Jacob Lawrence: Thirty Years of Prints

Jacob Lawrence (September 7, 1917 – June 9, 2000) was an artist, storyteller, educator and chronicler African American life in America. Lawrence’s works are in collections such as the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Whitney Museum of American Art, National Gallery of Art, Art Institute Chicago, and Seattle Art Museum. Locally, Lawrence’s works are included in collections of the Walker Art Center, and Minneapolis Institute of Art, and the Weisman Art Museum.

In early 1996, the Weisman Art Museum shared Lawrence’s print works on paper in the exhibition Jacob Lawrence: Thirty Years of Prints. There were many events associated with this exhibition beginning with a special opening reception and preview honoring Jacob Lawrence and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence on Jan 20, 1996. This event came to my attention while I processing binders of photos and slides (now foldered in box #250). One binder titled “Photos of Important People”  included whole section dedicated to the Lawrence tribute.

Here’s a selection of the images from that evening:

Jacob Lawrence approaches the podium, WAM director Lyndel King applauding

Artist Jacob Lawrence holds up honorary degrees from UMN

Mayor Norm Coleman presents Lawrence with a Proclomation

Nils Hasselmo welcomes guests

Sunny Givens and Archie Givens, Jr.





Louis Bellamy with guests

Bobby McFerrin with guests

Judge Alan Page, Nancy Sims Page and Jacob Lawrence




Judge (and former Viking) Alan Page with Mia’s Evan Maurer

Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence and Minneapolis Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton


Phoebe Givens (left), Robyne Robinson (right)













Other archival materials related to this exhibition:

Lawrence Opening and Preview Program, front and back. Note the long list of events!

Lawrence Opening and Preview Program, inside

Postcard for a later Tribute event










Heather Carroll is the processing archivist for the Weisman Art Museum‘s collection at the University of Minnesota Archives. This project was made possible by funds provided by the State of Minnesota from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the Minnesota Historical Society.