Artist and museum educator Randy Williams Submitted photo by Daniel Freel

Artist and museum educator Randy Williams will give a talk titled “Everything is Connected: The Art of Resisting Definition,” focusing on his intertwining career as a visual artist, teacher, and museum educator, at 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 6, at the Bates College Museum of Art in Lewiston. The lecture aligns with the Saturday, Oct. 7, closing of Bates Museum’s exhibition, “Selections from the Diversify the Collection Program,” which features a recently-acquired artwork by Williams, “My Vanishing Country Also.”

Describing his talk, the artist states that he will “show how an artist, college professor, and museum educator with fifty years at the Metropolitan Museum of Art advanced a multi-dimensional paradigm style of teaching into a single-teaching philosophy.” Williams will discuss three motivating factors in his development as a teaching artist: art is a metaphor for life, specialization leads to extinction, and art of value is often created in tandem with lived experiences.

Williams maintains two careers: one as an active visual artist and another as an educator developing new methods of presenting the visual arts in colleges, universities, schools, and museums. As an artist, Williams often explores harmful aspects of the past combined with evocations of current events in his complex assemblage pieces made up of both everyday ephemera and charged images. His artwork has been the subject of more than thirty-five national and international solo exhibitions, including recently the internationally-touring Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power and Just Above Midtown: Changing Spaces, which was featured at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 2022. He has had many solo exhibits, as well as exhibited in over 100 group shows.

Williams holds a Bachelor of Science in Art Education from New York University and a Masters Degree in Art Education from Sir George Williams University in Montreal. He has won numerous prizes and awards, including a 1982 Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts to the American Academy in Rome. He also has been recognized by the New York State Council on the Arts, Visual Arts Division, and the New York Foundation of the Arts with a Fellowship in sculpture. He received the Manhattanville College Excellence Award in 1995 and 2007.

Williams has exhibited globally, and, as an educator, has served as Instructor and Consultant for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Artistic Director and Master Teacher at the New York State Summer School of the Visual Arts, and Professor of Studio Art and Art Education at Manhattanville College.

Diversify the Collection draws from an endowment established by generous supporter, Leander W. Smith (1932 – 2014), in order for the museum to become a “…center for interdisciplinary projects and programs that expand and enrich the academic experience at Bates and in the community.” This builds on Bates’ commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion by providing the resources to acquire artworks that strengthen holdings by artists from underrepresented cultures and populations. Artworks in this exhibition explore aesthetic form,a variety of media, and many relevant issues. Artists include Nouf Alhimiary, Ghada Al Rabea, Sammy Baloji, Beauford Delaney, Brad Kahlhamer, Daniel Minter, Ebony G. Patterson, Martin Puryear, Yinka Shonibare, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Randy Williams, and Xiaoze Xie.

The Bates College Museum of Art is a cultural center supporting the mission, values, and aspirations of Bates College. As a teaching museum at a liberal arts college, the Museum of Art and its exhibitions, collections, stewardship, and interpretation bring a world of ideas to enhance the vitality of the intellectual and cultural life of Bates, the surrounding communities, and beyond.

The Bates College Museum of Art is located inside the Olin Arts Center at 75 Russell St., Lewiston. The museum is free and open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and also until 7:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays from September to May. See for more information.

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