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Des Moines Art Center announces Fingerman Lecture 2017: Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole


DES MOINES, IOWA – On Sunday, April 30, 2 p.m., the Des Moines Art Center will present a lecture by Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole, “My Love of Art: A Lifelong Journey.” The event will take place in Levitt Auditorium and is free and open to the public, but reservations are required.*

Dr. Cole is a prominent academic and consultant on issues of diversity and inclusion. She enjoyed successful careers in both museums and academia. With a Ph.D. in anthropology, Cole was a college professor for decades before being recruited as president of Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. She was also president of Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina. She is a prolific author, editor, and recipient of numerous awards and 64 honorary degrees. She served as president of the Association of Art Museum Directors and as a member of the scholarly advisory committee of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. In March, she retired as Director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art.

According to Dr. Cole: “In the segregated south where I grew up, African Americans did not have access to public museums and other cultural institutions. But I was fortunate to grow up in a family where the arts were valued. My formal education, including field work in Liberia, West Africa; in African American

communities in the U.S.; and in several countries in the Caribbean broadened my exposure to the art of the African continent and its diaspora. During the past eight years, I had the privilege of serving as the director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art. It was a remarkable experience that propelled me into an even deeper love affair with African art and museums. I remain committed to efforts to bring greater diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion to all art museums and other cultural institutions.”

This lecture is the 28th in the series made possible through generous gifts by Louis and Lois Fingerman.

Prep Iowa

*Reservations can be made at by clicking on EVENT RESERVATIONS on the homepage.

Des Moines Art Center

Recognized by international art critics as a world-class museum in the heart of the Midwest, the
Des Moines Art Center has amassed an important collection with a major emphasis on contemporary art. The collection’s overriding principle is a representation of artists from the 19th century to the present, each through a seminal work. This accounts for an impressive collection that ranges from Edward Hopper’s Automat to Jasper Johns’ Tennyson, Henri Matisse’s Woman in White, Georgia O’Keeffe’s From the Lake No. 1, Francis Bacon’s Study after Velásquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X, Bill Viola’s Ascension, and Cecily Brown’s Half-Bind.

The Art Center’s physical complex marries with the collection for a totally integrated experience. The collection is housed in three major buildings, each designed by a world-renowned architect – Eliel Saarinen, I. M. Pei, and Richard Meier. With the exception of special events, admission to the museum is free.

In September 2009, the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park opened in Des Moines’ Western Gateway Park. Philanthropists John and Mary Pappajohn have provided funding for and donated 28 sculptures by internationally acclaimed contemporary artists to the Des Moines Art Center. The collection of sculptures by such artists as Louise Bourgeois, Deborah Butterfield, Willem de Kooning, Olafur Eliasson, Keith Haring, Ellsworth Kelly, Jaume Plensa, Richard Serra, Joel Shapiro, and Mark di Suvero, is the most significant donation of artwork to the Art Center in a single gift in the museum’s history. The Pappajohn Sculpture Park is a collaboration of the Pappajohns, the City of Des Moines, the Des Moines Art Center, and numerous corporate and private donors.

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