Protégés: The Legacy of Dr. John Biggers as Viewed Through the Art Works of Thirteen Students

Featuring his students Charles Criner, Gerry Crossland, Karl E. Hall, Earlie Hudnall, Harvey Johnson, Earl S. Jones, Josie Mendoza Postel, Robert Meyers, Kermit Oliver, Elizabeth M. Shelton, Jesse Sifuentes, Charles L. Thomas, and Roy Thomas
January 19 - February 10, 2018


Opening Reception: Saturday, January 20th, 6-8:30pm

Artist Panel Discussion: Saturday, January 20th, 4:30-5:30pm

This exhibition will serve as a cursory look into thirteen artists who studied under the creative guidance of Dr. John Thomas Biggers (1924-2001), Master Artist, Educator, Author, and Mentor, who has been a major contributor to the evolution of American art and culture as well as the changing consciousness of the African American experience. Dr. Biggers came to Houston in 1949 after receiving his Bachelors, Masters, and Doctorate from Pennsylvania State University. Here, he worked hard to establish the Art Department for Texas Southern University, where “…all students may gain an appreciation of the cultural, historical and educational values of the arts; and where cultural awareness translates to the community.” Houston in the 1950s experienced an institutional lack of support for the arts and arts education, with African American and Hispanic arts facing the greatest marginalization. During his 34 years as an influential educator and champion of arts education in all its forms, Dr. Biggers nurtured generations of artists, and built a foundation for a steadily growing appreciation for these under-known artists; all the while building a significant body of work that made him a pioneer in the broader world of American art.

These thirteen artists lives, careers, and art have been affected by the support they received from their instructor whose mark is evident in the works on display. It is our hope that this will be the continuation of a renewal of interest and appreciation for the artistic legends living in our great city. Aside from TSU’s annual Alumni exhibition– which has given a public platform for these artists to introduce their work to the public; one recent and critical exhibition, On My Journey Now-The Legacy of John Biggers,  took place in Spring 2017. The exhibition was curated by Sally Reynolds for Arts Brookfield and was held at Two Allen Center. This was the first time Dr. Biggers Legacy was examined in a public space in Houston outside of TSU in decades. Several of his students from TSU were included in the curated show.

For twelve years, the idea for this exhibition has been percolating with a deep interest on the parts of both Gallerists at William Reaves | Sarah Foltz Fine Art. With this exhibition, we aim to narrow the focus of the lens on Texas Art, and to bring these selected artists together in a commercial venue. We are honored to facilitate these introductions to the public and to collectors of all genres.