UMUC Unveils Artistic and Educational Exploration of the Underground Railroad

UMUC will host an art exhibit, scholarly symposium and virtual tour that will feature more than 50 works by renowned artist Joseph Holston.

By Kerry O'Neill ( |   October 16, 2008

ADELPHI, Md. (Oct 16, 2008) – UMUC announced a premier exhibition by renowned Maryland artist Joseph Holston, a cubist abstractionist, showcasing more than 50 original paintings, drawings and etchings that compose his visual narrative Color in Freedom: Journey Along the Underground Railroad. In conjunction with the exhibition, UMUC will also host an educational symposium and gallery tour with the artist that examines the historical context, visual presentation, and cultural and social significance of Holston’s provocative images. A virtual tour of the exhibition, produced by UMUC, will also be unveiled during the opening reception on Sunday, November 2, 2008, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., in the Arts Program Gallery at the UMUC Inn and Conference Center.

Holston created Color in Freedom: Journey Along the Underground Railroad to capture the essence of courage and determination required by the millions who lived in slavery as well as those who pursued the quest for freedom. Holston researched and created this remarkable collection over a two-year period with the goal of both inspiring and educating those who view the exhibit. The exhibit portrays four stages of slavery and escape, which Holston has titled The Unknown World, Living in Bondage—Life on the Plantation, Journey of Escape, and Color in Freedom.

In conjunction with the exhibit, a scholarly symposium on the Underground Railroad will be held on Saturday, November 1, 2008, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. This daylong event will include an examination of the historical context and cultural and social significance of Holston’s provocative images. The symposium will culminate with a reception and gallery walk, offering participants the chance to meet the artist and experience Holston’s work.

The virtual tour, which will be accessible both online and on CD, will allow visitors to view a full-color image of each piece on display in the Color in Freedom exhibit, each accompanied by a descriptive narrative of the work and Holston’s vision.

The exhibit, tour and symposium are cosponsored by the David C. Driskell Center for the Study of the Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Times and dates for the scheduled events:

Educational Symposium: Saturday, November 1, 2008, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Opening Reception: Sunday, November 2, 2008, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Exhibit Dates: November 2-March 1, 2009, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. (daily)

The cost to attend the symposium is: $100 for adults, $40 for students, and $75 for UMUC and UMCP faculty. Registration fee covers conference, breakfast and lunch, parking and admission to the evening reception.

Distinguished speakers scheduled to appear during the symposium include:

John E. Fleming, PhD (Author of “America I Am - The African American Imprint”)
Cheryl LaRoche, PhD (Georgetown University)
Cassandra Newby-Alexander, PhD (Norfolk State University)
Barbara Stephanic, PhD (College of Southern Maryland)
Richard J. M. Blackett, PhD (Vanderbilt University)

For more information about the opening reception, educational symposium, virtual tour and integrated lesson plans, please visit or call 301-985-7937.