Panel 58 of Jacob Lawrence's Migration Series
Dear Friends,

The famous artist Jacob Lawrence spent his long career exploring the history and struggles of African Americans. Born in Atlantic City in 1917, he moved to Philadelphia as a small child and then to New York where he studied with artists from the Harlem Renaissance. 

His Migration Series is now an American classic, and has inspired countless other artists. It’s a 60-panel group of narrative paintings depicting the early 20th Century migration of African Americans from the rural South to the urban, industrialized North. Part of the series is now owned by MOMA in New York and part by the Phillips Collection in Washington D.C.
Panel 1 of Jacob Lawrence's Migration Series
This week we share two stories from the State of the Arts archive: Susan Wallner's 1991 feature in which she interviewed Jacob Lawrence himself, then in his mid-70s. We also have Eric Schultz's 2013 story featuring Derek Bermel's Lawrence-inspired Migration Series Jazz Concerto, performed by the Princeton Symphony and the Juilliard Jazz Orchestra.

The impact and importance of Jacob Lawrence's work continues to grow. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has a current exhibition - one of its first since reopening - featuring his series Struggle: From the History of the American People (1954-56). The show is on display through November 1.

Are there State of the Arts shows or interviews from the past that you’d like to see again? Please let us know at:


And thank you for your recent suggestions.

The State of the Arts team
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The New Jersey State Council on the Arts, encouraging excellence and public engagement in the arts since 1966, is proud to co-produce State of the Arts with Stockton University, New Jersey's distinctive public university, in cooperation with PCK Media.

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