Gallery Exhibition Policy and Submission Form  


Misty Bennett: Candy Crush
February 2 - March 29
Central Library 1st Floor Gallery

Misty Bennett Candy Crush Feb. 2-Mar. 29, 2024

Misty Bennett: Candy Crush features vibrant oil paintings that express Bennett's perspective on both the surplus and scarcity of food in American society. Her abstract imagery is inspired by the expressive power of color and texture, which she uses to explore the notion of food as a metaphor for our psychological and emotional states of being.

Bennett teaches at the University of Montevallo. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting from the Savannah College of Art and Design and a Master of Fine Arts in Drawing and Painting from the University of Georgia.

Her work has been exhibited across the Southeast, most recently at the Alabama State Council for the Arts Gallery in Montgomery, the Red Clay Survey at the Huntsville Museum of Art, Lowe Mill in Huntsville, and the Tennessee Valley Art Museum. It is also featured in collections at the Carmichael Library, the Alabama State Council on the Arts, the College of Osteopathic Medicine in Dothan, Alabama, and the President’s Collection at the University of Georgia.

Artist's Statement: "Candy Crush is an exhibition of my recent oil paintings, which are abstractions based on imagery that comes from an everyday aspect of my life. Food is the perfect vehicle through which to express my complex feelings around our culture, as both overconsumption and under-consumption are issues our society struggles with. Food, to me, is a way to get into the whole mess of who we are. I use food imagery as inspiration and then let my imagination go where it wants to. I change the colors of the foods which inspire my paintings to take away their original intent and invite the viewer to think about them in broader terms as symbols rather than specific ingredients.

The bright colors reference the intensity of feelings that can accompany eating. Mark-making, pattern, and texture play a large role in my process, and I find them to be endlessly enjoyable. I use these elements along with appealing saturated colors to create images that are both attractive and then secondarily somewhat repulsive. For me, this is the essence of our relationship with food, seen through the lens of our American culture. There is desire, and a sense of attraction, playfulness, and some surrealism, and these coexist with a bit of darkness and a gentle warning about the price of excess."

See more of Misty Bennett's work on Instagram @misty_bennett_painter. Artwork in this exhibition is available for purchase, and the artist receives 100% of each sale. For sales information, contact the artist at BennettMJ@montevallo.edu.

This exhibition was made possible by a grant from the Alabama State Council on the Arts. The grant was awarded to the BPL Friends Foundation to benefit the library.

Stacey Holloway: Othernesses
February 2 - March 29
Central Library 1st Floor Lobby Display Windows

Stacey Holloway: Othernesses

Stacey Holloway: Othernesses features intriguing animal sculptures and other creations by artist Stacey Holloway. Holloway is an active national mixed media artist, sculptor, and fabricator who works within a variety of media, including drawing, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, and interactivity. Through the exploration of storytelling and ethology, she creates work that communicates a universal societal connectivity.

Holloway received her MFA from the University of Minnesota in 2009, her BFA from Herron School of Art and Design/IUPUI in 2006, and has been living and working in Birmingham, Alabama since 2013. She currently serves as the Associate Professor of Sculpture at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Holloway has exhibited throughout the Midwest, South, and East Coast. She has received distinguished awards such as the 2021 Visual Arts Fellowship through the Alabama State Council on the Arts, the 2017 SECAC Artist's Fellowship, and the 2010 Efroymson Contemporary Arts Fellowship through the Central Indiana Community Foundation in Indianapolis.

Artist's Statement: "I am a visual storyteller. The form of the narrative has been used for centuries to entertain, to preserve culture and to instill morals. Stories can be used to bridge cultures, languages and age barriers. Similar to Aesop, my interests lie in the animal realm and by using specific animal attributes to explore how our formative processes make up who we might become, or who we are attempting to become. Animal forms, architectural drafting and installations become the place for metaphors and narratives of uncertainty and longing. "I'm often drawn to items that have a story to tell. My mixed media installations are created from a series of parts, collections and recycled objects that are appropriated and combined with traditional carving, woodworking, casting, and fabricated structures. Similar to Surrealist artists, my hyper-exaggerated constructions investigate the subconscious and the balance of instinct and ethics."

See more of Stacey Holloway's work at staceyholloway.com and on Instagram @hollowspace. Artwork in this exhibition is available for purchase, and the artist receives 100% of each sale. For sales information, contact the artist at stacey@staceyholloway.com.

This exhibition was made possible by a grant from the Alabama State Council on the Arts. The grant was awarded to the BPL Friends Foundation to benefit the library.

Voices Carry: A Group Show featuring Works by Local Women Artists

Studio by the Tracks: A Group Show of Works by SBTT's Autistic Artists

Rabbit Rabbit: Will Jacks' Photographic Work

Everything's Good: A Solo Show featuring Roscoe Hall

Winfred Hawkins: The Artist's First Solo Show in Birmingham

Needlepoint and Tapestries by Leanna Lesley

Roger Stephenson: Photographs of Blues Musicians and Vocalists

Helen Keller Art Show of Alabama

Past Exhibits


Assembly: Contemporary Gee's Bend Quilts
January 12 - February 24
Central Library 4th Floor Gallery

Gee's Bend - Quinnie Pettway - Traditional Blocks

Assembly: Contemporary Gee's Bend Quilts is kicking off the Birmingham Public Library's Art for Everyone program, a series of art exhibitions slated to take place at downtown’s Central Library this year. Assembly is currently on view in the Fourth Floor Gallery at the Central Library through the end of February.

For generations, women from the rural Black community of Boykin, Alabama (more commonly known as "Gee's Bend"), created critically acclaimed quilts from recycled work clothes and dresses, feed sacks, and fabric remnants. This exhibition features 30 quilts dating from 1975 to 2023 by 23 contemporary Gee's Bend artists who continue that tradition.

Featured Artists: Loretta Pettway Bennett, Priscilla Hudson, Marlene Bennett Jones, Lue Ida McCloud, Polly Mooney Middleton, Sally Pettway Mixon, Cathy Mooney, Doris Pettway Mosely, Caster Pettway, Edwina Pettway, Emma Mooney Pettway, Katie Mae Pettway, Loraine Pettway, Mary Margaret Pettway, Mensie L. Pettway, Quinnie Pettway, Stella Pettway, Tinnie Pettway, JoeAnn Pettway-West, Andrea Pettway Williams, Caroline Williams, Jemica Williams, and Sharon Pettway Williams.

This exhibition was made possible by a grant from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Event: Opening Reception: Saturday, February 3, 3-5 p.m.



Pat Snow: Selected Words & Images
November 3, 2023 - January 26, 2024
Central Library 1st Floor Lobby Gallery

Pat Snow - Vulcan & Everything is floating away

Snow's text-infused art uses humor and narrative to invoke real-life stories interwoven with personal and art historical references. Through his ink drawings, color photographs, paintings, and screen prints, Snow questions how one remembers and constructs a personal history. 

Artist Website: https://patsnow93.com/home.html


Civil Rights Displays and Exhibits
January - December
Central Library

Forging Justice BPL Event Flyer

For the entire year of 2023, the City of Birmingham - in partnership with area churches, arts organizations, activists, businesses and nonprofits - will honor the challenges, lessons and triumphs of the 1963 Birmingham civil and human rights movement. The 60th commemoration will include programs, events, workshops, and entertainment that will be open to the entire community. Birmingham Public Library will have a new exhibit each month to coincide with the city's monthly theme.


BPL's Displays and Exhibits Information

Forging Justice - Commeration of the Birmingham Civil Rights Movement 1963-2023

City of Birmingham Press Release: City of Birmingham to commemorate 60 years since the 1963 Birmingham campaign for civil and human rights


September 16 - October 14
Central Library 4th Floor Gallery


INK ONLY IV is a national biennial juried exhibition of contemporary printmaking, sponsored by PaperWorkers Local in partnership with the Birmingham Public Library. Please join us at the opening reception on Saturday, September 16, from 1:00 to 4:00, when the prize winners will be announced. This year's juror is Daniel White, museum director of the Paul R. Jones Museum and gallery director of the University of Alabama Gallery in Tuscaloosa. Work was submitted by 45 artists across the country.

Event: Opening Reception: September 16, 1-4 p.m.


Bib & Tucker Sew-Op: The March Quilts - a Celebration of Arts and Activism
May 6 - July 8
Central Library 1st Floor Gallery

Bib & Tucker Flyer with same text as the webpage

Started by Bib & Tucker Sew-Op in 2015, The March Quilts is a social justice quilting program that engages communities through sewing and conversation. To date, fifteen quilts have been created from over 1400 quilt squares, which were made by participants of open sewing sessions. In 2023, The March Quilts collection will celebrate it's ninth year.

Website: bibandtuckersewop.org.

Opening Reception: May 6, 1-3 p.m.
Closing Reception: July 8, 1-3 p.m.

Spider Martin - Selma to Montgomery March Photo Exhibit
February 3 - April 24
Central Library Grand Commons

Spider Martin Selma to Montgomery March photos

Spider Martin - Selma to Montgomery is on loan to the Birmingham Public Library though April 24, 2023, from ArtsRevive of Selma, Ala. The exhibit features historic photographs by James "Spider" Martin selected by Birmingham-based curator, Paul Barrett. The exhibition is sponsored by the Alabama Visual Arts Network.  

Read more about the Spider Martin and his photography.



Military Service: A History In Postcards
April 2 - June 5
Central Library Grand Reading Room

Military Service: A History in Postcards

The exhibit is drawn from an extensive collection of 26,000 postcards donated to Troy University by the late Dr. Wade H. Hall, a 1953 graduate of then-Troy State Teachers College.. The collection contains 1,500 historic postcards dating from 1903 to 1966, representing all military branches. Many of these have been incorporated in this traveling screen banner exhibit. There are also many samples of messages written on the backs of the cards, revealing the thoughts, concerns, and activities of the men and women who served. Altogether, there are 204 U.S. military camps, forts, and bases, and more than 180 U.S. cities represented in the collection.

The online portion of the exhibit is available now at https://troy.libguides.com/military.

The exhibit is made possible by a grant from the Alabama Humanities Foundation and the National Endowment For the Humanities.


Tired of Giving In: Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott
March 7 - April 1

Central Library Grand Reading Room

Tired of Giving In: Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott

Tired of Giving In: Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott is a traveling exhibit sponsored by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. It provides an overview of the life and activism of Rosa Parks and the success of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Each of the12 panels contains graphics, text content, and photographs related to Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott.


Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City
October 21 - December 30
Central Library Grand Reading Room

Evicted exhibit flyer

"Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City," a national traveling exhibition inspired by Matthew Desmond's Pulitzer Prize-winning book, brings visitors into the world of low-income renter eviction. The exhibition challenges visitors to face the enormity of one of 21st-century America’s most devastating problems, while providing context for the crisis and a call to action. 

The Central Library is hosting the full Evicted traveling exhibit. 

The tour is timely as evictions are in the national spotlight due to job losses related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The eviction moratorium that was put in place by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) last year and extended several times by Congress, expired on July 31, 2021, after the U.S. Supreme Court put a stop to them.  

A report this week found the state of Alabama has given out just $23.3 million in rent assistance out of the $263 million in federal funds the state received to assist affected families as evictions resume across Alabama. The federal dollars are meant to pay rent and utilities of tenants facing financial hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, but some advocates, tenants and landlords have complained about delays in receiving the money. 

You can check out "Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City" at Jefferson County Library Cooperative (JCLC) member libraries, including the Birmingham Public Library.  

Evicted was at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. from April 14, 2018 through May 19, 2019. The touring exhibition has been redesigned for smaller venues and is on a tour to raise awareness. 

The National Building Museum worked with sociologist and author Matthew Desmond to create the exhibition based on his 2017 book Evicted, which won the Pulitzer Prize and was named by the New York Times as one of the best nonfiction books of the decade.

The Alabama Center for Architecture (ACFA) curated a companion piece to the Evicted exhibit focused on eviction, housing, and poverty in Alabama and its four largest metropolitan areas – Birmingham, Montgomery, Huntsville and Mobile. 

The Alabama Center for Architecture is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that seeks to advance the enjoyment of architecture, design and construction through engagement, education, and collaboration. The organization educates individuals and community leaders about the power of architecture and how it improves lives and transforms the places where we live.

 ACFA released a statement about the Evicted exhibition coming to the Central Library on its website: "For more than a year, ACFA and partners organizations have been working towards a common goal: education and awareness about the housing crisis facing our nation. We believe that with our combined resources and statewide programming, the AEC industry can help find solutions."

The ACFA  Evicted exhibit will visualize the state of housing and poverty in these communities, and highlight organizations working to improve housing for families across Alabama. For more information, visit www.alcfa.org/event/national-building-museums-evicted-exhibit/.

Opening Night Reception
Join us for an opening night reception on Thursday, October 21, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Free, but registration in advance is required



Polk Exhibit
December 2 - December 30, 2019
Springville Road Regional Branch Library

Polk Exhibit

The Polk Exhibit, a series of photographs featuring the work of renowned black photographer P.H. Polk, is now on display at the Springville Road Regional Branch Library.

The exhibit spotlighting Polk, considered one of the most influential black photographers of all time, provides a visual glimpse of 20th-century life on the Tuskegee University campus and surrounding community. Dana Chandler, archivist at Tuskegee University, said much of Polk's work was centered around what was then known as Tuskegee Institute, and celebrated family life, national and local elite individuals, and specific events occurring on campus. The exhibit, available for public viewing through December 30, 2019, is being sponsored by the Alabama Bicentennial Commission and the Southern Literary Trail.

Artist Info: New Polk exhibit focuses on never-before-seen photos of university history


The Less Things Change: Charles Brooks and the Art of Alabama Politics
August 20 - September 13, 2019
Central Library, 4th Floor Gallery

Charles Brooks

the Birmingham Public Library revisits the work of longtime Birmingham News political cartoonist Charles Brooks. The exhibit, The Less Things Change: Charles Brooks and the Art of Alabama Politics, looks at Brooks' commentary on politics in his home state from the 1950s to the 1980s.

Visitors familiar with Alabama politics will experience a striking sense of deja vu when looking at the span of Charles Brooks' work. Cartoons that Brooks drew decades ago could run in an Alabama newspaper today and still be relevant. He was a strong advocate for a viable two-party system in the state, and frequently addressed issues such as the state's unfair tax structure and poorly funded educational system. Brooks' cartoons drawn in the late 1940s attacking the Ku Klux Klan led to threats against him and the Birmingham News. Following a number of Klan threats, the FBI kept Brooks under surveillance for a time, for his own protection.

Born in Andalusia, Alabama, Charles Brooks studied at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts with Chicago Daily News cartoonist Vaughn Shoemaker, a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize. After serving two years in the military during World War II, Brooks worked drawing gag cartoons for a Chicago advertising agency. In 1948 he returned to Alabama and was hired by the Birmingham News as the paper's first editorial cartoonist. Brooks retired from the News in 1985 but continued to edit the annual Best Editorial Cartoons of the Year, a collection of the work of political cartoonists from the United States and Canada. Brooks died in Birmingham in 2011.

In 1998 Charles Brooks donated nearly 4,000 of his original drawings to the Birmingham Public Library Archives. This exhibit features cartoons from that donation.  


Sacred Sounds of Alabama: An Exhibit of the Alabama Folklife Association
June 11 - July 22, 2019
Central Library, 4th Floor Gallery

This exhibit presents Alabama’s sacred music traditions. Panels display historical photographs and contemporary documentation by folklorists working within the state. Together, they demonstrate the profound and diverse heritage of these rich genres of music that have been passed down from one generation to the next.

Opening Reception, Saturday, June 11, 3:00-5:00 pm, 4th Floor Gallery. The event is free and open to the public.
Sacred Harp Singing Reception, Sunday, June 30, 3:00-5:00 pm. The event is free and open to the public.

The Alabama Folklife Association is a partner program of the Alabama State Council on the Arts.  

Keep Looking Beautiful
April 16 - June 7, 2019
Central Library, 4th Floor Gallery

Keep Looking Beautiful Exhibit Poster

Downtown: Photographs from the Archives' Collection 
January 31 - April 5, 2019
Central Library, 4th Floor Gallery

Policeman with a stop sign OVH190

Downtown: Photographs contains historic photographs of downtown Birmingham that have been housed in the BPL Archives Department. This display of vintage photographs will allow visitors to explore four Birmingham streets as they appeared in the past: Second Avenue North, Fourth Avenue North, 19th Street North, and 20th Street North.

This exhibit, which will be open to the public during Central Library's operating hours, originally was on display at BPL 25 years ago. 

A Portrait of Birmingham at Work
February 12 - March 26, 2019 
Central Library, First Floor Gallery 

Man peeling potatoes. Phote credit: Celestia Morgan

A Portrait of Birmingham at Work is a 20-portrait collection highlighting Birmingham restaurant labor, created by Birmingham photographer Celestia Morgan and commissioned by the Southern Foodways Alliance.  

Morgan says the food photos were inspired by growing up watching her mother cooking in kitchen. The photographs focus on the meticulous care in mixing ingredients that goes into preparing nourishment for others. 

The Southern Foodways Alliance, a Mississippi-based organization, commissioned Morgan to create the photo exhibit showcasing the role workers play behind the scenes and in public of producing food. Before the exhibit opens at the Central Library, A Portrait of Birmingham at Work will make its public debut during the alliance's 2019 Winter Symposium: Food is Work, being held Saturday, February 9, at Haven, an event center in Birmingham. 



For Freedoms: Alabama
October 28, 2018 - January 25, 2019

For Freedoms - Alabama art

The Birmingham Public Library (BPL) is hosting a new art exhibit that is part of a non-partisan, nationwide campaign using art as a means to inspire civic participation by celebrating freedoms in advance of the 2018 midterm elections. For Freedoms - Alabama will open on Sunday, October 28, 2018, in the Central Library Fourth Floor Gallery and be free and open to the public through Friday, January 25, 2019

Curated by Paul Barrett, the exhibit includes paintings, photographs, prints, and mixed media works from Alabama artists: Lanette Blankenship, Becky Delgado, Carey Fountain, Frances Hackney, Ira Hill, Josh Hoggle, Angela Hollowell, Devonte Holt, Holland Hopson, illartpeace; Kiante Johnson, Tara Stallworth Lee, Leanna Leithauser-Lesley, Elizabeth Limbaugh, Erin London, Meghan Malone, Isaac Nunn, Amber Quinn, Meroe Rei, Jared Ragland, Carl Schinasi; Don Stewart, Chris Wade, and Collin Williams.

Barrett said after working with BPL on his One In Our Blood collaboration with the Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts, Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Birmingham Museum of Art, and UAB School of Medicine last year, it was important to bring this new discussion between Alabama artists and the public to the Fourth Floor Gallery.

"Libraries are our best community resource for facts and news and continue to provide critical spaces for constructive dialogue," Barrett said. "With local partners including Alabama Center for Architecture, Birmingham Museum of Art, Ground Floor Contemporary, UAB Institute for Human Rights, and dozens more statewide, it's an honor to partner with For Freedoms to present this exhibition."

For additional information about For Freedoms, visit www.forfreedoms.org and follow the 50 State Initiative on Instagram and Facebook. For Freedoms was founded by artists in 2016 as a platform for civic engagement, discourse, and direct action in the United States. The exhibit was inspired by Norman Rockwell's 1943 paintings of the four universal freedoms articulated by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1941—freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. For Freedoms uses art to deepen public discussions of civic issues and core values, and to clarify that citizenship in American society is dependent on participation, not ideology. The 50 State Initiative (including Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico) is the largest creative collaboration in the history of this country, with For Freedoms' 200-plus institutional partners bringing together artists and community leaders across the country through exhibitions and town hall meetings, and public billboard projects. 


Painting at UAB
September 7 - October 25, 2018 

Painting at UAB Flyer

Painting at UAB, a free exhibit featuring paintings created by students of University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Professor Gary Chapman, will be on display in the Fourth Floor Gallery in the East Building of the Central Library beginning September 7 through October 25, 2018. An opening reception is scheduled for Sunday, September 9, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., in the gallery.

The exhibit will highlight the diverse work created in the UAB College of Arts and Sciences Department of Art and Art History painting studio under Chapman's guidance. Chapman said the entire exhibit is from current and recently graduated students of painting at UAB, mostly fine arts majors. Each student will have two to three paintings in the show, and two artists will have a larger display of their work.

"What I am most proud of my students at this, the advanced level, is the diversity of style and subject matter," Chapman said. "There is a prevalence of figurative work, primarily because it was the subject of a recent class. But the show includes work that is abstract as well as geometric patterning." Chapman said his objective as their professor is to first teach them "the language of paint and to learn to command that language. Then the fun begins in challenging them to find their own vision for what to do with that language. I am very proud of this group of student/artists."

Participating students are Bailey Barrow, Laura Benson, Ashlee Boren, Leah Cox, Becky Delgado, Frances Drew, Caroline Etheridge, Timothy Harstvedt, Cima Kahdemi, Meghan Malone, Joni Moore, Lanette Blankenship, Emily Stroud, Anthony Smith, and Daniel Vann.


Common Bonds: Birmingham Snapshots, 1900-1950
May 23 - August 31, 2018
Central Library, 4th Floor Gallery

Four photos from the Common Bonds exhibit

One of the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) Archives' most popular exhibits, Common Bonds: Birmingham Snapshots, 1900-1950, will again be on display in the Central Library's Fourth Floor Gallery.

Including almost 300 images from the Archives' collections and private collections, the exhibit highlights the simple snapshot photos that preserve a moment, tell a story, and record life's milestones. Snapshots illustrate the common bonds of people creating their own visual biographies-mothers chronicling their children's growth, young men and women proudly leaning against automobiles, families playing in snow, friends being goofy. And for Birmingham, a place often remembered for its divisions, snapshots show the common interests, affections, and aspirations of people-black and white, wealthy and not-who shared far more than even they realized.

Originally displayed at BPL in 2002, Common Bonds traveled to Samford University in 2003, the Reykjavik (Iceland) Museum of Photography in 2003-2004, and Vulcan Park and Museum in 2006.

Common Bonds was funded by a generous grant from the Alabama Humanities Foundation, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities. 



Shot in Alabama: Historical Birmingham Photographs
December 10, 2017 to 2018 
Central Library, 1st Floor Gallery

Shot in Alabama

Birmingham and Beyond: The Photography of the Shades Valley Photography Club
April 3, 2018 to May 14, 2018
Central Library, 4th Floor Gallery

Birmingham and Beyond flyer

The Shades Valley Camera Club (SVCC) was organized in 1954 and is one of the oldest in the United States. The club was established for the purpose of sharing the fascinating hobby of photography through knowledge, competitions, workshops, field trips, and fellowship. From silent rivers to flowing waterfalls, from baseball fields to iconic civil rights landmarks, from historic architecture to industrial scenes, this collection represents the diverse SVCC membership and their vision of the theme "Birmingham and Beyond." 

Club's Website

Opening Reception, Sunday, April 8, 2:00-4:00 pm, 4th Floor Gallery. The event is free and open to the public.


Textures of Jazz: Threads of Change
February 6, 2018 to March 31, 2018
Central Libray, 4th Floor Gallery

Textures of Jazz

Textures of Jazz is a 25-piece jazz portrait exhibition by Birmingham artist Leanna Leithauser Lesley in honor of Black History Month. Her collection of jazz needlepoint portraits are accompanied by biographies explaining the role each musician played in jazz history, American history, and civil rights history. The exhibit will feature two workshops by the artist with live music in Central Library's Atrium.

Workshops: February 14 and February 15, between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Live music too.
Artist's Website: https://www.needlepointfaces.com/

Alabama Illustrated: Engravings from 19th Century Newspapers
December 4, 2017 to February 2, 2018 
Central Library, 4th Floor Gallery

Cotton being loaded on the Alabama River

An exhibit from the collections of the Birmingham Public Library Archives titled Alabama Illustrated: Engravings from 19th Century Newspapers, features images of Alabama people, places, and events that appeared in national and international newspapers from the 1850s to the 1890s.

Prior to the 1890s, the technology did not exist to reproduce photographs in newspapers inexpensively. To provide illustrations for their readers, national and international papers like Harper's Weekly, Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, and the Illustrated London News sent artists around the world to draw pictures that were then engraved onto copper plates and printed in the newspapers. Many of these artists visited Alabama, and this exhibition features 28 examples of their work.

Gallery tour with BPL Archivist, Jim Baggett, Sunday, December 10, 2017 at 3:00 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.


Blood Divided: The Story of Dr. Charles R. Drew
October 20 to December 1, 2017
Central Library, 1st Floor Gallery

Blood Divided

The exhibit, Blood Divided: The Story of Dr. Charles R. Drew, will be open from Friday, October 20, through Friday, December 1, 2017, in the First and Fourth Floor Galleries of the Central Library. One side of the exhibit will highlight the life and accomplishments of Dr. Charles R. Drew, the blood banking pioneer who could not donate blood because he was African American. The other side is a timeline of blood science and stigma throughout history and today.

Blood Divided is part of One In Our Blood, a comprehensive, city-wide program of events and exhibitions conceived and coordinated by Birmingham curator Paul Barrett, building on the work of Blood Equality. Blood Equality was launched in 2015 in partnership with Gay Men’s Health Crisis, FCB Health, and artist Jordan Eagles’ Blood Mirror project to address discrimination against prospective LGBTQ blood donors and allow everyone an equal opportunity to donate blood. "We're very proud to partner with GMHC and Jordan Eagles as we further our commitment to highlighting issues of blood equality through our work," said Rich Levy, Chief Creative Officer, FCB Health, the New York agency handling the campaign. "True to our Never Finished principle, this creative partnership lends us an important opportunity to challenge the discrimination based on outdated stigmas around blood donation by building equity for donors, influencing long-term behavior and leaving behind a positive impact."

October 20 to December 1, 2017 
Central Library, 4th Floor Gallery


#1960Now is a photography exhibit by Sheila Pree Bright who compares current civil rights protests by young millennials and groups such as Black Lives Matter to the 1960s civil rights movement. The exhibit is a collection of her works that have appeared in the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History in Washington D.C. and two venues in Atlanta—High Museum of Art and the Center for Civil and Human Rights.

#1960Now examines race, gender, and generational divides to raise awareness of millennial perspectives on civil and human rights. It is a photographic series of emerging young leaders affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement. Bright documents responses to police shootings in Atlanta, Ferguson, Baltimore, Baton Rouge, and Washington, D.C.

You can read more about this project at https://www.project1960.com/ and read about Sheila Pree Bright at her website, https://www.sheilapreebright.com/.



A Romantic Journey by Rachel McElroy and Bre Conley Saxon
September 2 to October 14, 2017
Central Library, 4th Floor Gallery

A Romantic Journey

"It seems an impossible task to write one statement for two artists. While we share a subject-the Italian landscape-our eyes, emotions, motivations, experiences, and even our equipment differed. For Bre, her collection of photographs encapsulates A Romantic Journey. She experienced Italy with her husband and best friends, while also photographing Tuscan weddings. Her images reflect the Italian fairytale-beautiful brides, sparkling wines, and rainbows over golden landscapes.

For me, however, I embarked on my Italian adventure after facing heartbreak. Viewing Italy through my lens transported me from the pain. Photographing felt like meditation-it was incredible, and seemed to heal me. The magical Light, the vibrant city-life, new friends, the powerful Dolomites, the poppy fields, the wine, the best pasta ever... In a way, I guess, I also experienced A Romantic Journey.

We present this collection to show the Love we captured." - Rachel McElroy

Artists' Websites:http://www.saybre.com/ and https://www.rachelmcelroy.com/

Opening Reception, Sunday, September 10, 2:00-5:00 pm, 4th Floor Gallery. The event is free and open to the public.


Caroline Wang: Watercolor With Asian Flair
July 7 to August 28, 2017
Central Library, 4th Floor Gallery

Caroline Wang

"Caroline Wang is a watercolor artist and a retired NASA engineer and researcher. She grew up in Taiwan, and grew up again (culturally) in the United States. She has passion for art as well as science. Having a love for both disciplines, she studied art at the University of Minnesota and received a Master's degree in mathematics from the University of Wisconsin." (artist's website)

Watercolor with Asian Flair, assembles original watercolors of landscapes that Wang has encountered during her travels in the United States, the Far East, and Europe. Her watercolor paintings employ Asian brush strokes while retaining a Western visual perspective.

Wang has won numerous awards at state and regional art contests. Another collection of Caroline's work, Wild Lives in Color is currently on exhibit at the Decatur Carnegie Visual Art Center from June 27 to August 5.

A fashion designer as well, Wang uses her watercolor designs for VIDA scarves. She was one of the featured designers at the Alabama Fashion Alliance Fashion Show. Her other passions include violin, tennis, and public speaking. She has given many speeches to organizations and schools as a member of Toastmasters International. Through her artwork and speeches, Wang conveys one message: follow your passion and explore all the possibilities. 

Artist's Website: http://www.cwanggallery.com/

Opening Reception, Saturday, July 8, 2:00-5:00 pm, 4th Floor Gallery. The event is free and open to the public.


Sewn and Thrown: Traditional Quilts and Folk Pottery from Alabama’s Black Belt
May 11 to June 25, 2017
Central Library, 4th Floor Gallery and First Floor Exhibit Cases

Quilts Pottery

Featuring quilts by master artists from Gee's Bend and works by Miller's Pottery of Brent and Ham Pottery of Selma, the Sewn and Thrown: Traditional Quilts and Folk Pottery from Alabama's Black Belt exhibit presents two living traditions of the region.

Acclaimed nationally and internationally, the Gee's Bend quilters are continuing the tradition through their families and community. Sixteen quilts by different women, some of whom are exhibiting for the first time, represent the amazing colors and innovative techniques often associated with the textiles produced by several generations over the years. Folk potter Steve Miller and his cousin Allen Ham grew up working alongside Steve’s father, Eric Miller, in the workplace and shop on Highway 5 in Bibb County. Featured in documentary films, books, and articles, they represent a business dating to the 1850s that began on the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay. Today, they use local clay to make and produce glazed stoneware, utilitarian items, face jugs, and other works of art that are sought after by collectors. For more information about regional quilting and pottery, visit the Alabama Folklife Association website. 

Opening Reception, Saturday, May 13, 3:00-5:00 pm, 4th Floor Gallery. The event is free and open to the public.


Sweet Home: Alabama's History In Maps
March 1 to April 30, 2017
Central Library, 4th Floor Gallery

Sweet Home

Sweet Home: Alabama's History in Maps is an exhibit presented by the Birmingham Public Library in celebration of Alabama's bicentennial. The Library's Southern History Department has carefully selected over 50 maps from our world class collection to tell the story of Alabama. The maps in this exhibit represent 450 years of exploration, expansion, and development.

The Birmingham Public Library has been the grateful recipient of several large collections of rare, valuable, and exquisitely drawn maps. These donations were made by Birmingham natives Rucker Agee, John C. Henley III, Dr. Charles Ochs, and Joseph H. Woodward II. As a result of their generosity the BPL has an extraordinary map collection, the like of which is rarely seen outside of academia.

Map collectors and enthusiasts have long known that maps are much more than navigational tools. They tell a story, promote an agenda, and tantalize our imagination. Maps, like any historical document, are products of their time and their creators. In the hands of a gifted cartographer, they are works of art without compare. By studying historic maps of Alabama, we gain insight into not only the physical changes of our state over the course of its history, but also into the constantly changing perceptions of who we are and who we want to be. Enjoy this exhibit that tells our story which, while not always pretty, is still ongoing and being written by all of us.  

Online Exhibit

Opening Reception, March 5, 3:00-5:00 pm 4th Floor Gallery. The event is free and open to the public.

Programs are free of charge, but registration is requested. To register, contact the Southern History Department of the Birmingham Public Library at 205-226-3665 or askgenlocal@bham.lib.al.us. This project is supported by a grant from the Alabama Humanities Foundation, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Roads That "Start Somewhere and End Somewhere": How Alabama and the Nation Got its First Highways, presented by Dr. Martin Olliff
Saturday, March 25, 2017, Arrington Auditorium. 10 a.m. Central Library

In the 20th century, Americans used the power of state and national governments to erect a network of roads and highways that made our current transportation system possible. This presentation uses maps from the Rucker Agee Collection of the Birmingham Public Library to discuss this small but important part of the national Good Roads Movement of the early 1900s.

Making Your Sweet Home Among Maps: How to Read and Interpret Maps of the Southeastern United States for Genealogists, Historians, Teachers, and Map Lovers, presented by Dr. Melinda Kashuba
Saturday, April 8, 2017, Arrington Auditorium. 10 a.m. Central Library

Do old maps enchant or intimidate you? Do the symbols intrigue or confuse you? This hands-on workshop explores the symbols and mapping conventions used on 19th and early 20th century maps to tell the story of the development of the Southeast. Maps used in the workshop are drawn from the Birmingham Public Library Cartography Collection. Students will learn how to interpret and analyze information contained on old maps as well as look for hidden meaning behind what was mapped and what was left off the map.  


Another Perspective: Artwork by E. Bruce Phillips, Jr.
January 27 to February 26, 2017
Central Library, 4th Floor Gallery

Another Perspective Flyer

The artwork of E. Bruce Phillips, Jr. is an exploration of the connection between humans and the environment as reflected in man-made structures. He is known for use of circles, straight lines, and what Phillps calls his own "curvilinear markings" as a form of artistic expression. Phillips' newer works include photography and seek to capture the distinctive style and architecture in downtown Montreal or New Orleans, and the gritty crumbling buildings and bridges of American industrial cities.

Before becoming an art professor at Tuskegee University, Phillips held positions as director of the Chastain Arts Center & Gallery in Atlanta, associate professor of art at the Atlanta Metropolitan College, and director of community outreach at SCAD, another art institution.

Artist's Website: http://www.ebrucephillipsjr.com/


Opening Reception, Saturday, February 11, 2:00-4:00 pm 4th Floor Gallery. The event is free and open to the public.



Coalesce: Collaborative Work by Joseph and Misty Bennett Exhibit
November 3 to December 30, 2016 
Central Library, 4th Floor Gallery


"These collaborative works started out as an experimental conversation between two artists."

These are the reflective words of artists and University of Montevallo Art Department faculty, Joseph and Misty Bennett. From November 1 through December 30, 2016, the Birmingham Public Library will showcase the work of both artists in the Central Library’s Fourth Floor Gallery. A process was developed wherein one artist would begin a drawing, then hand it over to the other, and they would continue to pass it back and forth until both felt there was nothing more to add. It was a reactionary and spontaneous way of working, which led to a sense of discovery and a deeper understanding of self for each artist. 


Opening Reception, Saturday, November 12, 2:00-4:00 pm 4th Floor Gallery. The event is free and open to the public.

Together Again: University of Montevallo Art Studio Faculty and Alumni Show
September 12 to October 28
Central Library, 4th Floor Gallery
Montevallo Exhibit

This exhibit features recent work by University of Montevallo (UM) Departmetn of Art faculty and graduates. Art is big at Montevallo and the Department of Art is one of the largest departments int he University. With a decdicated full-time faculty of 13 and over 250 art majors, students have the challenges and the resources to achieve at their highest level, and many choose to continue their education in graduate programs across the country. UM offers concentrations in eight different areas, with a faculty director in each area. The exhibit features work by each studio faculty member and by invited alumni fro each area of concentration.

Ten Alabama Artists: All Media Exhibition
July 10 to August 26

Central Library, 4th Floor Gallery 

In the Library by Melinda Mathews

This exhibit features the work of ten Alabama artists who are also members of the Watercolor Society of Alabama (WSA). However, the artwork in the exhibit will feature a variety of media including oil, acrylic, collage, watercolor, ceramics, mixed media, hand-painted lithography, and calligraphy.  

The exhibit is curated by Jaceena Shepard of Town Creek, Alabama, a well-known practicing artist, exhibition curator, and art teacher. Watercolors are not the only media to be featured in the show. The artists show their prowess in a variety of media including oils, acrylic, and sculpture. "These ten artists are enthusiastically creative. Their work is inspiring because it tells a story, makes us smile, asks ‘how did she do that’, and causes us to realize that creativity comes from discovering the most potent muse of all is our own inner child," says Shepard. 

In addition to Shepard, the following artists are featured in this exhibit:
Rick Atkins, Athens
Peggy Milburn Brown, Montgomery
Winnie Cooper, Birmingham
Heike Covell, Huntsville
Lyn Gill, Brewton
Lectora Johnson, Birmingham
Charlotte McDavid, Birmingham
Melinda Mathews, Birmingham
Shirley Tucker, Hartselle


Opening Reception, Sunday, July 10, 2:00-4:30 pm 4th Floor Gallery. The event is free and open to the public.


New Ideal: Artwork by Merrilee Challis
May 7 to June 24
Central Library, 4th Floor Gallery

Merrilee Challis Art Exhibit Poster

"Everything going forward must be either an elegy (for what we have lost) or a celebration (of what we have left). Or both."

Those are the reflective words of Birmingham artist Merrilee Challiss. From May 7, 2016 through June 24, 2016, the Birmingham Public Library will showcase the artwork of Merrilee Challiss at the Central Library’s Fourth Floor Gallery, 2100 Park Place downtown. Enjoy energetic paintings and mixed media works of a pensive, psychedelic nature. Together these works make up Challiss' New Ideal. "The paintings are failures of my attempts to represent energy and consciousness in its various stages, respective to the subject," she said. "What is left of our world, despite our best efforts to destroy it, is still rife with wonder and beauty, fecundity and meaning. I see all natural systems, man, animal, and spirit as connected and constantly overlapping and co-existing on conscious and unconscious levels. I locate myself and my role as artist, in a meditative state, in the liminal realm between elegy and celebration, where the spirit and the unconscious trump our waking reality."

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Merrilee Challiss is an artist based in Birmingham. She received her Bachelor's in Art from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Master's in Fine Arts from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. In 2015, she did residencies at Signal Fire, Portland, Oregon, and Starry Night Retreat, Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.

Artist's Website: www.merrileechalliss.com


Opening Reception, Saturday, May 7, 2:00-4:00 pm 4th Floor Gallery. The event is free and open to the public.


Reading Between the Lines: Charles Brooks and the American Presidential Campaign 
January 5 to April 29

Central Library, 4th Floor Gallery

Alabama's best-known political cartoonist of the twentieth century, the Birmingham News' Charles Brooks drew more than 10,000 editorial cartoons and provided commentary on eight presidential administrations, the Cold War, the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War, and Watergate, as well as state and local politics. In 1998, Brooks donated nearly 4,000 of his original drawings, rendered on 11 x 17-inch sheets, to the Birmingham Public Library. These drawings are now preserved in the library's Department of Archives and Manuscripts and form the basis for this exhibit, highlighting Brooks' work on seven presidential campaigns from John Kennedy's 1960 razor-thin defeat of Richard Nixon to Ronald Reagan's 1984 landslide win over Walter Mondale.

The creation of this exhibit was funded by a generous grant from the Birmingham News.

Born in Andalusia, Alabama, Charles Brooks enrolled at Birmingham-Southern College in 1939, applying $200 won in an art contest toward his tuition. As his interest in political cartooning grew, Brooks left Birmingham to study at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts with Chicago Daily News cartoonist Vaughn Shoemaker, a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize.

After serving two years in the military during World War II, Brooks worked drawing gag-cartoons for a Chicago advertising agency. In 1948 he returned to Alabama and was hired by the Birmingham News as the paper's first editorial cartoonist. Charles Brooks served as president of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists (1969-1970) and president of the Birmingham Press Club (1968-1969). The recipient of numerous awards for political cartooning, Brooks' work is featured in more than 50 books, including encyclopedias and textbooks on history, political science, and economics. In addition to two exhibits at the Birmingham Public Library, his cartoons have been exhibited at the White House, the National Portrait Gallery in London, and the Smithsonian Institution.

Charles Brooks retired from the News in 1985 and died in 2011.  


Painting @ UAB: The Students of Gary Chapman
November 15 to December 31
Central Library, 4th Floor Gallery

An exhibition showcasing artwork by students in the painting program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). This exhibit highlights the diverse work being created at UAB in the painting studio, under the guidance of Professor Gary Chapman. While Chapman teaches a highly structured, somewhat traditional beginning painting class, he then works with each student individually through the intermediate and advanced levels, guiding each student’s individual research, exploration, and experimentation. The result is a dynamic group of young painters who have each found and developed their unique vision through paint.  


Opening Reception, November 15, 2:30-5:00 pm 4th Floor Gallery. The event is free and open to the public.

Days of Glaze: an exhibit of photographs and memorabilia of Andrew Glaze, Alabama’s Poet Laureate
November 6 to December 31, 2015
Central Library, 1st Floor Gallery

Andrew Glaze

Additional information about Andrew Glaze and a bibliography of his work.

Watercolor Society of Alabama Annual Members Showcase
September 20 to October 30
Central Library, 4th Floor Gallery

Arles Cafe, Walt Costilow
Arles Cafe by Walt Costilow

The Watercolor Society of Alabama Annual Members Showcase display features nearly 60 aqua media works from artists across the state.

Don Taylor of Panama City, Florida, is the awards juror. Taylor is past president of the Southern Watercolor Society 2006-2009 and past member of the Board of Directors at the Visual Arts Center of Northwest Florida. His paintings have been accepted in juried shows such as the Adirondacks National Watercolor exhibit (2007, 2012); Allied Artists of America (2007, 2008); 83rd American Artists Professional League Grand National 2011; 79th Hudson Valley Art Association 2010 Exhibit; and the Watercolor Society of Houston. Awards include the Merit Award in the Judith Ryan Williams Annual Nature and Wildlife Exhibit (2011); the San Antonio Watercolor Society Award (2000); and the Jack Richeson Award (2007) in the Southern Watercolor Society annual exhibits. A retired veterinarian, Taylor frequently teaches watercolor workshops. 


Award ceremony and opening reception, Sunday, September 20, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., 4th floor gallery. The event is free and open to the public.

Layers of Meaning: Paintings by Matthew Mayes
July 9 to September 4 August 29
Central Library, 4th Floor Gallery

True Blue by Matthew Mayes

To Create. To Desire. To Grow. To Nurture. To Dream. To Inspire. These words are not a slogan; they are the titles of paintings . . . paintings that fluidly progress in color, brushstroke by brushstroke. From July 9, 2015 through September 4, 2015, the Birmingham Public Library will showcase the work of local artist Matthew Mayes in the Central Library’s Fourth Floor Gallery. Arresting acrylic paintings bold in color, texture, and depth make up the exhibition Layers of Meaning: Paintings by Matthew Mayes

About the Artist

Born in Florence, Alabama, Matthew Mayes is self-taught with over 12 years of experience as a professional artist. He currently resides in Birmingham with his partner Brian and their son Noah. Mayes began painting as a child after watching the television program "Joy of Painting" with Bob Ross. Mayes experienced a number of stints with hospitalization and home schooling due to illness and needed an outlet for his creativity—art was his answer and it gave his life meaning. 

"Once, I believed that love, food, and music were the core passions that transcended all race, creed, and color. Now, I know that art encompasses all,” he states. Regarding his creative process, Mayes observes, “I allow natural ability combined with a trained eye to create. Without both, my art could not exist."


Reception, Sunday, July 19, 2:30-5:00 p.m. 4th Floor Gallery


May 7 to June 26

Central Library, 4th Floor Gallery
The Amazing Art of Local Curiosities: Work by Cory Casella, Melissa Shultz-Jones, and Paul Cordes Wilm

Exhibit Flyer

A maze-like betta fish drawing produced with a single continuous line that never crosses itself. An illustration of a homeless man, fashioned with an elephant-god head. An abstract painting of Alabama, constructed entirely from recycled materials. Cory Casella, Melissa Shultz-Jones, and Paul Cordes Wilm are Birmingham artists with very unique perspectives.

Artists websites
Cory Casella
Melissa Shultz-Jones
Paul Cordes Wilm.

Reception, Saturday, May 16, 3:00-5:00 p.m. 4th Floor Gallery

Cora Casella Drawing Workshop. On Saturday, June 6, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., Casella will share his technique of drawing in pen with one continuous line. The event will be held in the Story Castle, 2nd Floor at the Central Library. Registration requested; call 226-3670.

Hero Art Drawing workshop with Melissa-Shultz-Jones. On Wednesday June 16 from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m., Shultz-Jones will lead a Hero Art session for children and accompanying adult family members in the Story Castle. Registration requested; call 226-3655.


Source/Process: Work by Members of Paperworkers Local 
Central Library, 4th Floor Gallery
March 7-April 30, 2015 

Paperworkers Local Art


Reception, Saturday, March 7, 2:00-4:00 p.m. 4th Floor Gallery

Registration is required. Email paperworkerslocal@gmail.com or visit paperworkerslocal.blogspot.com for information.
Intro to Printing: March 14. Led by Mimi Boston
Solar Plate Photo Etching: April 18. Led by John DeMotte


Float The Earth: The Paintings of Bryce Speed
Central Library, 4th Floor Gallery
January 8-February 27, 2015 

Bryce Speed's Twins 2014
Twins by Bryce Speed

Artist Statement: My work can be described formally as atmospheric and architectural. At times, the ambiguous interior and exterior environments border on sterile. However, in nature, calm is always disrupted by conflict either from internal or external sources. Some are real while other exist only in our psyche. Multiple conflicts often exist at once, and the ultimate goal becomes to escape to an alternate state of mind. In my drawings, architectural forms reference both the stability and instability of identity. Forces of nature, like water and wind, invade and sometimes destroy, serving as a metaphor for the evolving self.

Artist Bio: Bryce Speed was born in Mississippi and graduated with an MFA in painting and drawing from the University of Alabama. He completed a residency at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center of the Arts in Nebraska City and taught at Omaha Metro Community College, the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and Central Community College in Columbus, NE. In 213 he began teaching at the University of Alabama.

Speed's work has been included in numerous exhibitions in several sates. In 2006 and 2011, his works were selected for publication in Vols. 64 and 69 of New American Paintings. Bryce's work was featured at the PS122 Gallery in New York City in 2009, and in 2011 his works on paper were exhibited as part of the Nebraska Arts Council's Nebraska Governor's Residence Exhibition Program and at the Museum of Nebraska Art.

Artist's Website: http://brycespeed.com/home.html

Reception Saturday, January 10, 2:00-4:00 p.m., The Gallery
The event is free and open to the public.



Bob Moody's Birmingham: A City in Watercolor
Central Library, 4th Floor Gallery
November 6, 2014-January 4, 2015 

Moody’s sixty-five watercolors explore downtown Birmingham, Southside, Five Points, Highland Avenue, Forest Park, and Redmont, capturing the beauty and vitality of some of the city’s landmarks and districts. 


Watercolor Society of Alabama Annual Members' Showcase
Central Library, 4th Floor Gallery
September 21-October 31, 2014

The Ancient Splendor by Chenghao Li
The Ancient Splendor, Chenghao Li

Nearly 60 aqua media works from across the state are on display September 21–October 31 during the 2014 Watercolor Society of Alabama Annual Members' Showcase at the Central Library.  

E. Gordon West of San Antonio, Texas, is the selection juror. West has received numerous awards in national exhibitions and has works in the permanent collections of the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas A&M University, and the University of Louisville. He is a graduate of the University of Louisville and studied at the Chicago Art Institute.

Steve Rogers of Ormond Beach, Florida is the awards juror. His artwork has won international awards. He was the Purchase Award Winner of the 2006 National Watercolor Society “Best of Show.” His paintings have won four awards in the American Watercolor Society Annual International Exhibitions. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Monmouth College in Monmouth, Ill. 

Reception and Awards Presentation: Sunday, September 21, 2:30-4:30 p.m., The Gallery
The event is free and open to the public.

Debra Eubanks Riffe
"Every Line Tells a Story"
July 24-August 26, 2014


Linoleum block relief prints selected from the portfolio of Debra Eubanks Riffe. Prints created and hand pressed from 2004 thru June 2014. 

Artist's Statement: "I enjoy the versatility and the immediacy of drawing with a pencil and the physicality of turning the wheel of a printing press. Through simplicity of form, I use basic art principles to convey shape, gesture, attitude, movement and emotion. My compositions are, exclusively, images of African Americans placed in rural southern surroundings, performing routine tasks in timeless, solitary reflective moments. These tasks speak of social status and identity; intimacy and a sense of place.

I appreciate the ordinary and I try to record details, within each print, that will stir an emotion the viewer might respond to. I’m not opposed to using a color palette, however, I can’t deny that I enjoy the challenge of printing with a rich, black oil-based ink. The contrast of sharp modulating lines on bright white paper gives each print an infinite range of tonal variations and textures."

Artist's Website: http://debrariffe.com/


Birmingham Art Crawl, Thursday, Aug. 7, 5 to 9 p.m., in the 4th Floor Gallery. Riffe will be one of several artists to display works at downtown Birmingham businesses. Free. 


Illuminations in Poured Color: Paintings by Starr Weems
February 27-April 30

Solstice by Starr Weems

Starr Weems enjoys designing colorful, dreamlike paintings with watercolor using an unusual process which consists of layering drawing gum and transparent color to build high-contrast images. She enjoys "making art that represents the collision of reality and the fanciful world of dreams.

Artist's Website: http://www.starrweems.com/

Press Release: New Birmingham Public Library Art Exhibit Embraces the Power of Dreams


Reception: Sunday, March 2, 3-5 p.m., The Gallery

Watercolor Workshop With Starr Weems: Sunday, March 30, 2:30-5:30 p.m., Second Floor Story Castle, Free. Call 205-226-3670 to reserve a spot.  


Release of the Inner Artist
February 5 - March 29, 2014

Joyce E. Brooks

Once Joyce E. Brooks managed to minimize the overload, achieve balance and gain some much deserved peace, she discovered a hidden gift deep inside of her. Joyce had never given any thought to becoming an artist. In 2010, after attending an event that included painting on canvass for entertainment, she stumbled upon a new passion. She began painting with acrylics and hasn’t stopped.

Joyce E. Brooks is also the author of the book titled Self-Inflicted Overload.

This month Joyce is celebrating being cancer-free for five years. Since being declared cancer-free in 2009, Joyce has become an artist, author, stress awareness expert, and a “mompreneur.” Joyce says, “Being diagnosed with breast cancer has been a life challenging experience. What could have been devastating has turned out to be a blessing!” 


Ladies, Gentlemen and Bazards: The Art of Lois Wilson
January 6-February 21, 2014

The exhibit Ladies, Gentlemen and Bazards: The Art of Lois Wilson  features a little known Alabama artist who died in 1980. The focus is on Wilson’s “found art” where she used wood that she scavenged from demolition sites, parts of furniture that she disassembled, old brushes, ironing boards, toilet seats and left over food for coloring. Wilson took the trash that other people discarded and used it to create art. The art illustrates the issues that were important to Wilson: environmentalism and conservation, racism, spiritualism, the needs of the aged and homeless, and the emptiness of modern American materialism.

More information and events



Birmingham 2013: Remembering the Movement That Changed the World
November 6-December 27

Dr. William Colvin Exhibit

Exhibit Brochure (pdf)
Press Release

Heart Gallery Alabama
October 31-November 9

Heart Gallery Alabama (HGA) is a state wide non-profit agency whose mission is to help find forever families for Alabama's foster children. There are more than 300 children at any one time, who have no identified resource for a permanent home and family of their own, and these are the children for whom HGA recruits. They recruit professional photographers to volunteer to take the Children's portraits, and then take these professional grade photographs around the state to museums, malls, galleries, libraries, and other locations in order to increase awareness of the need for foster and adoptive families in the state of Alabama. Operating for almost eight years, they have been very successful in finding forever families for over 450 children statewide. As November is National Adoption Month, this is timely.

The exhibit is located on the 1st Floor Gallery of the Central Library during regular business hours.


Kickoff Party: November 6, 6:30 p.m., 1st Floor Central
This reception and information session will provide instruction on adoption in the state of Alabama and introduce some of children still hoping to be adopted as well as a few of the over 450 children successfully placed with Forever Families. 


Watercolor Society of Alabama Annual Showcase
September 24-October 31

Maritima by Judith Aronson of Mobile

The Watercolor Society of Alabama Annual Members' Showcase features aqua media paintings executed by watercolorists from across Alabama.


Reception and Awards Presentation: Sunday, September 29, 2:30-4:30 p.m., The Gallery

Unseen...Unforgotten: Civil Rights Photographs from The Birmingham News
June 1-October 31

Birmingham Police arrest Parker High School student Mattie Howard in front of the Carver Theatre. Photo courtesy of The Birmingham News

This exhibit features 41 pictures that capture the suspense, drama, tension, struggle and triumph of the civil rights movement in Birmingham during the 1950s and 1960s. Photographers with The Birmingham News took the photos, which highlight freedom riders, sit-ins, the Children's Crusade of 1963, the impact of the bombing of Sixteenth Street Baptist Church and more. Courageous leaders such as the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others are featured in the exhibit. "You may have seen some of these photos in the past but the detailed captions next to each photo help you understand the full story and the achievements of the Birmingham movement,'' said Marjorie White, president of the Birmingham Historical Society. The Birmingham Historical Society organized the exhibition.

The exhibit is located on the 1st Floor Gallery of the Central Library during regular business hours.


"Unseen...Unforgotten photo exhibit installed at the Birmingham Public Library (slideshow and video)" The Birmingham News 28 January 2012  

Surfacing : The Paintings of Sky Shineman
August 15-September 20

Artwork by Sky Shineman

Sky Shineman is Assistant Professor of Art in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. She received both her MFA in Studio Art and BS in English Education from Ohio State University in Columbus. She states, “In painting, I am interested in physical processes and phenomenal imagery. By employing reductive methods such as sanding and bleaching, I attempt to bring awareness to the tactile qualities of the painting object while creating imagery that is connected to its making. Ideally the process and the product overlap and enrich one another providing a multi-sensory experience. The complex relationship between how something looks and how it has come to being is the compelling question behind the Surfacing series.”

Shineman has shown in various galleries, museums, and art shows around the country including the Alabama State Council on the Arts Gallery in Montgomery and the SICA 7th Annual International Exhibition at the Shore Institute of Contemporary Arts in Long Branch, New Jersey. Her many honors include the University of Alabama Research Grants Committee Award for a project titled Personal Modernism: Relating Through Painting (2012) and the Best in Show Purchase Award at the 26th Annual West Alabama Juried Show (2010). 


Reception: Saturday, August 17, 3-5 p.m., The Gallery

Lecture and tour by the artist, Sky Shineman: Thursday, September 19, 1:30 p.m., Central Library - Arrington Auditorium

Fusion: Sculpture by Jamey Grimes and Charles Clary
June 26-August 2

Hugg-a-Diddle Serology Movement 2 by Charles Clary strata VIa by Jamey Grimes

The sculptural work of Charles Clary and Jamey Grimes will intrigue, fascinate, and challenge viewers. It is an exhibition unlike anything shown at the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) before. The artwork may resemble objects seen in nature, yet they are fictional fabrications born of the artists’ imagination.

The exhibit is located in the 4th Floor Gallery of the Central Library during regular business hours.

Artist websites: http://www.jameygrimes.com/, http://charlesclary.wordpress.com/

Reception: Saturday, June 29, 3-5 p.m., The Gallery

The Art of Art Bacon, Artist and Activist
May 16-June 21

Art BaconArt Bacon is known by many as an artist, educator, and scientist. However, art has always been his passion. He was born in West Palm Beach but lived in several places in and outside of Florida. Recognized early for his artistic talent, he won many prizes and awards long before he graduated from high school. Now retired from Talladega College where he was named Professor Emeritus of Natural Sciences and Humanities, he is painting more than ever and occasionally writes and recites poetry. 

People are Bacon’s subjects of choice especially older and neglected people whose experiences show in their faces. In the early days, he worked almost exclusively with ink washes and lines—very little color. He was a minimalist and believed that color interfered with his expression of feelings. Bacon now uses more color and acrylics and a number of other media and techniques, often combining several. However, he still likes lines and his palette is still limited. A leading art critic describes Bacon’s work as “social commentary with a bold vitality.” Works by Bacon can be found in many private collections including those owned by Bill Cosby, U.S. Congressman John Lewis, and Hank Thomas. Institutions owning pieces by the artist include Alabama State University, Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Mobile Museum of Art, Heritage Hall Museum, University of Maryland, Comer Museum, and Opryland. He has been featured in Southern Living and Lakeside magazines, Black Art in America, an online journal, and other publications. 

The exhibit is located in the 4th Floor Gallery of the Central Library during regular business hours.

Artist website: http://www.artbaconartist.com/

Reception: Sunday, May 19, 3-5 p.m., The Gallery

Afri-Spiritus Sembler: Diasporic Art Work
The Paintings of Mero'e Rei

April 2-May 10

The exhibit is located in the 4th Floor Gallery of the Central Library during regular business hours.

Mero’e Rei had an interest in art from an early age and began producing works of art as a teenager. His love for jazz, blues and gospel serves as the inspiration for many of his pieces. His interest in African cave and rock art has inspired his later works. Rei has shown extensively in both solo and group exhibitions.


Rei is a native of the southern region of Alabama near Mobile. He graduated from high school in Birmingham, Alabama then attended the University of Alabama where he studied ceramics, sculpture, and print-making. He later received his B.A. at the State University of New York. Rei retired from the Office of Personnel Management of the United States Federal Government. He also served in the United States Navy as a medical corpsman. He gave many years as a clergyman in the Alabama West Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church. In his spare time, he studied art in galleries and museums in Spain and the Middle East.


Artist Statement: “My art is a visual study of Jazz music (expressions of life) inspired by the African spiritual diaspora transmuted with connection to ancient and modern elders. These inclinations are visualized in intrinsic colors, organic forms and spontaneous rhythmic patterns, utilizing fresco and a mixture of mediums as ebbing tides and flowing waves of colors emanating from my life force and internal representations. My style of work contains Color Field, Gestural and Lyrical Abstract Expressions.”

Visit the artist’s website for more information: www.meroerei.com

To purchase prints of the artist’s paintings, go to: 2-meroe-rei.fineartamerica.com.

Reception: Saturday, April 6, 3-5 p.m., The Gallery

Unseen...Unforgotten: Civil Rights Photographs from The Birmingham News
February 2 - March 28

The exhibit is located in the 4th Floor Gallery of the Central Library during regular business hours.

This exhibit features 41 pictures that capture the suspense, drama, tension, struggle and triumph of the civil rights movement in Birmingham during the 1950s and 1960s. Photographers with The Birmingham News took the photos, which highlight freedom riders, sit-ins, the Children's Crusade of 1963, the impact of the bombing of Sixteenth Street Baptist Church and more. Courageous leaders such as the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others are featured in the exhibit. "You may have seen some of these photos in the past but the detailed captions next to each photo help you understand the full story and the achievements of the Birmingham movement,'' said Marjorie White, president of the Birmingham Historical Society. The Birmingham Historical Society organized the exhibition.


Opening Reception February 2, 2013, 2:00-4:00 p.m., The Gallery


"Unseen...Unforgotten photo exhibit installed at the Birmingham Public Library (slideshow and video)" The Birmingham News 28 January 2012   


Attorney Shores' Scrapbook- The Life and Times of Birmingham's Civil Rights Lawyer and Civic Leader, 1939-1975
November 4 - December 28

The exhibit is located in the 4th Floor Gallery of the Central Library during regular business hours.

 Birmingham News photo of Arthur Shores
From left, Autherine Lucy, Thurgood Marshall and Arthur Shores, exit the federal courthouse in Birmingham, Ala. in February 1956, following Lucy's reinstatement as the first black person to be admitted to the University of Alabama.
Photo credit: Courtesy of The Birmingham News
The Birmingham Historical Society and the Birmingham Public Library are showcasing the life and times of Birmingham civil rights attorney Arthur Shores in a special exhibit. The exhibit features a scrapbook of newspaper reports and printed materials, which Shores collected throughout his legal and political career.

The Birmingham Historical Society has copied numerous pages of the scrapbook, which is larger than the size of a newspaper, in order to display them in the downtown library's fourth floor gallery. Shores, who was born in 1904, was a high school principal at Dunbar High School in Bessemer, Ala. when he became a lawyer in 1937. Although Shores died in 1996 at the age of 92, the scrapbook and exhibit look at his career from 1939 to 1975.

Some of the exhibit highlights include:

  • How Shores and Thurgood Marshall successfully fought to get Autherine Lucy enrolled as the first black student at the University of Alabama in 1956
  • How Shores became the first black person to sit on the Birmingham City Council in 1968
  • How Shores fought to strike down a Birmingham zoning law, which determined which side of Center Street black people could live. (Black people could not live on the west side of the street. The zoning law was struck down in 1946. Once people started moving to the west side of the street, their homes were bombed. Shores moved his family to an east corner of Center Street in 1953.)
  • How Shores' Birmingham home, which was located in an area that was known as "Dynamite Hill" because of so many racist bombings, was bombed twice in 1963 because racists thought he was involved in an effort to integrate Birmingham schools that year
  • Ads, telegrams and memorabilia from Shores' career
Opening Reception
November 4, 3:00-5:00 p.m., The Gallery
Remarks 3:30 p.m.

Shores' daughters, Helen Shores Lee and Barbara Sylvia Shores, have written a book about their father. During the Nov. 4 opening reception, they will sign copies of The Gentle Giant of Dynamite Hill - The Untold Story of Arthur D. Shores and His Family's Fight for Civil Rights. They wrote the book with Denise George. Helen Shores Lee is a Jefferson County circuit judge and Barbara Sylvia Shores is director of the Jefferson County Office of Senior Citizens Services. Both say they are humbled that an exhibit features their father, who fought for voting rights, housing issues, educational opportunities and more. "I'm sure if he were here, he'd be very pleased that there is a recognition of his work,'' says Helen Shores Lee.

Press and Publications

Interview of Arthur Shores' daughters, Helen Shores Lee and Barbara Sylvia Shores discussing their father and the scrapbook. Credit: Bernard Troncale.

Interview by Bernard Troncale of Arthur Shores' daughters

Gallery Guide and Timeline

"Civil rights attorney Arthur Shores' life told by daughters in new book" Birmingham News article.

Watercolor Society of Alabama, September 17 - October 28

Both Sides of the Lens: Photographs by the Shackelford Family, Fayette County, Alabama (1900-1935) July 23-September 14

In the early twentieth century, posing for a photographic portrait was an event -it was an opportunity for people to make meaningful visual statements about themselves, their families, and their communities. Those living in Fayette County, Alabama, and the surrounding area did not need to travel to a photo studio to have their picture taken. Instead, they could simply visit the Shackelford family. Mitch and Geneva Shackelford, along with their children, were multi-talented African American artists who played a central role in the rural Fayette County community of Covin. Though farming was their primary vocation, the Shackelfords were also commercial photographers who left behind a collection of more than 850 glass-plate negatives that are now preserved in the Birmingham Public Library Archives.

The Shackelfords photographed local residents and visiting travelers, taking pictures of individuals, families, school groups, and civic organizations. In an era when demeaning and stereotypical depictions of blacks were prevalent in the United States, the Shackelfords provided African Americans with a vehicle for self-representation. The Shackelford photographs offer a dynamic and rarely seen depiction of the African American experience in rural Alabama and show black people living full and vibrant lives in the face of the racial and socioeconomic oppression of the Jim Crow era. This exhibition offers a glimpse into life on both sides of the lens, telling the story of these remarkable photographers and those who stepped in front of their camera.
Opening lecture and reception featuring Dr. Psyche Williams-Forson
July 24, 6:30 p.m., Arrington Auditorium

Curator Andrew Nelson and Shackelford decendent Annie Shackelford Gallery Talk
July 26, 12:00 p.m., 4th Floor Gallery of the Central Library

Press and Publications
Brochure (pdf)
Press Release

Page Last Modified: 2/28/2024 9:21 AM