On view January 17 through March 11, Personal to Political: Celebrating the African American Artists of Paulson Fontaine Press presents 14 artists who capture the personal narratives and political discourses of African Americans across the country, reflecting a collective experience expressed in uniquely individual ways. This powerful exhibition of figurative and abstract artwork channels the poetry of past and present human experience, and boldly presents ideas about history, identity, personal story, and spiritual inspiration.

Join us on Wednesday, February 13 from 4:00-6:00PM for the opening reception of Personal to Political, presented in partnership with the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, and the John D. O’Bryant African-American InstitutePersonal to Political: Celebrating the African American Artists of Paulson Fontaine Press was organized by Carrie Lederer, Curator of Exhibitions, Bedford Gallery, Lesher Center for the Arts, Walnut Creek, CA.

The fine art prints in this exhibition were all produced at Paulson Fontaine Press, an artistic hub known for inviting a diverse group of artists to the studio to produce prints. Over its 22 years of operation in Berkeley, California, Paulson Fontaine Press has invited some 50 artists into its studio—many of whom had never before made prints. The printmaking process is a collaborative one; artists are not working alone in their studios but with a professional staff that can give them ideas about the effect their creative choices will have on the plate, and eventually, the print. For most artists, learning to work outside their own studio, in another space, and with different processes and materials can be exhilarating, frustrating, rewarding, and eye-opening.

Collectively, the artists in Personal to Political confront the significance of past and current events while taking an intellectual approach to various media. The artists have taken aesthetic action by making this work, and it reminds us that we can all take action. There are many ways to do this—by looking inward and considering new and other perspectives. The more we see, the more we know, understand, and appreciate each other’s experiences.

This exhibition was organized by Carrie Lederer, Curator of Exhibitions and Programs, Bedford Gallery Lesher Center for the Arts, Walnut Creek, CA