History of Art Alumnae Featured at Southern Festival of Books

The Southern Festival of Books will feature History of Art alumnae Celia Walker and Susan W. Knowles on Sunday, October 14, from 2 to 3 p.m. in a session titled “By Means of Matter: Capturing Community Through Art,” held in the Legislative Plaza, Room 30. The festival (October 12-14), a three-day celebration of the written word, is free and open to the public.

Walker, director of special projects, Vanderbilt University Libraries, and Knowles, research fellow, Center for Historic Preservation, Middle Tennessee State University, will talk about their recently completed sesquicentennial project and collaborative effort known as Shades of Gray and Blue: Reflections of Life in Civil War Tennessee, an educational website on the art and material culture of Civil War Tennessee.

What happened to the men, women, and children in Tennessee who stayed at home during the Civil War? “Their stories, seen through the lens of the objects that were a part of their daily lives, reflect the ways Tennesseans adapted, coped, and thrived during a war whose reverberations are still felt today,” Walker said. Over the course of three years she and Knowles visited 23 of Tennessee’s 95 counties and a total of 74 historic homes, museums, cemeteries, and other historic properties in search of Tennessee-made or -owned art and artifacts that bring to life compelling stories of Civil War Tennessee.

Follow this link to the Shades of Gray and Blue website that was designed to place images of works of art and material culture objects within easy reach of teachers and students of Tennessee history as well as scholars at all levels. The website addresses such themes as Visualizing the War, Capturing the Flag, Holding Fast to Beauty, Taking Care of Business, Walking a Fine Line, Making Music, Building a Future, and the Persistence of Memory.

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