Sunday, May 26th, 2024

Rituals and Power in Artwork

Conrad Nelson Lecture at Millersville on Oct. 23

The notion of rituals, function, power and ornamentation will be on display at Millersville University this month as the precursor for the Conrad Nelson Lecture on Oct. 23. The Department of Art & Design at Millersville University (MU) will welcome Dr. Sharif Bey to campus. He will deliver the annual Conrad Nelson Lecture and his work will be featured in an exhibit titled “Diasporic Musing,” at the Eckert Art Gallery. The exhibition brings together selections of ceramic work by African American artists who use western and non-western cultural influences. The exhibition will open at 5 p.m. on Oct. 23, directly before the Conrad Nelson Lecture with an opening reception until 6 p.m.

Dr. Sharif Bey, Conrad Nelson Fellow

“This year’s Conrad Nelson Fellowship is particularly exciting because Sharif Bey is an artist and arts educator,” says Heidi Leitzke, assistant professor and director of art and design, and coordinator of this year’s lecture. “We have a robust art education program, so he will be a great mentor to our students. We are also thrilled to be able to present Sharif’s work in the Eckert Art Gallery, in conjunction with his visit. It is wonderful to provide the opportunity for people to see his work in person; it is a completely different experience than seeing artwork in a photograph. He has curated an exhibition of four African American ceramic artists, ‘Diasporic Musing.’”

3-Star Child – artwork by Dr. Sharif Bey

The Conrad Nelson Fellow is an internationally recognized artist selected annually to give a public talk about their work and interact with students through classroom visits and critiques of their work. The Conrad Nelson Fellowship affords an exceptional opportunity for students to meet and have their work assessed by acclaimed, established artists. The fellowship is endowed by MU alumna Conrad Nelson and Luceille B. Hagarman.

Bey conducts workshops and facilitates collaborations in the visual arts for children and adults in schools, museums, art centers and universities throughout the U.S. and abroad. Over the past 15 years he has served as a resident artist at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava, Slovakia, The McColl Center for Visual Art, Hunter College, the John Michael Kohler Art Center and the Pittsburgh Glass Center. He is the 2017 New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship awardee in the Crafts/Sculpture category and the 2018 recipient of the Pollock-Krasner Grant. His work is featured in public collections including The U.S. Embassies in Khartoum, Sudan, Kampala, Uganda, Jakarta, Indonesia, the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Renwick Gallery-Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Petrucci Family Foundation Collection of African-American Art.

Bey is an associate professor of art at Syracuse University. He earned a bachelor’s degree in ceramics from Slippery Rock University, a master’s in studio art from the University of North Carolina and a Ph.D. in art education from Penn State University. He is a teaching artist with extensive experience in ceramics, sculpture, art community programing and art teacher training.

The Conrad Nelson Lecture is free and open to the public. Reserve your free tickets at

Bey will give the Conrad Nelson Lecture on Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. in Clair Hall at the Winter Visual & Performing Arts Center. In addition to his own works, ”Diasporic Musing” features works by Michael Clemmons, Mary Hakim Martin and Paul Andrew Wandless, and will be on view in the Eckert Art Gallery through Dec. 5.

Leave a Reply