Painting by Andrew Turner Donated To Cheyney University Art Collection

May 15, 2012

The Cheyney University art collection has been enriched with an oil painting by the late Philadelphia African American painter Andy Turner thanks to a gift of Patricia Kaiser. On Tuesday May 15, Ms. Kaiser met with Interim Vice President of Institutional Advancement Larry Green, Library Dean Lut Nero, Archivist F. Keith Bingham, and Mandy Santiago, Director of Development, to accept the painting "Mother Braiding Child's Hair" on behalf of Cheyney University. Accompanying Ms. Kaiser were Delaware Art Museum docents, Elaine Carter (retired CU faculty, and member of Delaware Valley LINKS) and Carol Clapham. 

The oil on canvas painting is typical of Turner's works which often depict domestic scenes. His paintings are owned by major art collectors as well as everyday people.  Ms. Kaiser purchased the painting to hang at the West Chester Community Services Center where she worked because she felt it would resonate with the people she came in contact with every day.

Larry Green remarked, "This is a nice celebratory gift to Cheyney University for our 175th anniversary and will enrich our collection. We will make sure it is exhibited in a place where it can be appreciated.”
Prof. Marietta Dantonio-Fryer, Humanities and Communication Art Chair, noted "At this time, we are increasing our fine arts exhibitions under the aegis of Cheyney University’s Center of Excellence in Humanities and Communication Arts.  In the past year we have shown the works of Purvis Young, an exceptional outsider artist; Dane Tilghman, who is known for his paintings of rural domesticity, baseball players, jazz musicians and others; international artist Chidi Ozieh, and Totem Rhythms, a display of totem poles made over a ten-year period by Cheyney University faculty and students in collaboration with local carvers, at-risk youth and native artisans from a variety of communities. 

"There are two galleries for art display on campus at Cheyney University.  The Biddle Hall Gallery hosts changing exhibits.  Carnegie Hall hosts an extensive collection of 170 pieces of art by African American artists.   These pieces were donated in 2007 by alumnus Mercer Redcross, founder of October Gallery, to commemorate Cheyney University’s 170th anniversary.  Plans include a display of a priceless collection of African masks and ceremonial objects donated in 2010 by the late alumnus Horace Phelps.”

Andrew Turner was born in 1944 in Chester, PA and was a graduate of Temple University's Tyler School of Art. He taught art in the Chester, PA public schools and correctional centers. His appointments included Artist-in-Residence and Curator, Deshong Museum, Chester, PA; Lecturer, Widener University; and Lecturer, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.  He also toured and lectured in The People's Republic of China.

In an interview prior to his death in 2001, Turner noted, "My paintings combine the drama inherent in seventeenth century Dutch painting with the brush work and the economy of the Impressionists. However, I look to the jazz idiom more so than to other contemporary visual artists for guidance and inspiration. I tend to measure the success of my pieces by how they stand up technically, emotionally and innovatively to a Coltrane solo or whether I've captured the spirit of the occasion, a la Ellington. The subject matter, sometimes nostalgic recollections of my days as a young tough, covers a myriad of common folk activities.

"The setting, usually my native Chester, is a beehive of creative stimulation or a deteriorating ghetto depending on my state of mind. At the very least, hopefully, these vignettes of experience will help to provide insight into some African American lifestyles and serve as an inspiration to my students and others to continue the legacy of African American participation in the arts."