Posted by Stephen Johnson Photogaphy

UC Merced Library Celebrates Central Valley Culture

UC Merced Library Celebrates Central Valley Culture
Series of art and literature exhibits highlight region’s rich heritage


MERCED -- The UC Merced Library and School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts are “Celebrating the Central Valley” with a series of must-see special events designed to shine a spotlight on the Valley’s unique cultural heritage.
 
Featuring breathtaking and poignant photography from the past through today, the poetry and artifacts of Wilma McDaniel – perhaps the most prolific female writer from the entire region – a lecture by “Mr. Central Valley” Gerald Haslam and a guided walking tour of the exhibits by photographer Stephen Johnson, the collection promises to enlighten and entertain academics and those just beginning to appreciate the rich heritage of the Central Valley alike.
 
‘Celebrating the Central Valley’ is part of the goal of UC Merced to recognize the cultural production of the Central Valley,” said Jan Goggans , assistant professor of literature. “We write here in the Central Valley, and we take photographs and we paint just as they do in major cities like San Francisco and New York. It just hasn’t been as widely known. Having a research university here creates an opportunity for people to realize there’s stuff going on here – there has been for a long time.”
 
The second floor of the library is the stage for “From Hobos to Street People: Artists Responses to Homelessness from the New Deal to Present,” an art exhibit that includes vivid and varied visual interpretations of poverty and homelessness in California across the past eight decades. The exhibit includes works by Dorothea Lange, Rockwell Kent, Giacomo Patri, Francisco Dominguez, Jane “in vain” Winckelman, Sandow Birk, Art Hazelwood and the San Francisco Print Collective The exhibit is on display and runs through Oct. 25.
 
“From Hobos to Street People” is an ideal complement to “Okie Poet Laureate: Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel,” the exhibit on the third floor of the library that focuses exclusively on the Central Valley and interprets the experiences of average people through the eyes of a woman who was there, witnessing and living the same history.
 
“The McDaniel exhibit will contain a number of artifacts that our library holds,” said Deputy University Librarian Donald Barclay. “We have the literary estate of this extraordinary poet, and that includes notes and drawings. She had various ways of translating her experiences into different forms of media; sometimes art, sometimes short stories, sometimes poetry.”
 
The archives are not yet open to the public, but some of the pieces will be on display. Kacy Marume , who graduated in May, spent her senior year processing artifacts in the archive. She has returned as the student curator for the exhibit since she is so intimately acquainted with her work
 
“If John Steinbeck is the male voice of the Dust Bowl, then Wilma McDaniel is the female voice, telling the stories of women in the Dust Bowl,” Goggans said.
 
The Wilma McDaniel Archive is held exclusively by the UC Merced Library, and the pieces featured in “Okie Poet Laureate” were hand-selected to represent different elements of McDaniel’s career for this exhibit. Although it will take time to process the entire literary estate, Barclay and Goggans believe it is important to begin sharing artifacts from this important poet who captured the lives of those who endured poverty and prejudice for decades after their arrival to the Valley from the Dust Bowl.
 
The Wilma McDaniel exhibit runs through Dec. 19 and, along with the rest of the events and exhibits, is open to the public as well as members of the UC Merced campus community.
 

To enrich the visitor’s experience, “A Celebration of the Life and Work of Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel featuring Central Valley writer Gerald Haslam is an opportunity to listen to a lecture delivered by the man who is an expert on all things Central Valley. Haslam will present from 7 to 8 p.m. Sept. 16 in Room 355 of the library. A reception will follow.

Stephen Johnson is an acclaimed local photographer whose works are also featured in the library. Guests and visitors are invited to attend his illustrated talk “An Artist and the Land: Stephen Johnson and the Great Central Valley” plus a special walk-through of the Great Central Valley Exhibit from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Sept. 17, with a reception to follow. His and Robert Dawson’s photos rub elbows with historic photos in their book “The Great Central Valley: California's Heartland.”

 

 

UC Merced Announcment link

AT A GLANCE:

Sept. 16: “A Celebration of the Life and Work of Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel featuring Central Valley writer Gerald Haslam,” 7 to 8 p.m., UC Merced Library, Room 355. Reception to follow. Info: 209-228-2997 or jgoggans@ucmerced.edu.

Sept. 17: “An Artist and the Land: Stephen Johnson and the Great Central Valley,” 7:30 to 9 p.m., UC Merced Library, Room 355. Reception to follow. Info: 209-201-9724 or dbarclay@ucmerced.edu.

Now through Oct. 25: “From Hobos to Street People: Artists Responses to Homelessness from the New Deal to Present,” UC Merced Library, Second Floor. Info: 209-658-7146.

Now through Dec. 19: “Okie Poet Laureate: Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel,” UC Merced Library, Third Floor. Info: 209-658-7146.
 

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UC Merced opened Sept. 5, 2005, as the 10th campus in the University of California system and the first American research university of the 21st century. The campus significantly expands access to the UC system for students throughout the state, with a special mission to increase college-going rates among students in the San Joaquin Valley. It also serves as a major base of advanced research and as a stimulus to economic growth and diversification throughout the region. Situated near Yosemite National Park, the university is expected to grow rapidly, topping out at about 25,000 students within 30 years.

Posted by Stephen Johnson Photogaphy


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Last updated on September 9, 2009. Mail comments to: info@sjphoto.com
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