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“We Hold These Truths,” celebrates 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation

Hofstra University Museum
Hofstra University Museum
The original exhibition We Hold These Truths, on view from April 16- July 26, 2013 in the Museum’s Emily Lowe Gallery celebrates the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Presented by the Hofstra University Museum, April 16-July 26

Funding provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts and the New York Community Bank Foundation

Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY – The original exhibition We Hold These Truths, on view from April 16- July 26, 2013 in the Museum’s Emily Lowe Gallery celebrates the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. 

Curated collaboratively by the Museum’s Associate Director of Exhibitions and Collections Karen T. Albert and the Museum’s Executive Director, Beth E. Levinthal, the exhibition examines artist responses to the powerful issues of slavery, middle passage, the abolition movement, emancipation and American freedom.  Artists of the past and present are featured, including Vinnie Bagwell, Willie Cole, Daniel Chester French, Richard Hunt, William H. Johnson, Glenn Ligon, Howardena Pindell, Betye Saar and Kara Walker, with works in a variety of media including sculpture, painting, mixed media works, and works on paper. Original resource materials such as slave sale receipts, manumission papers, and a funeral pin worn to mourn the death of President Lincoln are also included in the exhibition.

Beth E. Levinthal, Executive Director of the Hofstra University Museum, says, “We have chosen to memorialize this historic event through an original exhibition in our Emily Lowe Gallery.  We are pleased to have the support of the NEA, NYSCA and the New York Community Bank Foundation for this important project.  This carefully developed exhibit juxtaposes works of the past with those of contemporary artists as it explores issues of civil rights that resonate to this day.”

A fully-illustrated catalog, We Hold These Truths… with an essay written by Cheryl Finley, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Director of Visual Studies in the department of the History of Art and Visual Studies at Cornell University, will be available for sale during the exhibit. Interpretive materials including artist biographies and historical timelines on a touch screen kiosk in the gallery, along with a brochure for guided looking will enhance visitor experiences.  Children and families are invited to enjoy a self-guided ‘Great Art Caper” that takes them through the exhibition in search of clues hidden in the artwork to complete a message.

An exhibition reception will be held Wednesday, April 24, at 4 p.m. with remarks by contemporary artist Vinnie Bagwell, whose work is included in the exhibition. The reception will also feature a performance of original interpretive dances by Hofstra University students under the direction of Adjunct Associate Professor of Drama and Dance, Dyane Harvey. Admission to this program is free.

For more information on this exhibit and associated public programs please call (516) 463-5672 or visit the Hofstra University website at

The Hofstra University Museum has been awarded the highest honor a museum can receive, continued accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM). Approximately 4% of museums nationwide have earned this distinguished recognition. Accreditation certifies that the Hofstra University Museum operates according to professional standards, manages its collections responsibly and provides quality service to the public.

Hofstra University is a dynamic private institution of higher education where more than 11,000 full and part-time students choose from undergraduate and graduate offerings in liberal arts and sciences, business, engineering, applied science, communication, education, health sciences and human services, honors studies, the Maurice A. Deane School of Law and the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine.

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