posted by Allison Walters — Sep 13, 2021
Supporting excellence in the arts for over 100 years, CAA and its members are highly integrated into the fabric of art and its history, particularly in New York City. On September 1, 2021, CAA had the privilege to highlight its impact in an event featuring its distinguished awardees and partnerships. The event, an Inaugural Evening with CAA Distinguished Awardees and Artists, recognized the talent of CAA’s membership and reaffirmed CAA’s commitment and advocacy for scholars, artists, designers, teachers, young professionals, and many others.
Surrounded by recent artworks created by The League’s faculty members, CAA Executive Director and CEO Meme Omogbai introduced celebrated critic and curator Nicole R. Fleetwood. Fleetwood delivered a private presentation discussing her book and exhibition Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration, including detailed insights into the backstory and personal inspiration behind the important project. The book, published by Harvard University Press, unprecedently won both CAA’s Frank Jewett Mather and Charles Rufus Morey book awards in 2021. It was also reviewed across CAA’s publications, including The Art Bulletin, Art Journal, and caa.reviews. Fleetwood’s book accompanies a groundbreaking exhibition that began at MoMA PS1 in 2020 and continues to travel; it will open on September 17 at the Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and be on view through December 11, 2021.
The reception also commended CAA’s Outstanding Leadership in Philanthropy Award recipient, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. The Samuel H. Kress Foundation has supported CAA in its mission for over 60 years, through programs in art history and, more recently, digital transformation. With support from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, CAA’s new strategic focus on digital initiatives will bridge history, scholarship, and accessibility to better serve all segments of its constituency, especially underprivileged audiences.
The Art Students League of New York graciously hosted CAA for this event. Like CAA, The League is an organization with a long history of promoting the arts and education. Indeed, CAA and The League have been highly integrated into the fabric of art and its history in New York City and have been closely intertwined, collaborating on several events and initiatives dating back to at least the 1950s.
Located west of The League, the site-specific exhibition Re:Growth, A Celebration of Art, Riverside Park, and the New York Spirit, curated by Karin Bravin, included several artists from the CAA community: current CAA Board Member Dahlia Elsayed, former Board President DeWitt Godfrey, and CAA member Jean Shin. While the weather prevented a group walk-through of the exhibition, Elsayed spoke to attendees about the unique exhibition, her sculpture in the show, and its significance.
Altogether, the evening underscored CAA’s wide reach and impact in the arts and the talent of its members. As the largest international organization of arts professionals, CAA has a vital mission to promote the visual arts and their understanding through intellectual engagement, commitment to diversity, and advocacy. This upcoming year will provide opportunities to celebrate several milestones in this mission. CAA’s next virtual event in November 2021, will celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the publication of CAA’s seminal history, The Eye, the Hand, the Mind: 100 Years of the College Art Association. In February 2022, CAA will host its first hybrid Annual Conference in Chicago and online; registration will open in October.