News & Events

October 8, 2019

It all started with a promise. “He asked me would I marry him,” Margaret Rogers Dennis recounted years later of Reverend Herman Dan Dennis’s proposal to her in 1984. “I wasn’t exactly sure. But he said, ‘If you’ll marry me, I’ll turn your little old brown plank store into a palace.’” The reverend kept his promise. He turned the old run-of-the-mill grocery store that Margaret ran with her first husband, who was tragically killed in a robbery at the store, into a colorful mecca where “ALL IS WELCOME JEWS AND GENTILES.” Multiple towers made of cinder blocks painted red, blue, pink, and yellow decorate the property, and the main building itself — the grocery — is similarly painted in multicolored squares and rectangles. Many liken the overall effect of these geometric blocks of color to a religious “Lego fortress,” but it is also reminiscent of Mondrian’s distinctive color blocking—had he ever projected his patterns over an entire property rather than a single canvas, that is.

July 29, 2019

Thornton Dial Sr. (1928-2016), made symbolic mixed-media paintings and sculptural assemblage works with profound titles. “The Last Day of Martin Luther King” (1992), references the civil rights leader’s assassination, a moment of national tragedy, sadness, and mourning, and an inflection point in American race relations. “High and Wide (Carrying the Rats to the Man)” (2002) depicts a slave ship in troubled waters. “The Old Water” (2004) raises issues of equal opportunity and government accountability. All three works by Dial, who was born, lived, worked and died in Alabama, are on view in “Souls Grown Deep: Artists of the African American South.” The exhibition features 24 works by African American artists from the southeastern United States, spanning generations, expressing themselves through variety of mediums.

June 25, 2019

The foundation that holds one of the largest collections of art by African American artists in the U.S. south will invest its assets in the communities where those artists lived and worked. The Souls Grown Deep Foundation is committing $1 million over three years – the bulk of its endowment – to support racial and social justice as well as jobs and community development in nine southern states. The impact investing strategy was developed in partnership with Upstart Co-Lab, a network of investors in “the creative economy,” as a way to share some of the growing value of Souls Grown Deep’s collection with the families and communities of the 160 artists who created the more than 1,000 works.