Pryor Center Presents 'Searching the Archive: The Photographic Legacy of Geleve Grice' Tonight

Harmonizers, Pine Bluff, 1950s.
©Geleve Grice Papers, Special Collections

Harmonizers, Pine Bluff, 1950s.

The Pryor Center Presents 2022-23 lecture series presented by the David and Barbara Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History in the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences concludes at 6 p.m. today, Thursday, April 27, with "Searching the Archive: The Photographic Legacy of Geleve Grice," featuring Aaron Turner and Robert Cochran.

Turner and Cochran will open with an account of their ongoing research into Grice's large archive, which began 25 years ago in 1998 when Cochran visited "Those Who Dare To Dream," an exhibit of Grice's work in the Art Department of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. The following year, Cochran wrote "Geleve Grice: Arkansas Photographer," which appeared in the Arkansas Historical Quarterly, followed by A Photographer of Note from the University of Arkansas Press in 2003, and curated an exhibit of the same name at the Old State House in Little Rock.

And that was it for nearly two decades. Then in 2019 Turner arrived in Fayetteville. A native Arkansan artist with training in archiving and a special interest in the region's African American photographers, Turner saw at once that Grice's archive had much more to offer.  

The concluding section of the program will feature current work being done by Turner's students. First, Larissa Ramey will present "What If We Counter," which calls attention back to the Black archive, performance, installation and fashion. Ramey's practice investigates the intersection of Black culture, archival theory, performance and identity. She will share the process of actively participating in the archives and collaborating with her community. "What If We Counter" is about how Ramey facilitates her sources of how she carves out space for herself within art and life. 

Megan Pobywajlo will present "Switchboard as Blueprint," which looks at the former U of A student-run publication Ozark Mountain Times and their program Fayetteville Switchboard. Pobywajlo will speak about these two student-run initiatives as a blueprint and as metadata on the university (state) repression of radical voices and a local micro-community's struggle against capitalism that speaks through the archive.

Kelli Ladwig will present "Wade in the Water," which looks at the former Black community that lived in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, centered around Pilgrim's Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church, which also served as a schoolhouse for the children of Tin Cup. Panoramic maps from the Eureka Springs Historical Museum Collection and the Bank of Eureka Springs Collection, Library of Congress–Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, postcards and photos of the church members from the Eureka Springs Historical Museum archives offer a glimpse into a vanished community.

Turner is a photographer and educator currently based in Arkansas. He uses photography as a transformative process to understand the ideas of home and resilience in two main areas of the U.S., the Arkansas and Mississippi Deltas. Turner also uses the 4x5 view camera to create still-life studies on identity, history, Blackness as material, and abstraction. He received his M.A. from Ohio University and an M.F.A from Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University. Turner was a 2018 Light Work Artists-in-Residence at Syracuse University, 2019 EnFoco Photography Fellow, a 2020 Visual Studies Workshop Project Space Artists-in-Residence, a 2020 Artist 360 Mid-America Arts Alliance Grant Recipient, the 2021 Houston Center for Photography Fellowship Recipient, a 2021 Creators Lab Photo Fund recipient from Google's Creator Labs & the Aperture Foundation and 2022 Darryl Chappell Foundation photographer-in-residence at Ogden Museum of Southern Art. He is assistant professor of art, photography and interdisciplinary practice and director of the Center for Art as Lived Experience in Fulbright College's School of Art.

Cochran is professor of English and director of the Center for Arkansas and Regional Studies at the U of A. He has written three biographies, Vance Randolph: An Ozark Life; Louise Pound: Scholar, Athlete, Feminist Pioneer; and most recently, a book on Charles Portis. Two of Cochran's books, Our Own Sweet Sounds and Singing in Zion, are studies of Arkansas music. Two others deal with the arts: A Photographer of Note: Arkansas Artist Geleve Grice and Come Walk With Me: The Art of Dorris Curtis. Cochran co-authored Lights! Camera! Arkansas!: From Broncho Billy to Billy Bob Thornton with his spouse, Suzanne McCray. He has served as editor of the "Arkansas Character" series published by the University of Arkansas Press, writing introductions for Kelly Mulhollan's True Faith, True Light: The Devotional Art of Ed Stilley and An Arkansas Florilegium: The Atlas of Botanist Edwin Smith Illustrated by Naturalist Kent Bonar, and coauthoring Reporting for Arkansas: The Documentary Films of Jack Hill.

The Pryor Center is located at 1 E. Center St., Suite 120. The event is free and open to the public, and parking is available on the Fayetteville Square.

About the David and Barbara Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History: The David and Barbara Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History is an oral history program with the mission to document the history of Arkansas through the collection of spoken memories and visual records, preserve the collection in perpetuity, and connect Arkansans and the world to the collection through the Internet, TV broadcasts, educational programs, and other means. The Pryor Center records audio and video interviews about Arkansas history and culture, collects other organizations' recordings, organizes these recordings into an archive, and provides public access to the archive, primarily through the website at The Pryor Center is the state's only oral and visual history program with a statewide, seventy-five county mission to collect, preserve, and share audio and moving image recordings of Arkansas history.

About the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences: The Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences is the largest and most academically diverse unit on campus with three schools, 16 departments and 43 academic programs and research centers. The college provides the majority of the core curriculum for all University of Arkansas students.

About the University of Arkansas: As Arkansas' flagship institution, the U of A provides an internationally competitive education in more than 200 academic programs. Founded in 1871, the U of A contributes more than $2.2 billion to Arkansas' economy through the teaching of new knowledge and skills, entrepreneurship and job development, discovery through research and creative activity while also providing training for professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the U of A among the few U.S. colleges and universities with the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the U of A among the top public universities in the nation. See how the U of A works to build a better world at Arkansas Research News.


Susan Kendrick-Perry, operations administrator
Pryor Center

Andra Parrish Liwag, senior director of communications
Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences


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