Sammie Nicely was artist-in-residence at ETSU's Reece Museum in the fall of 2014
JOHNSON CITY Multifaceted artist Sammie Nicely was an artist-in-residence for the 2014 fall semester at the Reece Museum at East Tennessee State University. His residency represented a first for the museum, and was made possible by community supporters.
Nicely, a man of many talents, is difficult to label, according to Randy Sanders, interim director of the Reece Museum. Referring to him only as a contemporary folk artist, Sanders says, diminishes his work as an art educator, a master teacher. Calling him a regional artist undercuts his broad understanding of African and African American art.
As part of his Reece Museum residency program, Nicely worked with students at Northside Elementary School and with youth at the Carver Recreation Center. He asked them to respond artistically to artifacts from his personal art collection and to artifacts specially selected from the Reece Museums collection.
According to Nicely, it is very important for students to see their work matted and framed as part of the finished product. I am quite happy to be working with Northside Elementary and Carver Recreation Center to give students a chance to explore the creative process and have the opportunity to showcase their work in a museum. This residency gives me the opportunity to showcase my personal collection of African and African American art as well.
In early 2015, Nicely curated EXUBERANCE! Kids Make Art about Art, an exhibition at the Reece Museum of the students work. Later in 2015, he will curate a second Reece Museum exhibit drawn from his personal art collection and related pieces from other non-ETSU collections.
We are excited to have Mr. Nicely curating these exhibitions, Sanders said. Showcasing the exuberant art of children and a second exhibit illustrating his discerning eye and vast connections with other collectors of African American art is a win-win combination for ETSU and the Reece Museum.
Finally, Nicely will delivered two lectures: one about what his experiences in the public schools have taught him about art education in general and African American art education, specifically; and a second about his extensive network of African American art collectors.
The Reece Museum, a unit of the Center for Appalachian Studies and Services, is free and open to the public. For more information, 423-439-4392 or visit www.etsu.edu/cas/cass/reece/.