"Collaboration of the Dream"
March 4, 2021 | 9:30 AM - 3 PM (Virtual)
Lillian E. Smith understood the importance of art, in its myriad forms, in bringing individuals together, collaborating with one another, as she put it in “Trembling Earth,” “in each other’s dreams.” The Lillian E. Smith Center at Piedmont College hosts “Collaboration of the Dream,” a one-day symposium from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on March 4, 2021. The symposium will be available virtually.
The symposium will feature presentations by Chuck Brown, creator of Image Comics’ On the Stump and co-creator of the Eisner Award winning Image Comics’ series Bitter Root, Dr. Keri Leigh Merritt, historian, writer, and activist and author of the multiple award-winning Masterless Men: Poor Whites and Slavery in the Antebellum South, Marie Cochran, founding curator of the Affrilachian Artist Project and the 2020/2021 Lehman Brady Visiting Professor with the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University and the Department of American Studies at the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill, and Amisho Baraka, hip-hop artist and co-founder of Forth District and The And Campaign.
Smith knew the power of art in bringing about change and fostering within us empathy for those who inhabit the world alongside us. Smith wrote Now is the Time (1955) in response to the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education. In it, she highlights the importance of art in society: “To grow good human beings is the people’s business: a job that must be done in the home, at church, in the school; goodness seeps into a child from the books he reads, the art he loves, his play, his talk, his dreams and ideals, his awareness of others and their needs.” Smith saw the artist and the audience in a collaborative network around the artistic product, speaking to one another about their shared humanity.
Smith’s home in Clayton, Georgia is now an educational center operated by Piedmont College and directed by Dr. Matthew Teutsch. “Collaboration of the Dream” brings together artist activists speaking about the intersections of art and social justice. “To enact change, we must work together,” said Teutsch. “Smith understood the role of art in creating and fostering unions among individuals in the fight against racism, oppression, and social injustice. She saw that art can serve as the connection bringing us together and moving us towards a better society.”