UW-Stevens Point exhibit commemorates civil rights history

Portraits remembering the heroes of the 1963 Birmingham, Ala., civil rights movement will be featured in an exhibit at the Carlsten Art Gallery at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

“Debra Riffe: Holding the Line” will be on exhibit Sunday, Nov. 10, through Sunday, Dec. 8, at the gallery on the second floor of the Noel Fine Arts Center on campus. The exhibit marks the 50th anniversary of the 1963 Birmingham Campaign for civil rights. That year, several non-violent demonstrations, including the Children’s Crusade, were met with a violent backlash from local and state leaders, including the use of police dogs and fire hoses.

A free, public reception will be held at the gallery Monday, Nov. 11, from 4-6 p.m., with a presentation by Riffe at 6 p.m.

The exhibit includes Riffe’s 30 original relief portraits, printed from carved linoleum block to represent the leaders, activists, students and foot soldiers of Birmingham’s civil rights movement.

“There are many unsung heroes,” said Riffe. “(They) forced the national media to focus on a grassroots movement in Birmingham that changed the world.”

A Mississippi native who resides in Birmingham, Riffe has been honored for her work in several juried exhibits and publications. She is known for her prints as well as needlepoint designs and received a 2008 grant from the Cultural Alliance of Greater Birmingham. She holds a degree in fine art from Howard University.

The Carlsten Gallery is open free of charge, Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., on Thursdays from 7-9 p.m. and on weekends from 1-4 p.m. More information on the gallery is at www.uwsp.edu/art-design/galleries/index.aspx.



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