In 1967, prodded by local protests for democratic representation, President Johnson appointed Walter Washington the first mayor of Washington, DC. In 1973 the US Congress instituted Home Rule for the District of Columbia, granting the city’s citizens limited voting rights on local issues. No doubt Johnson and Congress, intentionally or not, were tilting toward eventual statehood. The late 1960s and early 1970s were instrumental in the political future of Washington DC. Like the nation at large, the city was changing. DC was demanding its right to speak for itself.
Posters have historically informed the public of events, causes, and actions. The Workshop, Inc., founded in 1968 and guided by the artist Lou Stovall, created posters serving these purposes. Today the Stovall posters offer us a view into a critical transitional period in the District of Columbia. The array of messages - political, social, and artistic - worked towards building a community, helping to define its members and goals. The Stovall posters, created around the time of DC independence, were a serious form of communication. Yet, the posters are jubilant and entertaining. Stovall’s gift for bold, bright graphic designs is striking, often playful, never passive. The posters are clearly of their time as each displays the most contemporary aesthetic challenges of the period. Today, we may delight in the nostalgic feeling of their various styles. We should not miss the more subtle overall message of how a community coalesces and how inspired leading voices speak through artistic mediums.
This exhibition includes collaborations with the following artists: Gene Davis, Sam Gilliam, Walter Hopps, Rockne Krebs, Lloyd McNeill, Paul Reed, and Di Stovall. The exhibition is organized in collaboration with artist and curator Will Stovall.
Lou Stovall was recently awarded the Larry D. and Brenda A. Thompson Award from the Georgia Museum of Art. Recent exhibitions include a presentation of What’s Going Around at the Columbus Museum in Columbus, GA, November 14, 2020, to April 11, 2021. Forthcoming exhibitions include Of the Land: Lou Stovall and the Poetry of Seasons at the Kreeger Museum, Washington DC, January 20–April 16, 2022, coinciding with the publication of Of the Land: Lou Stovall and the Poetry of Seasons, edited by Will Stovall, by Georgetown University Press in February 2022.