Spirit of Independence: Kent Bicentennial Portfolio

A seated indigenous person (Native American) holding a feather with an American flag draped on lap.

Image credit: Fritz Scholder, Bicentennial Indian, 1974-75, Lithograph on paper. Gift of Lorillard Tobacco Co., in commemoration of the Bicentennial. Collection of the Springfield Art Museum.  

Exhibit Details

December 2, 2023 - April 7, 2024
Eldredge Gallery

What does "independence" mean to you? This was the question posed to 12 American artists by the Kent Bicentennial Program in 1976. Sponsored by the Lorillard Tobacco Company as a celebration of our country’s bicentennial year, each artist was given the freedom to respond with their own interpretation of the question. The resulting portfolio presents twelve very different views of independence from the historical to the highly personal, and from the theoretical to the symbolic.

In 2023, as America continues to grapple with the lingering effects of a world-wide pandemic, ongoing and rampant incidences of climate change, racism, sexism, hate, and divisive politics, we ask: What does independence mean to you? What does it look like? Who is it for? Who has it? Who doesn’t? How does it function in your daily life?

This portfolio invites us to re-engage with this central question, and founding ideology of American democracy, as we enter into what will likely be yet another highly charged presidential election season in 2024. This exhibition is pulled from the Museum's permanent collection and features work by Audrey Flack, Fritz Scholder, Jacob Lawrence, Marisol Escobar, Robert Indiana, and Will Barnet, among others.

Spirit of Independence: Kent Bicentennial Portfolio is organized by Curator of Art Sarah Buhr.

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  1. Exhibit Support

The 2023 Exhibition Season is presented by Friends of the Springfield Art Museum, Inc.

Education and outreach programs for this exhibition are generously funded, in part, by Missouri Humanities.

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