Introduction and Acknowledgments

Dr. Robert E. Steele

The catalogue which accompanies this exhibition highlights Robin Holder's career as an artist as well as an art educator. I am thankful to Prof. David C. Driskell whose support for this project and contribution to the catalogue is very much appreciated by me and the Center's staff. Thanks to Dr. Lisa Farrington for her overview of Holder's career and Dr. Michele Cohen, whose essay adds a very important aspect to this catalogue and highlights Holder's involvement in public art within the context of the ongoing contribution of other African American artists to the field of public art. I also would like to thank President C.D. Mote, Jr. and the Office of the President for the on-going support of the David C. Driskell Center as well as the special support provided for this exhibition as a part of the Center's Visual Arts program. I also would like to thank the Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities, Dr. James F. Harris, whose constant support has been instrumental to the Center's achievements.

One of the David C. Driskell Center's goals is to educate future generations about the contribution of African American artists to the field of American art. As such, the Center has been fortunate to receive generous support from the Ford Foundation. Through this grant, the Center has worked closely with several high schools around Montgomery, Prince George's, and Anne Arundel counties in Maryland. The Ford Foundation grant provided the funding to bring students to the Center—for some of them it was the first visit to an art museum. In addition, Dorit Yaron gave lectures about Robin Holder's work to about 500 students; the lectures were followed by workshops with Holder, given to more than 150 students who learned printmaking techniques ranging from stenciling to linocut. Art teachers at the participating schools continued to work with students throughout the semester to create their own art inspired by the technique and aesthetics of Holder. Several selected student works are presented at the center with An American Consciousness. Also, with the Ford Foundation's support, along with help from LMD, the Center developed and initiated an online exhibition catalogue in addition to the hard copy exhibition catalogue. This online catalogue is available to anyone around the world who is interested in learning about Holder's art. In addition, this project allows the Center to reach many people who do not have the opportunity to see the show or purchase the catalogue.

I would also like to end my remarks by thanking the David C. Driskell Center staff. First to Dorit Yaron, who continues to efficiently and professionally carry out her regular duties as the Center's Deputy Director while working with designers, printers, and educators to ensure the success of this project. Second, I thank the Center's Education Program Intern, Kayleigh Bryant, who in May 2009 graduated with a BA from the Department of Art History and Archaeology. Working at the Center for the entire academic year of 2008-2009, Bryant helped develop presentations as well as gallery tours for high school and middle school students. In addition, she helped handle the daily logistics of this program. Third, I thank Ananee Korme, Office Manager, and the numerous undergraduate and graduate students who work at the Center. These students, under Korme's supervision, have been instrumental to the success of the Education and Visual Arts Programs. As I said often, the Center could not have achieved its current status without their hard work and constant support. I am also very thankful to the many people who provided their skills and knowledge, especially JJ Chrystal, Ken Ingles, and Greg Staley, the graphic designer, exhibition designer, and photographer, respectively, for their contribution to An American Consciousness and its components.

As part of its mission, the David C. Driskell Center celebrates the legacy of Professor David C. Driskell as an educator through its ongoing commitment to education. An American Consciousness: Robin Holder's Mid-Career Retrospective follows that tradition which has been carried out since the Center was founded in 2001. An American Consciousness brings to a new climax the progress of the Center. I hope that you will visit this exhibition in the Center as well as online and enjoy this exhibition as much as we enjoyed making it.