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2011 Exhibits  







A New Vision for the Arts

February 6 – May 28, 2011

A new paradigm for envisioning broader participation and more open inclusion of the visual arts has been set into place by the broadening of the public landscape by the election of America’s 44th president, Barack Obama. For artists, arts promoters and public viewers, this historic period provides new opportunities to connect visual arts by African Americans with mainstream America, and to encouraged integrative thinking in arts across all genres. The theme "A New Vision for the Arts," serves as the rubric for the King Tisdell Cottage’s visual arts exhibits for 2011 to realize the potential for change in the arts in powerful new, cutting edge presentations.


February 6 – May 28, 2011


Moses Train (Publication).jpg

Above: Moses Train, Oil on Canvas

Rik Freeman : The Chittlin Circuit Review


The “Chittlin’ Circuit Review,” is a series of paintings that Rik Freeman began in 1994, based on the origin and roots of “Blues” music.  The exhibit will feature 20 or more oil on canvas works.  While the focus of the series is the “Blues,” the underlying objective is to portray the reality of circumstances that birthed the musical genre, including but not limited to, socio-political and cultural aspects of the African American lifestyle in the Deep South, where the “Blues” was born. The overall content of this series has a high level of artistic quality combined with scholarship of African American and American culture and history during this pivotal time frame in the country’s history.  *Chittlin’ Circuit is a colloquial term used to define the venues and routes, primarily in the Eastern and Southeastern U.S., where performers of African descent were able to travel and perform under Jim Crow segregation.  The term “chittlin' circuit” is derived from a popular item which appears on many Southern soul food menus: chitterlings.

Artist Statement

As a child in Athens, GA, and even now I have always liked a good story, but a story based on reality. Either read or heard I’ve always been able to visualize these stories. I would “overhear” grown folks conversations and feel their emotions, read a book, listen to music, and there’s a movie going on in my head. This fueled my artistic style as a narrative painter, a storyteller, a Griot with a paintbrush.


“The Chittlin Circuit Review” is a series based on “Blues Music”, and the Blues is based on life’s stories. These paintings are my visual interpretation of the early history of the Blues, with my underlying objective being to portray the reality of the social and political circumstances of African Americans in the Deep South, the land and people that birthed and nurtured this music and culture. To show the links of heritage from African call in response songs, to the slave, field, and work “hollas”, gospel influences, and even to the music of today. The Blues is the bridge between all this and more, and the more I’ve worked on this series the more I have realized it’s not just an artistic journey, but an anthropological study on a segment of American history.


 While this series is based on factual times, events, and conditions, the paintings revolve around fictional characters, principally “ Mud Paw Willie and the Dawg Gon Blues Band”. It is through them we experience life in, around, and on the Chittlin Circuit, (even before it was known as such) and how the music and culture of a rural agrarian people migrated up the Mississippi River, and on train tracks throughout America to the more urban industrialized cities and factories of the north, mid-west, and the growing west.  In realizing these stories I paint of the Blues, I humbly and respectfully realize I paint stories of the Diaspora, of culture, and of history.

Opening Reception and Artist Talk:

Sunday, February 6th - 3:00 - 5:00pm















The work of folk artist Ulysses Davis is always on display at the Beach Institute.

For more on this exhibit, click on "About Us," The Ulysses Davis Collection, above.




Funding for this exhibit is provided by the

City of Savannah:

Department of Cultural Affairs