MCA to Host Internationally Renowned Photographer, Activist LaToya Ruby Frazier



Frazier to present free lecture at college as 2017 Downing Pryor Distinguished Visiting Lecturer
WHAT:  Book signing and Visiting Artist lecture by LaToya Ruby Frazier, an internationally recognized photographer and interdisciplinary artist, free and open to the public.
  • Memphis College of Art (MCA) welcomes Frazier as this year’s Downing Pryor Distinguished Visiting Lecturer, an annual event that brings nationally and internationally recognized artists to the college for a free lecture.
  • Frazier is known for her photography, video work, and performance art surrounding pressing issues in the nation including the Flint Water Crisis, immigration, urbanism and industrialism. She has received numerous grants and awards for her work; honors include being named a MacArthur Fellow, a Guggenheim Fellow and a TED Fellow.
  • Authored the award-winning monograph The Notion of Family (Aperture, 2015), which offers a photographic exploration of the legacy of racism and economic decline in America’s small towns, as embodied by her hometown of Braddock, Pennsylvania. The book was featured by The New York Times’ Lens blog.
  • Frazier’s work in this area led her to create Flint is Family in 2016, a body of work documenting the water crisis in Flint, Michigan and President Obama’s visit to the city in light of the problem. The project was a 10-page feature in Elle magazine’s September issue.
  • More information about Frazier can be found at latoyarubyfrazier.com.

 WHEN:   Tuesday, April 186–8 p.m.
  • Book signing at 6 p.m. in the Main Gallery
  • Lecture to follow at 7 p.m. in Callicott Auditorium

WHERE:   Memphis College of Art – Rust Hall
                  1930 Poplar Ave., Overton Park, Memphis, TN 38104
WHY:  The Downing Pryor Distinguished Visiting Lecturer Series was created to honor the late Downing Pryor, Memphis Civic leader and former MCA board member, and support the mission of the college. The fund brings world-class artists to the college each year for a lecture that is both free and open to the public, continuing the college’s legacy of enriching the community with art and guest lectures since its inception in 1936. Pryor’s friends and family endowed the lecture series after his death in 1990, and the fund continues to this day with support from community members. The college welcomes contributions to the endowment fund, which makes this prestigious lecture series possible. To make a gift to this Downing Pryor Distinguished Visiting Lecturers Series, please visit click here or call 901-272-5167.
For more information about other upcoming exhibitions and events, visit mca.edu. For media inquiries, contact Communications Coordinator Natalie Fleenor by email at nfleenor@mca.edu or by phone at (901) 272-5113.
Photos: headshot courtesy of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; LaToya Ruby Frazier, “Momme,” 2008 

About the Downing Pryor Distinguished Visiting Lecturer Series:
The Downing Pryor Distinguished Visiting Lecturer Series was created to honor the late Downing Pryor and support the mission of Memphis College of Art. Downing Pryor devoted 32 years as a member of MCA’s board of trustees, serving three times as its chairman (1961, 1967 and 1972). Mr. Pryor, born into the automobile business, was heavily involved in Memphis politics, serving as a member of the Shelby County Quarterly Court (now the County Commission) from 1964 to 1968 and the first city council from 1968 to 1972. In 1968, Pryor was the main mediator between the city and striking sanitation workers and, after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., he represented the city at Dr. King’s funeral services in Atlanta. He was recognized for his outstanding service as a civic leader, businessman and patron of the arts along with his contributions in the areas of education and race relations.

Downing Pryor saw the arts in a very special light, writing, “Each adventure with art adds depth and breadth to the mind and heart that enable the individual to go on to the next experience with heightened perception and understanding.” Friends and family members endowed the lecture series as an ongoing reminder of what one truly honorable man can accomplish in his lifetime and beyond. Downing Pryor died in January 1990. The college welcomes contributions to the endowment fund, which makes this prestigious lecture series possible. To make a gift to this Downing Pryor Distinguished Visiting Lecturers Series, please visit www.mca.edu/giving or call 901-272-5167.

About Memphis College of Art:
Memphis College of Art provides a rigorous curriculum in an intimate, diverse community to empower generations of leading artists, designers and educators to flourish professionally and contribute valuable ideas to society. MCA is fully accredited with expert, nationally renowned faculty and grants BFA, MFA, MA in Art Education and MA in Teaching degrees with graduates excelling in various careers across the country and internationally. For more information, visit mca.edu. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/memphiscollegeofart and on Twitter at @memphisart.

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