9/15/06 Contact: Carol Whatley, 334/844-5690 (cwhatley@aces.edu)
David Granger, 334/844-9999 (grangdm@auburn.edu)

DEPRESSION-ERA MURALS OF ALABAMA AGRICULTURE TO BE DISPLAYED AT AU’S FOY UNION SEPT. 21

AUBURN - An exhibition of murals by Mobile artist John Augustus Walker, first shown in Alabama’s 1939 State Fair as “Historical Panorama Of Alabama Agriculture,” will open Thursday, Sept. 21, at 4 p.m. in the Auburn University Foy Student Union Exhibit Lounge and is presented by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

As part of AU’s Sesquicentennial Lecture Series, the exhibition of Walker’s ten colorful murals will open with a talk by Extension art specialist Bruce Dupree, who recently has done research on the artist and his paintings. A reception will follow, with Walker family members on hand to answer questions.

Walker was commissioned to create the murals by Extension, and paid by Works Progress Administration, the New Deal agency created in 1935 to provide jobs to the unemployed during the great depression of the 1930s. Since the murals were intended to last only for the duration of the state fair, Walker painted them with tempera, a water-based and less durable medium, rather than his preferred medium of oils.

The murals were in storage at Auburn University when they were “discovered” on campus in 1980, touched up, displayed and then stored again. The exhibition at Foy Union marks their first appearance since then.

Dupree said that Walker, who helped found the Mobile Art Guild, is known not only for his paintings and murals, found both in private collections and public buildings across Alabama and the Gulf Coast, but also for his work designing Mardi Gras floats, costumes and stage sets.
The exhibit will also be open on Saturday, Sept. 23, from 10 a.m. to noon, before the AU-Buffalo game, again with some of Walker’s family on hand to talk about his work.

For information, contact Carol Whatley at (334) 844-5690 or cwhatley@aces.edu.

Auburn University is a preeminent land-grant and comprehensive research institution with more than 23,500 students and 6,500 faculty and staff. Ranked among the top 50 public universities nationally, Auburn is Alabama’s largest educational institution, offering more than 230 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degree programs.

(Contributed by Carol Whatley.)


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