Alfred University News

Ceramics artist Paul Briggs returns to Alfred University for lecture, gallery/poetry reading

By popular demand, Paul S. Briggs ’92 (MSEd) returns to Alfred University for a public lecture and Alfred Ceramic Art Museum gallery talk.

Briggs, whose Knot Stories exhibition opened at ACAM Feb. 23, will deliver a public lecture Thursday, March 23 at 4:30 pm in the Nevins Theater of Alfred University’s Powell Campus Center. He will deliver a gallery talk at 4:30 pm the following day, Friday, March 24 at the Alfred Ceramic Art Museum, where there also will be a reading of Black poets who have inspired Briggs, including: Maya Angelou, Lucille Clifton, Langston Hughes, Harryette Mullen, Audre Lorde, and Sonia Sanchez. Readers of the poetry will include Alfred University students Victoria Walton, Chelsea McMaster, and Hudson Bell.

The Alfred Ceramic Art Museum acquired for its permanent collection Briggs’s work Caged Birds, made in 2021. The work draws on Angelou’s poem “Caged Bird,” whose title Angelou also used in her 1969 memoir I know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Angelou’s poem describes a bird trapped in a narrow cage with limited mobility, only able to sing about the freedom it has never had and cannot attain. Angelou’s caged bird, a metaphor for the Black community's past and ongoing experience of racism in the United States, can also be read as portraying the experience of any oppressed or marginalized community by relating it to the emotional suffering of the caged bird.

The exhibition Knot Stories is sponsored by a generous funding gift provided by D. Philip Baker and David R. Bender. The exhibition may be seen along with Selections: The Archive, a view into the permanent collection of the Alfred Ceramic Art Museum, focusing on recent acquisitions in context with other major works. Both exhibitions are on view until July 30, 2023.

ACAM hours are: Tuesday through Sunday 10 am to 5 pm. View the museum website here. Alfred Ceramic Art Museum membership information is available online, or by contacting Alfred Ceramic Art Museum, Membership Office, Alfred University, Alfred, New York 14802. Benefits to members include free admission to the museum, 10 percent off catalog purchases, a subscription to the annual Museum newsletter, "Ceramophile," and invitations to celebrate special exhibitions and educational programs. For more information email or phone 607-871-2421.