exhibition will be open until December 5 and is located in the Campus Gallery. 

In a somewhat related style, the Samek’s second exhibition of the season titled Tổ Tiên by artist Howard Tran investigates the journey of immigration through his lens of being a Chinese – Vietnamese American immigrant. Tran’s family immigrated from China to Vietnam during WWII and again when he was a young teen from Vietnam to America. Rooted in his experience and past, Tran’s artwork to be culturally rich and historically informative. By using materials that pay homage to Asian culture such as rice and burlap and incorporating structural elements that depict Western artistic styles, Tran’s work is a profound commentary on multi-cultural connection. It is through his sculptures that Tran emphasizes our connection as one global community, even when we are seemingly separated by oceans and generations.” This exhibition will be open until October 10 and is located in the Downtown Gallery.

In addition to these art exhibitions, Samek will also be hosting a myriad of events this Fall. These events include Identity: Stories That Shape Us presented by Stories on Tap. Located on the top floor of the ELC, this event includes live storytelling from students, faculty, staff and the Susquehanna Valley community regarding the role of identity in our everyday lives. This storytelling event is hosted by Monica Prince; viewers can expect to hear personal stories relating to themes such as race identity, gender identity, sexual orientation, heritage, and many more. Hearing speakers of many diverse backgrounds discuss their experiences will provide attendees with an incredible opportunity to expand their understanding of social belonging. Identity: Stories That Shape Us will take place on Thursday, November 4 at 6:30 p.m. Lastly, in support of Selinsgrove Brewing, Samek will be hosting an all-time favorite event, Art in Bars. This event brings beer-tasting and artwork together to spark a lively dialogue about various topics in art, all while being approachable for the masses. Join Art in Bars on ​​Tuesday, November 30 at 7 p.m. on 121 N Market St, Selinsgrove, PA 17870. Tickets are only $10 at the door and cover the cost of your beer tasting. 

If you ever feel inclined to explore personal topics in an artistic and visually stimulating way, take a trip to the Samek Art Museum this semester!

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