Contributed by: APSU Public Relations and Marketing

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – The Department of Art + Design, with support from The Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts, is pleased to welcome internationally known artist, Amy Sherald, to Austin Peay State University.

Known for her stylized portraits of African-Americans, in 2016Sherald was the first woman to win the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery’s Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition; an accompanying exhibition, The Outwin 2016, was on tour through August 2018.

In February 2018, Sherald unveiled her official portrait of former First Lady Michelle Obama, commissioned for the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C. She will give a public lecture on her past projects and artistic practice at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27, in Austin Peay’s University Center Ballroom.

Her work undermines American beliefs about race as being defined by one’s skin color,” states Dr. Tony Morris, art historian and Art + Design department chair. “In her portraits, Sherald erases color in the skin and hair of her subjects. The absence of color in the figure is particularly jarring when juxtaposed with the colorful clothing worn by her sitters and the flat, color-field background space that they occupy. The presence of bright color elsewhere reinforces the deliberateness of her erasure.”

Amy Sherald received her MFA in painting from Maryland Institute College of Art (2004) and B.A. in painting from Clark-Atlanta University (1997). She was a Spelman College International Artist-in-Residence in Portobelo, Panama (1997). Sherald has had solo shows at venues including Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago, Illinois (2016); Reginald F. Lewis Museum, Baltimore, Maryland (2013); and University of North Carolina, Sonja Haynes Stone Center, Chapel Hill, North Carolina (2011). A solo exhibition of new and recent works first opened at Contemporary Art Museum, St Louis, Missouri, in May 2018 and will travel to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, and Spelman College Museum of FinArt, Atlanta. Recent group exhibitions include Southern Accent, Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina (2016), which traveled to Speed Museum of Art, Louisville, Kentucky (2017), and Face to Face: Los Angeles Collects Portraiture, California African American Museum, Los Angeles (2017).

Sherald’s work is held in the public collections of the Embassy of the United States, Dakar, Senegal; the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.; Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, D.C.; Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.; The Columbus Museum, Columbus, Georgia; Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Missouri; and Nasher Museum of Art, Durham, North Carolina. Sherald is represented by Hauser & Wirth, New York.

For more on Amy Sherald and her work, visit:

For more on this lecture, please contact Michael Dickins, APSU Art + Design director of galleries, at

All events are free and open to the public. All ages are welcome.