01/13/08 — Art exhibit will kick off '08 Wayne County Reads

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Art exhibit will kick off '08 Wayne County Reads

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on January 13, 2008 2:09 AM

The 2008 Wayne County Reads season begins Thursday with an art exhibit celebrating the county's racial and cultural diversity.

The kick-off event, which will be held in the Arts Council of Wayne County, is free to the public and begins with a reception at 5 p.m. followed at 6 p.m. by a 45-minute performance by nationally known storyteller Gran' Daddy Junebug of Southern Pines. After the performance, refreshments will be served while visitors peruse the art works created by students from eight public schools. The exhibit is titled "A Sunday Afternoon With Family & Friends."

Arts Council of Wayne County Executive Director Sarah Merritt said the exhibit's theme deals with how, although people are all a little different, they share many similarities -- "like in the way we all spend a Sunday afternoon."

The celebration of Wayne County's rich diversity grows out of the topic of the 2008 Wayne County Reads project. The book chosen by popular vote for this year is titled "Blood Done Sign My Name," a true story by Timothy Tyson. Tyson tells the story about his experiences at age 10, when a black man was murdered by a white family in his hometown of Oxford. The year was 1970, a difficult and painful time throughout the South. Many Wayne County residents living today experienced those times, and several will take part in a panel discussion at the end of the Wayne County Reads season.

Ms. Merritt has also planned a public art project to coincide with all of the events planned during the Wayne County Reads season. She has prepared a large-scale portrait of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and is leaving room in the background for people to write in the name of somebody who has been a hero in their lives, too.

"I hope to have room for at least 1,000 names," said Ms. Merritt, who hopes to take the portrait around to all of the Wayne County Reads events. "And it's free. The event is free, and you can become a part of this work of art free."

Schools participating in the exhibit include Dillard Middle, Eastern Wayne High, Meadow Lane Elementary, Northwest Elementary, North Drive Elementary, Southern Wayne High, Spring Creek Elementary and Tommy's Road Elementary. For information about Gran' Daddy Junebug, see the Web site at www.gjbug.com, and for information about the Arts Council of Wayne County, find www.artsinwayne.org or call 736-3300.

The exhibit will run Jan. 17 through Feb. 29.

The subsequent events scheduled for the 2008 Wayne County Reads season are as follows:

* Timothy Tyson will be featured at a reception, presentation and book signing Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. in the Moffatt Auditorium at Wayne Community College.

*A performance will be given by musician, entertainer and historian Billy Stevens on Feb. 4 at 7 p.m. in the main branch of the Wayne County Library.

* Local performers will present "A Portrait of a People: A Survey of African American Poetry" Feb. 8 at 7 p.m. and again on Feb. 10 at 3 p.m. in the Dogwood Building's Music Room at Wayne Community College.

*Wayne County Public Library will present the film "Mighty Times: The Legacy of Rosa Parks" Feb. 10 at 2 p.m.

* There will be a book discussion led by Dee Clere, a professor at Mount Olive College, Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. at Mount Olive College.

* The Seymour Johnson Air Force Base Library will hold a book discussion with Darell Vickers, director of Fayette-ville State University's base program, Feb. 14 at 7 p.m.

* There will be a book discussion with Liz Meador, retired English instructor and News-Argus columnist, at noon Feb. 14 in the Gertrude Weil Auditorium of the library.

* The library will present "Mighty Times: The Children's March" Feb. 17 at 2 p.m.

* Trudier Harris, author of "Summer Snow: Reflections on a Black Daughter of the South," will talk about the role of black women in the 1970s and today Feb. 18 at 7 p.m. in the auditorium at Goldsboro High School.

* Pulitzer Prize winning author Gene Roberts will give a presentation about Tyson's book Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. in the Wayne County Museum. A reception and book signing will follow.

* The library will present the film "A Time for Justice" Feb. 24 at 2 p.m.

The grand finale of the 2008 Wayne County Reads season will be the panel discussion on Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. at Rebuilding Broken Places, 2105 N. William St., Goldsboro, with several local residents and Timothy Tyson's father, the Rev. Vernon Tyson, participating.

Copies of "Blood Done Sign My Name" are available at the public library branches and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base library. The book can also be purchased from the Wayne Community College and Mount Olive College bookstores and from Books-A-Million in Goldsboro.