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Home » News » Alumna Keri Watson Curates NEA-Sponsored Florida Arts Exhibition

Alumna Keri Watson Curates NEA-Sponsored Florida Arts Exhibition

Published December 8, 2016

watsonDr. Keri Watson (PhD 2010), Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of Central Florida, has curated the exhibition In the Eyes of the Hungry: Florida’s Changing Landscape, which will open at the University of Central Florida Art Gallery in February 2017.

Inspired by John Steinbeck’s Pulitzer-Prize winning novel The Grapes of Wrath, this exhibition of Florida artists seeks to inspire and contribute to conversations about demographic, geographic, and environmental shifts, with an emphasis on human relationships with the landscape. The selected artists, including Cesar Cornejo, Mark Messersmith, Lilian Garcia-Roig, Donald Martin, Noelle Mason, Lisa Mills, Brooks Dierdorff, Carl Knickerbocker, Arthur Rothstein, Carl Mydans, Jack Delano, Marion Post Wolcott, Gordon Parks, and Emil Holzhauer, provide immediate yet transcendental responses to the environment that explore ideas such as conservation, migration, agriculture, poverty, homelessness, and local food security.

Watson specializes in modern American art and the history of photography. She has published on the photography of Margaret Bourke-White, Eudora Welty, and Berenice Abbott. The accompanying exhibition catalogue features essays by Watson and by Connie Lester, and poetry by Terry Ann Thaxton.


Lillian Garcia-Roig, Tannic Waters, 2014

The exhibition opens at the UCF Art Gallery on Monday, February 27. Associated programming includes an artist talk by Cesar Cornejo and lectures by Dr. John Fauth, Associate Professor of Biology at UCF, Dr. Susan Shillinglaw, Director of the National Steinbeck Center and Professor of English at San Jose State University, and Dr. Cindy Hahamovitch, Professor of History at the College of William and Mary. The exhibition will travel to the Terrace Gallery at Orlando City Hall (March 16-April 30) as part of the UCF Celebrates the Arts Festival.

Managed by Arts Midwest, the NEA Big Read offers grants to support innovative community programs that encourage reading and participation by diverse audiences. “We are delighted to have received such a prestigious grant,” said Project Director Watson. “With this grant, we join a select few ‘repeat readers’ who have received the grant more than once. Last year we celebrated Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God and this year we are excited to honor John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. This is a great opportunity for UCF to engage the community in a discussion of art and literature, and this grant enables us to offer programs throughout the state. We are especially excited to have the opportunity to contribute to UCF Celebrates the Arts at the Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center, April 7-14.”

The Big Read UCF