Lonnie Graham

Lonnie Graham

    Contact Information



    Artist's Biography

    Lonnie Graham is a Pew Fellow and Professor at Pennsylvania State University. He is former director of Photography at Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, an urban arts organization dedicated to arts and education for at risk youth. There, Graham developed innovative pilot projects merging Arts and Academics, which were ultimately cited by, then, First Lady Hillary Clinton as a National Model for Arts Education.

    In 1996 Graham was commissioned to create the “African/American Garden Project,” which provided a physical and cultural exchange of disadvantaged urban single mothers in Pittsburgh, and farmers from Muguga, a small farming village in Kenya, to build a series of urban subsistence gardens.

    In 2005, Professor Graham was cited as Artist of the Year in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and presented the Governor’s Award by Governor Edward Rendell. Professor Graham served as a panel member for the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington, D.C.

    Lonnie Graham is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts/Pew Charitable Trust Travel Grant for travel to Ghana and is a four time Pennsylvania Council for the Arts Fellowship recipient.

    His book“A Conversation with the World,” has been published by Datz press in Seoul, Korea.That project seeks to reveal our common humanity through interviews conducted by Professor Graham with individuals through out the world.

    Other exhibitions include an exhibition of photographs at Goethe Institute, Accra Ghana; an exhibition of collaborative portraiture in Christchurch, New Zealand, a group of works at Kulttuurivoimala, Culture Silo, Meri-Toppila, Oulu, Finland, a full scale reproduction of one of the educational galleries in the Barnes Foundation shown at La Maison de Etat-Unis, Paris, France, an exhibition of larger than life photographs at the Toyota City Museum in Aichi, Japan as well as a room sized installation featured at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Graham’s work can be found in the permanent collections of the Addison Gallery for American Art in Andover, MA and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, in Philadelphia, PA.

    Artist's Statement

    The definition of Art and Culture remain illusive. We feel compelled to manufacture meaning and weight for the esoteric efforts of the lone practitioner. The distance between the arts and society has grown so great that art makers have become agents for an exclusive self-defined reality. The burden of that distance has proven so disorienting that we accept the craftsmen's practice as a representative portrait of our collective selves.

    A truer description of ourselves and our culture lies in the way in which we address our intrinsic needs, food, shelter, and clothing; and with the respect we render our minds, our bodies, and our spirits. This is evident in other original cultures, and even our own pre-technological society.

    As artists it is our duty to embrace the culture and honor ourselves and our ancestors. We cannot speak wisely of what we do not know.
    As a society we must embrace the dreamers and visionaries as we collaborate our future.

    When artists begin to address our essential needs, we open a dialogue with our fellow human beings. Our role as the distant prophet, lone maverick, or clairvoyant shaman, dissolves in the tangible context of real life.

    Ego is the most profound hallucinogen.

    As artists we must not limit ourselves to the boundaries of our own imaginations.

    As our work centers on the needs of our community it becomes validated by that community and ceases its singular exploration.

    It sparks a fire in a thousand minds. As we work shoulder to shoulder with our community we fan the flames of enlightenment that burn away fear and prejudice and ignorance, so that we all might stand together in the brilliant light of human understanding.

    Selected Exhibitions

    Solo
    2019
    Solo Installation Photo Mural, St. Andrew's Community Cafe, State College, PA

    Conversation with the World, Firehouse Gallery, Camden, NJ

    2017
    Meie Tuleviku Minevik, Our Future Past, Our Future Past, Muhu Muuseum, Muhu, Estonia

    2006
    Lonnie Graham: A Conversation with the World, John F. Kennedy University, Berkeley, CA

    Two-Person
    2017
    Resonant Voices, Datz Museum, Seoul, Korea
    With Jane Baldwin

    Group
    2019
    Portfolio Gallery, St. Louis, MO

    Portfolio Gallery, Maryville University, St. Louis, MO

    Into the World, Diego Rivera Gallery, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA

    2018
    The Great Migration, Slought Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
    Scribe Video

    tender voices like poems, The African American Museum of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
    Scribe Video

    number 45, Artists Respond to the Political Landscape, Iona College Gallery, Iona College, NY

    Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh, PA

    2009 - 2017
    Works of Art on Paper, Toyota Museum, Toyota City, Japan

    2016
    Acadia Summer Art Program, Acadia National Park, Mount Desert Island, ME

    2015
    Artbox, Polyphony, New Zealand
    With Maori of Christchurch

    Kulttuurivoimala, Culture Silo, Meri-Toppila, Oulu, Finland

    Acadia Summer Art Program, Acadia National Park, Mount Desert Island, ME

    2014
    Social Practice: The Art of Collaboration, Nathan Cummings Foundation, New York, NY

    2013
    green Acres, Contemporary Art Center of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

    2012
    Conversation with the World, Tony Raka Gallery, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

    2010 - 2011
    Conversation with the World: Calgary, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

    2006
    Engulfed by Katrina, Nathan Cummings Foundation, New York, NY

    Silent Voices, Loud Echoes, African American Museum of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA

    2005
    Framing the Diaspora, Goethe Institute, Accra, Ghana

    In Focus: 75 Years of Collecting American Photography, Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, MA

    Saturday Night Sunday Morning, The African American Museum of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
    Inaugural Exhibition
    Curator: Deborah Willis

    Art of the State, State Museum of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, PA

    2004
    A Conversation with the World, Light Work, Syracuse, NY

    In Our Own Backyard, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Erie Art Museum, Erie, PA
    Fellowship Award Winners 2002/2003

    Reflections in Black: Smithsonian African American Photography, Oakland Museum of California, Oakland, CA

    2001
    100 African American Photographers, 1949 - 1999, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, NY

    2000
    Reflections in Black: History of Black Photographers 1840 to the Present, Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C.

    Biennial 2000, African Museum of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA

    1997 - 1998
    Wade in the Water, Smithsonian Institute Traveling Exhibition Service and National Museum of American History

    Pittsburgh Revealed, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA

    1996
    San Francisco Art Institute: Fifty Years of Photography, Transamerica Pyramid, San Francisco, CA
    Celebrating Faculty and Alumni

    1994
    Arts on 30, Heinz Foundation invitational, Pittsburgh, PA

    Inconspicuous Absence, Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, MA
    Installation of recontexturlized photographs
    Exhibition of DuPont Fellowship Nominees

    Other, Special Projects
    2018
    For Freedoms, Borland Project Space, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA

    Collaboration with Hank Willis to conduct workshops raising social awareness around political issues. Print large-format mural sized photographic reproductions of billboards appearing in the 50 United States representing the “For Freedoms: The 50 State Initiative”project. Print and distribute lawn signs across southeastern PA

    Ancestral Correspondence, Wissahickon Boys and Girls Club, Philadelphia, PA

    Installation of floor-to-ceiling mural sized photographs of participants from a six-week workshop conducted with Wissahickon youth and elder Boys and Girls Club members

    Get Exposed event, Black Sun Studio, State College, PA

    Installation consisting of a large full sized American flag painted white and torn asunder revealing a grid of photographs of blacks, women, and Native American portraits.

    2011
    6 Big Diamonds, Abington Art Center, Jenkintown, PA

    Installation linking indigent farmers in Wote, Kenya and Abington PA, funded by NEA

    2010 - 2011
    In My Father’s House, August Wilson Center, Pittsburgh, PA

    Inaugural installation room replete with artifacts depicting the life of an Afro-American family

    2010
    Fairmount Park Art Association, and Project H.O.M.E., Philadelphia, PA
    Church Lot and Common Room

    New construction of neighborhood meditation area and renovation of community workspace

    2009
    A Change in the Making, Monkey Biz, Cape Town South Africa, CosaCosa, Philadelphia, PA

    Photo-documentary exploring how societal change can be secured using the arts a vehicle. Co-Funded by Mid-Atlantic Arts, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and Penn State University

    2007 - 2009
    A Conversation with the World: San Francisco, San Francisco Art Commission, San Francisco Art Commission Gallery, San Francisco, CA.

    A series of 9 portraits, larger than life photographs installed at city hall. Public art portion consisted of one dozen, four by twelve feet tall posters installed in columns in specified sites around downtown San Francisco.

    2008
    A Conversation with the World: Eatonville, Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts, Eatonville, FL

    A Conversation with the World: Eatonville, Exhibition of photographs with text from socio- anthropological exploration. 20 archival inkjet prints with text panels featuring interviews with the residents of Eatonville, Florida

    2006
    A Conversation at the Table, Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia, PA

    Installation as nexus for Philadelphia arts organizations to address essential human issues

    2005 - 2006
    Down the Garden Path; Twin Gardens of the Americas, Queens Museum, Corona Park, Flushing Meadows, Queens, NY
    Photographic installation; exterior community garden installation

    2004
    Commissioned Photographer: “Dr. Albert Barns, Man Behind the Foundation Exhibition of Photographs and Artifacts from the Barnes Foundation"
    La Maison de Etat-Unis, Paris, France

    Project Rowhouses, Houston, TX
    A Social Study; sponsored tie-dye workshop for single moms with east African artist Lucy Lau

    2002
    Memorialization, Acknowledgement, Enlightenment
    Spoleto Festival, Charleston, SC, Installation on three sites acknowledging African Americans

    2001
    Without Sanctuary Media Installation, Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA

    2000
    Living in a Spirit House, the Artists studio: Foundation for the Future, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
    Artist uses honorarium to establish a scholarship fund

    1998
    In Context, Living in a Spirit House, the Artists studio: A Home and the Homeless, Nexus Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
    Artists stipend the artist feeds and clothes the homeless

    1996
    Art of the Matter: Living in a Spirit House, Conversations at my Fathers Table, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, New York, NY
    Installation sponsored by Dieu Donne, New York, NY

    Points of Entry, Three Rivers Arts Festival, Pittsburgh, PA
    Commission for public art and installation of triptych Living in a Spirit House and The African American Garden Project with Fugitive Traces, high impact outdoor installations using billboards

    1995
    Collaboration At It's Best: Living in a Spirit House, Conversations at My Father's Table, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
    Artifacts, handmade paper, limited edition photogravure book

    1994 - 1995
    Living in a Spirit House, Aunt Dora's Room, National African American Museum Project, "Imagining Families", Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
    Installation with artifacts

    1993
    Living in a Spirit House, The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia, PA
    Installation of two tableaux with artifacts, hand screened wallpaper, yardage and silks

    Artist's Bibliography

    2019
    "Ancestral Correspondence: Looking back at Our Future", Great Migration PHL, in collaboration with Scribe Video

    Razafimandimbimanana, Elatiana, "Langues & Photographie," interview with the Artist, Université de la Nouvelle Calédonie

    1994
    "Imagining Families," Smithsonian Institution Exhibition Catalog, pg. 9, 30-32

    1993
    "Identity Approached with a Cutting Edge and a Kindly Nostalgia," Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, PA, pg. 19, July 2, 1993

    Professional Experience

    2003 - Present
    Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA
    Professor of Visual Arts and Photography

    2007 - 2017
    Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Art, Eatonville, FL
    Resident Curator

    2007 - 2009
    Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia, PA
    Acting Associate Director

    2002 - 2007
    San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA
    Visiting Instructor of Graduate Studies

    2002 - 2007
    Barnes Foundation, Marion, PA
    Instructor of Special Programs/Oral Historian

    1998 - 2001
    Three Rivers Arts Festival, Pittsburgh, PA
    Curator in Residence/Juror

    1998 - 2001
    Haverford College, Haverford, PA
    Visiting Professor of Fine Arts and General Programs

    1990 - 1997
    Manchester Craftsmen's Guild, Pittsburgh, PA
    Director of Photography, After School Program

    Lectures & Workshops

    2019
    BKC Brooklyn Central, Brooklyn, NY
    Photo Cafe, Talks on Photography, discussion on analogue photography

    Sustainability Institute, HUB Flex Theatre, Penn State University, University Park, PA
    Lecture advancing collaborative issues of sustainability in the arts and sciences

    2018
    African American Museum of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
    Tone Poems, Great Migration
    Sponsored by Scribe Video, panel moderated by Louis Messiah

    2017
    Muhu Muuseum, Muhu, Estonia
    Meie Tuleviku Minevik, Our Future Past, Our Future Past
    Gallery talk, interpreted into Estonian

    Datz Museum, Seoul, Korea
    Resonant Voices
    Exhibition gallery talk and community round table

    Datz Press, Seoul, Korea
    Public presentation and lecture, Art and Social Activism

    2016
    Acadia National Park, Mount Desert Island, ME
    Public lecture for Acadia Summer Art Program, retained in A.S.A.P. archive

    2015
    University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand
    Art and Social Activism, Polyphony
    Polyphony Lecture and public forum with Maori of Christchurch

    Culture Silo, Meri-Toppila, Oulu, Finland
    Kulttuurivoimala
    Lecture and gallery talk concurrent with celebration of the Migrating Fish Goddess

    2014
    Nathan Cummings Foundation, New York, NY
    Social Practice: The Art of Collaboration
    Lecture, public forum entitled, Social Practice: The Art of Collaboration

    2011
    Abington Art Center, Jenkintown, PA
    6 Big Diamonds
    Public workshop using natural dying techniques, with Kenyan artist Lucy Lau

    University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada
    Conversation with the World: Calgary
    Lecture on Art and Social Activism relating to project done in collaboration with indigenous Blackfoot and Blood community

    2010
    Fairmount Park Art Association, and Project H.O.M.E., Philadelphia, PA
    Church Lot and Common Room
    Opening remarks at Fairmount Park Art Association commemorating construction of neighborhood meditation area and renovation of community workspace

    2008
    National Museum of Iceland, Reykjavík, Iceland
    A Conversation with the World

    Photo Alliance, San Francisco, CA
    Keynote presenter for annual event. Portfolio reviewer for members

    Americans for the Arts Conference, Philadelphia, PA
    Panelist and presenter, Public View of the Public Artist

    2007
    Temple University, Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, PA
    Taboo to Icon: The Black Body in Modern and Contemporary Art

    2006
    Nagoya City University, Nagoya Japan
    Lecture to Graduate School of Architecture and Design

    LightWork, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY
    The Artists Commitment to Community

    August Wilson Center for African American Culture, Pittsburgh, PA
    Led discussions on perceptions of art in African American community

    Miami Art Museum, Art Basil, Miami, FL
    Introduction for featured lecturer, Carrie Weems

    2005
    New York University in Accra, Ghana
    Framing the Triangle, presented and led discussions on African influence

    Barnes Foundation, Marion, PA
    Patterns of Visual Perception

    2004
    Noyes Museum of Art, Galloway Township, NJ
    Bringing into Focus African American Photography

    John F. Kennedy University, Berkeley, CA
    Artist as Cultural Activist

    The Rockefeller Foundation’s PACT Program, Asheville, NC
    Art in the Public Interest
    Community Arts Network project

    Panelist

    Gustavus Adolphus College, Saint Peter, MN
    Presentation on Art and Social Responsibility

    Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, Baltimore, MD
    Community Arts Institute
    Featured Speaker-Homes and Gardens presentation of community-based art and social activism

    Creative Capital Foundation, Baltimore, MD
    Professional Development Workshop sponsored by Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation

    College Art Association, Seattle, WA
    The Activist Artist: Community-Based Art Practice, Lonnie Graham, Artist as Cultural Activist
    92nd Annual Conference, Panelist

    2003
    Oxbow School, Napa, CA
    Week long workshop in traditional photographic techniques

    Copia Center for Food, Napa, CA
    Food as Power

    2001
    Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA
    Without Sanctuary
    Panel discussion

    1999
    Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda
    Workshops on Foundations of Photographic Art

    University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
    Defining Social Activism through the Arts

    Fairmont Park Art Association, Philadelphia, PA
    New LandMarks Symposium

    Haverford College, Haverford, PA
    The Role of Photography and Memory
    Lecture and panel

    1998
    Airara, Papua New Guinea
    The Camera Obscura, a life size demonstration

    1997
    Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA
    Pittsburgh Revealed

    1996
    The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, New York, NY
    Art of the Matter
    Dialogue sponsored by Deiu Donne paper mill

    1994
    Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
    Imagining Families

    Heinz Foundation, Pittsburgh, PA
    Recontexturlisation

    1992
    The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia, PA
    Artist lecture and introduction to installation

    Awards, Residencies & Commissions

    2019
    Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Art, Eatonville, FL
    Designer, Zora! Festival, 30th Anniversary Catalogue

    2018
    For Freedoms Collaboration with Hank Willis, Richmond, Virginia, San Francisco, CA
    Document political and social activist billboards in specified locations

    School of Visual Art, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA
    Individual Faculty Research grant entitled the Evolution of Obscurity as a document of Turkana tribe

    2017
    Datz Museum, Seoul, Korea
    Residency for installation of exhibition and publication of book

    2015 - 2017
    Scribe, Philadelphia, PA
    Great Migration; Grant to trace the cultural impact of migration of people

    2013
    School of Visual Art, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA
    Individual Faculty Research Grant

    2012
    America Scandinavia Foundation Fellowship, America-Scandinavia Foundation, NY
    Awarded for visual investigation xenophobia in Oulu, and Sami migration into urban Oulu, Finland

    2009 - 2010
    National Endowment for the Arts, Washington, D.C.
    Artistic Excellence, Six Big Diamonds Project, Abington Art Center, Abington, PA

    2009
    Institute for Arts and Humanities, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA
    Individual Faculty Research Grant

    2008
    School of Visual Art, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA
    Individual Faculty Research Grant

    Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Harrisburg, PA
    Visual Arts Fellowship

    Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, Baltimore, MD
    Artist as Catalyst Award

    2005
    Artist of the Year, The Hazlett Memorial Award
    Governor’s Award for the Arts in Pennsylvania

    Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, Baltimore, MD
    Artist as Catalyst Award

    2004
    School of Visual Art, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA
    Individual Faculty Research Grant

    2003
    Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Harrisburg, PA
    Visual Arts Fellowship

    2002
    Pew Charitable Trust, Philadelphia, PA
    Pew Fellowship

    2001
    Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, Baltimore, MD
    Artist as Catalyst Award

    1999
    Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Pittsburgh, PA
    Emerging Artist Grant, Artist of the Year

    Light Work, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY
    Artist Residency

    1998 - 2009
    Fairmont Park Art Association, Philadelphia, PA
    Commission, New Land Marks Public Art Program

    1997 - 1998
    The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia, PA
    Collingwood Bay Project, Collingwood Bay, Papua New Guinea
    Commission to document Woowoosi harvest, tree used to produce Tapa, ceremonial dress and traditional currency of the Maisen tribe

    1996 - 1999
    Points of Entry, Three Rivers Arts Festival Pittsburgh PA
    Commission of African American Garden Project and installation Living in a Spirit House
    Supports subsistence gardens and exchange between Muguga, Kenya and Pittsburgh, PA

    1994
    National Endowment for the Arts and the Pew Charitable Trusts
    Arts International Travel Grant
    Cash endowment for a residency in Ghana

    1992
    The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia, PA
    Artist Residency
    Producing installation

    1991
    Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Harrisburg, PA
    Visual Arts Fellowship

    Collections

    Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, MA
    American University, Washington, D.C.
    Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
    Datz Museum of Art, Seoul, South Korea
    Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
    Museum of African American History, Detroit, MI
    Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA
    Schomburg Center, New York, NY
    Stanford University Library, Special Collections, Palo Alto, CA
    Price Waterhouse, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
    Delaware Museum of Art, Wilmington, DE

    Education

    1984
    San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA
    Master of Fine Arts

    1978
    San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA
    Bachelor of Fine Arts

    1977
    Nova Scotia College of Art and Design Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

    1976
    Ivy School of Professional Art, Pittsburgh, PA
    Associate in Specialized Technology