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Experience UWF Downtown Lecture Series to host final installment examining murals, public art

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Experience UWF Downtown Lecture Series to host final installment examining murals, public art

The University of West Florida College of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities will host the final installment of its 2017-18 Experience UWF Downtown Lecture Series, a panel discussion of “Murals and City Space: Past and Present,” on Thursday, June 14 at the UWF Historic Trust Museum of Commerce. A reception will begin at 5:30 p.m., followed by a panel discussion at 6 p.m.

The lecture will focus on murals and the visual landscape through time. The panelists will discuss Pensacola’s history and the role of murals within city space. Amy Bowman-McElhone, assistant vice president of the UWF Historic Trust Museums and the director and chief curator for the Pensacola Museum of Art; Ross Pristera, historic preservationist for the UWF Historic Trust; and Dr. Jamin Wells, UWF assistant professor of history, will serve as panelists for the June 14 lecture series event. Dr. Amy Mitchell-Cook, associate professor and chair of the UWF Department of History, will moderate the panel.

The lecture coincides with an exhibit in Museum Plaza featuring large, outdoor murals created last November during the CUBED Gulf Coast Mural Festival and the Foo Foo Festival in downtown Pensacola. It also follows the UWF Historic Trust’s installation of two murals dedicated to preserving Pensacola’s maritime history. Completed in April, the maritime murals are displayed on the south wall of the Museum of Commerce and the west wall of Voices of Pensacola.

“Murals, and the urge to mark walls, are one of the oldest forms of visual art that dates back to cave painting,” Amy Bowman-McElhone said. “Murals such as these from CUBED Gulf Coast Mural Fest and the new maritime murals offer a public form of visual expression that is open and accessible to all and creates a strong sense of place. As such, they activate our city space and create vital and enlivened shared sites for our community through the compelling power of visual art.”

“This event will highlight public art and history on a grand scale,” Pristera said. “The CUBED murals have been a huge hit and everyday we watch people stop, look, take pictures and mention them on social media. The large maritime murals have activated once blank walls and provide a picture into the past. The key with all of this is balance so we have public art, but are not overwhelming the downtown environment.”

The reception and panel discussion are free and open to the public. RSVPs are not required, but seating is limited.

With seven installments during the 2017-2018 academic year, the Experience UWF Downtown Lecture Series showcases scholars of outstanding prominence who promote the value and role of the liberal arts in building and sustaining contemporary culture.

“These conversations are intended to spark curiosity and hopefully offer ways to examine the world around us from different perspectives, especially as it pertains to how we interact and understand the public spaces of our city that we all use,” Bowman-McElhone said.

For more information about the Experience UWF Downtown Lecture Series, visit uwf.edu/downtownlectures.

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