Campus News

Dillard University Artists Honored With Prestigious Award

Photography by L. Kasimu Harris and Gus Bennett

Dr. John BarnesNEW ORLEANS--Two members of the Dillard University community are among the three recipients of the Outstanding Artist award from the New Orleans Chapter of the National Conference of Artists. John H. Barnes Jr., Associate Professor of Visual Arts and Program Coordinator and L. Kasimu Harris, a writer, photographer and the assistant director of communications and marketing, will be honored this Saturday during the 6th Annual Margaret Burroughs Symposium & Awards Program at Christian Unity Baptist Church.


L. Kasimu Harris by Gus BennetThe program features a keynote speech by Dr. Regenia Perry on James Van Der Zee, the late iconic photographer best known for his portraits of black New Yorkers and will honor nine members of the art community and three art organizations. Perry is the  professor emerita of art history at Virginia Commonwealth University and owner of the Van Der Zee collection. Both activities are at 1701 Conti St., on June 10, from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., tickets are $35 and that includes attendance at the symposium and the awards luncheon.


The prime theme of Barnes’ narratives revolve around a desire for justice and a need to tell the truth. Last year, he was a part of the New Orleans-based exhibit “Guns in the Hands of Artists” by Jonathan Ferrara Gallery, which was shown in Public Functionary, Minneapolis, Minn., and at the Miami Project during Art Basel in 2015.

John Barnes works on sculpture
John Barnes working on sculpture photo by L. Kasimu Harris

In 2015, he also was awarded first place for “Doe Poppin II,” a piece made from Red oak and plywood, at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in the Louisiana Contemporary, a show that was juried by Brooke Davis Anderson, then the executive director of Prospect New Orleans. Barnes also had former and current students selected for The New Orleans Chapter of the Links, HBCU Showcase, also at the Ogden. As an educator, he has guided a plethora of students into MFA programs and careers as practicing artists. The bulk of Barnes’ recent works have been commissioned sculptures for individuals and large corporations.

War on the Benighted #1
War on the Benighted #1 photo by L. Kasimu Harris

In 2016, Harris made his New York exhibition debut, with a solo show titled “L. Kasimu,” at the Warehouse Gallery in Red Hook, Brooklyn. He also exhibited in “Dandy Lion (Re) Articulating Black Masculinity,” curated by Shantrelle P. Lewis. It is a traveling exhibition with the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago that has had stops in San Francisco, Miami and London. The Aperture Foundation recently published Dandy Lion: The Black Dandy and Street Style, by Lewis. His work is included in the publication, and he is also featured as a subject.  This month, parts of his “War on the Benighted” series,  an examination of inequality in education for black and brown students, returns to New York for a group exhibition “Race and Revolution: Still Separate, Still Unequal” at Smack Mellon in Brooklyn.  


He created “Parish Chic,” a style column for the Oxford American, and has been published in Yahoo Food, Southern Living, The FADER, and The Bitter Southerner. Most recently, a feature he wrote for Edible New Orleans was selected for the book Best Food Writing 2016. Most recently, Harris was named one of eight “Louisianians of the Year” for 2017 by Louisiana Life magazine.


Mapo Kinnord, a ceramics sculptor and Associate Professor of art at Xavier University, is the third recipient for this year’s Outstanding Artist.


The remaining honorees:


The Lifetime Achievement in the Arts will be presented to John “Dr. Foots” Booth, New Orleans legendary jewelry artist; Dr. Stella Jones, gallery owner and African American art collector, and Dr. Regenia Perry.

The Center for African and African American Studies at SUNO, the National Performance Network/Visual Arts Network (NPN/VAN) and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art will be honored as Outstanding Arts Organizations.


Desmond Ables, Dwight Harris and Elise Vandergriff will be honored for Distinguished Service to the Chapter.   

The National Conference of Artists Inc., (NCA)

NCA founded in 1959 on the campus of Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia, is the oldest African American visual arts organization. NCA’s mission is to preserve, promote, and develop African and African American cultures, and the creative forces of the artists that emanate from the African World experience. The New Orleans Chapter of the National Conference of Artists (NONCA) was granted a charter in 1991.

Margaret Taylor Goss Burroughs

Margaret Taylor Goss Burroughs was born on November 1, 1917 in Saint Rose, Louisiana and died in Chicago on November 21, 2010. Burroughs was a history-making artist, an educator, and an institution-builder who helped create and nurture several African American organizations.  Burroughs and her husband, Charles Burroughs, founded the Ebony Museum of African American History in 1961 in their Chicago south side home, and it is recognized as the first African American museum in the United States. The Ebony Museum became the DuSable of African American History.

Dillard University Reunion 2018 May 10 - 13, 2018

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