Young Photographer's Guest Lecture Series
with Eli Reed and Gail Nogle

The Artist and Elaine Thornton for the Art's Foundation is pleased to present the 27th Annual Young Phototgrapher's Guest Lecture Series featuring photographers Eli Reed and Gail Nogle; commemorating the Centennial Anniversary of Dallas photographer, R.C. Hickman. Join us on Friday, August 24, 2018 from 2:00pm - 4:00pm at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library, 1515 Young Street, Dallas, TX 75201. Click here to register: Young Photographer's Guest Lecture Series

29th Annual RC Hickman
Young Photographers Workshop

The 29th annual R.C. Hickman Young Photographers Workshop will begin on Saturday July 8th and continues each Saturday, on the 15th, 22nd and 29th, at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Dallas Public Library, located at 1515 Young Street in downtown Dallas. The R.C. Hickman Young Photographers Workshop will begin at 11:00am. There are no requirements to bring your own camera but if you'd like to you can but we especially want you to bring your interest. It helps in learning to take the best pictures working with the Foundation's best instructors.

2016 RC Hickman Young Photographer's Workshop

Marc Bushelle gave a wonderful lecture presentation demonstrating through photography slides and video as he showed history with the aid of Lily his daughter as she learned about dancer Josephine Baker, Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, the philanthropist/activist Mother Theresa, human rights activist Malala, astronaut Mae Jamieson and many more famous heroines of the twentieth century. Janine Harper, Lily mother, designed the many costumes that Lily modeled. The library auditorium was filled with delight at the refreshing views of life demonstrated at its fullest. Everyone experienced a treat at the 26th presentation of the Young Photographers Guest Lecture Series. After the program photos were taken courtesy of Gail Nogle, beginning with a group photo of some of the Young Photographers, Marc Bushelle, Janine Harper, their daughter Lily, Founders Dr. Artist Thornton Jr., Artist & Elaine Thornton, students Kyler, Artist III aka Trey, Gabrielle, Emma and Makayla.

Three young ladies are this year's winners of the Annual Gordon Parks Young Photographers Competition and they are: First Place Prize of $300 went to winner Emma Blackburn, 10 years old, for her photo “Happy 4th of July” and she also won Nkonyezi's Honorable Mention award for her photo “Monday Moon”. Gabrielle Randolph, age 10, was selected to be awarded the 2nd Place Prize winner of $200 for her photo named “Circles x Infinity” and Makayla Woods, 13 years old, won 3rd Place Prize of $100 for her photo “Shadows”. Congratulations, Winners!!

The RC Hickman Young Photographers Workshop for 2016 was a very good learning experience for more than sixteen area students of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. They traveled and visited Gail Nogle's studio, to see what a real photography studio looks like and for a grand experience of what its like to be a portrait photographer. And, as always, the students enjoyed a healthy lunch. As part of the arrangement with the Moorland Branch YMCA dozens more young student participants learned about the features of the camera and how to capture great photos. They all came away with a preview of fine art, and photojournalism, and got to meet some of the top people in the profession of the vast world of photography including Carl Sidle, Milton Hinnant, Charles Little, and Jesse Hornbuckle.

Congratulations! 2016 Gordon Parks Young Photographers Competition Winners:

Emma Blackburn, 10 years old, won 1st place and Honorable Mention for her photos "Happy 4th of July" and "Monday Moon"
Gabrielle Randolph, 10 years old, won 2nd place for her photo, "Circles x Infinity"
Makayla Woods, 13 years old, won 3rd place for her photo, "Shadows"
Photo of some of the participants:

1. First place winner, Emma Blackburn, 10 years old
2. Second place winner, Gabrielle Randolph, 10 years old
3. Third place winner, Makayla Woods, 13 years old

The Choice of Weapons Award Featuring a Young Muhammad Ali

The Choice of Weapons Award Featuring a Young Muhammad Ali was presented to Richard Roundtree at the Annual Gordon Parks Celebration held at the Gordon Parks Museum in Fort Scott Kansas, Gordon's home town. That year Richard Roundtree was the recipient (l) Artist Thornton (c) and Howard Bingham (r) circa 2008 – The photo of famed boxer Muhammad Ali was taken by world acclaimed Mr. Gordon Parks, photographer, author, and musician. For more information visit

Artist Thornton, Sr. interviews Muhammad Ali when he was a talk show host for ABC TV.

The RC Hickman Young Photographers Programs Kicks Off

The R.C. Hickman Young Photographers Workshop will start up on Saturday July 2, and continue through Saturday, July 23, 2016. This year will start off with more travel to great sites for taking pictures. The time will be at 11 am, meeting at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Dallas Public Library, located at 1515 Young Street, just across the street from Dallas City Hall. Students receive lunch at no extra charge and learn to take interesting photos and get good tips on using social media. The deadline for entries in the Annual Gordon Parks Young Photographers Competition is Friday July 22nd and the announcements of the winners will happen on Saturday July 30th after the 1 pm Young Photographers Guest Lecture Series. First Place winner get $300, Second Place winner get $200, Third Place winner gets $100 and Nkonyezi's Honorable Mention goes to the Fourth Place winner. Its a great show and tell for youngsters 10 through 18 years old.

DFW, it is a special occasion that we welcome Marc Bushelle, acclaimed photographer who will share with us a creative aspect of using photography as a way to educate and appreciate the wonders of photography. Marc Bushelle and his daughter Lily work together to illustrate a unique way of learning about our heroines: Lily dresses up like our cherished sheroes and learn everything about them through photos! And he has much more of his works to show and tell us about. Marc will be in Dallas on the weekend of July 30, 2016 to share his photos and experience behind the camera at this year's Young Photographers Guest Lecture Series. Beginning at 1 pm, at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Dallas Public Library in the Auditorium. Admission is free and the public is welcome.

The afternoon of fun and learning will be followed by the announcements of this year's annual Gordon Parks Young Photographers Competition. Mark your calendars and plan for an afternoon of summer fun and learning.

Little Girl Dresses up Like Black Heroines

Little Girl Dresses Up Like Black Heroines

David Valdez to speak in Dallas

Former White House Photographer and Native Texan David Valdez to speak in Dallas

Gordon Parks' Daughter, Toni Parks Parsons, Passes

It is with great sadness that we have to announce that -

The daughter of Gordon Parks, Toni Parks Parsons has passed away at her home in Torque, near London, England. Like her talented father Toni excelled in photography and classical music. She was a composer and her photographs were seen in exhibitions in many popular venues across the United States and Europe. She was a friend of Artist and Elaine Thornton, and her exhibition Songs for My Father was on display at the Irving Arts Center in 2003 on sponsored by the Thornton Foundation. She was a former Guest Lecturer in the program the Young Photographers Guest Lecture Series. She last appeared in Dallas in a musical tribute featuring Kermit Moore and the Dallas Chamber Orchestra as a commemoration to her late father Gordon Parks, a presentation by Artist & Elaine Thornton Foundation for the Arts. “Toni was like a big sister to us, and a genuine person who was straightforward and did not bite her tongue regarding any subject. She will be sorely missed” says Elaine Thornton, Founder. Toni, as she liked to be called was 74 years old. She is survived by her son Alan, her brother David and many nieces, nephews, grand nieces and grand nephews and a host of many other relatives.

Photographer: Artist Thornton Toni (l), Elaine Thornton, Gordon Parks and Carol Graham star of The Learning Tree movie in Ft. Scott, Kansas for the annual celebration of Gordon Parks
Photographer: Derek Parsons, Toni's husband, and Academy Award Winner for Film Editing of movie Battle of the Bulge Toni in her earlier days

Photos of the winners of the Gordon Parks Young Photographers Competition for 2015: Congratulations!

1. First place winner, Araceli Hernandez
2. Second place winner, Destin Bates
3. Third place winner, Rodrick Trey Aubrey

Photos of the winners of the Gordon Parks Young Photographers Competition for 2014: Congratulations!

1. Angelica Ann Fischer won 1st place and Honorable Mention for her photos "Lily's Reflection" and "Keys"
2. Leigh Ann Fischer won 2nd place for her photo "Pink Beauty"
3. Alex Spencir won 3rd place for her photo "The Simplest of Things"

Young Photographers Guest Lecture Series Successful

The Young Photographers Guest Lecture Series successfully concluded on Saturday August 17th with over one hundred patrons in attendance. Enrollment was up this year with thirty students signing on to attend the RC Hickman Young Photographers Workshop. The students went on trips to the Ross Perot Museum of Nature and Science and took photographs at the Produce Market in Downtown Dallas, at the J. Erik Jonsson Dallas Public Library and Dallas City Hall.

Adger W. Cowans gave an extraordinary lecture presentation featuring photos on his life, his career and his profound creativity. When asked, "What was your relationship to Gordon Parks, what did he mean to you?" by Co-Founder of the Thornton Foundation for the Arts, Dr. Artist Thornton Jr. Adger replied "He was my like my Pops. He was my Pops, he treated me like one of his own. I was there with him on the day he died." He answered numerous questions about the kind of camera equipment he used, how he achieved the picture he made, and the time he spent on movie sets. His photo collection included fine art visuals of light and water as well as some well known figures in the world of celebrity, much of it inspired by Gordon Parks who would have celebrated his 100th birthday had he lived. What a tribute to Mr. Parks, an inspiration to many photographers. The Young Photographers Exhibition will be on display at the BookEnd Bookstore on the first floor at the J. Erik Jonsson Dallas Public Library, located at 1515 Young Street in downtown Dallas.

The winners of this year's Gordon Parks Young Photographers Competition are:

1. Rohan Mirchandani for First Place
2. Adriana Hope Medrano for Second Place
3. Charles Morgan Engle for Third Place

There are three Honorable Mentions this year and they are:

Angelica Ann Fischer, Jacey Edwards and Tomisin Ogunfenmi

We had a wonderful year, and for the rest of this year and the next year, keep those cameras flashing!

23rd Annual Young Photographers Workshop

Artist & Elaine Thornton's NBC5 Interview with Mark Hayes

Deadline for mailing your entries extended to August 10th!

Young Photographers Program - Special Thanks

Special thanks go to the following Sponsors of this year's Young Photographers Exhibition and the Young Photographers Programs who include CANON, XEROX, Competitive Cameras, the Larry Hagman Foundation, Dr. Roslyn A. Walker, Bill Porter and Arlington Cameras, Larry and Maj Hagman, the Dallas Morning News, Seibert, Brandford Shank & Co., LLC, the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Central Branch of the Dallas Public Library, Jesse Hornbuckle Studios, and Daphne Hornbuckle. Without their support for these wonderful programs there would not have been a possibility of making this season of fine programming happen. Thank you for helping us to fulfill the Foundation's mission of educating and inspiring our youth!

Farewell old friend and advisor, we'll miss you, Larry!

Larry Hagman Lends Support

By now, most of you are aware that "Dallas" star Larry Hagman passed away late in the afternoon on Friday November 24, 2012 leaving the world to mourn. In remembrance we are also aware that he was the character we all loved to hate - JR Ewing - that in his reprised role he helped launch the tv show "Dallas" beyond the stars by renewing another season of segments that will air around the world. Larry Hagman was also known for other roles he played and such film and tv credits as "Desperate Housewives" "Dallas - War of the Ewings", "Orleans", "Flight of the Swan", "Nixon", "Primary Colors" and his comedic role as Major Nelson in the long running tv show "I Dream of Jeannie" which also starred actress Barbara Eden. Hagman's acting spanned the gammutt, from playing the good guy to playing the evil guy, his talents fully demonstrated his acting ability.

What some of us may not have been aware of was Larry and his wife Maj made profound major contributions and "give backs" to the world. Larry was a concerned enviornmentalist, advocating the use of solar energy. He cared about the safety of our habitation. In a "Shine Baby Shine" campaign initiative Larry invited people to consider the safe use of solar panels, "embracing the high performance photovoltaic technology made by Americans according to U.S. quality, enviornmental and labor standards....", for more information. Larry Hagman helped to contribute solar panels for use on medicals clinics in Haiti, built in the aftermath of the disaster that struck there. Among other contributions Hagman also worked with inner city youth during his lifetime helping to inspire and encourage a better world for us all by instructing in the art of acting and just by being a big brother in general. He was an advocate of organ donation, among many other campaigns and contributions for health and well being. As you can see: Evil Does Good, at least sometimes.

More information about Larry Hagman can be found at,,,, and and other websites.

Be sure to read his autobiography "Hello Darlin".

Larry Hagman, Advisory Boardmember of the Artist & Elaine Thornton Foundation

Larry Hagman, Advisory Boardmember of the Artist & Elaine Thornton Foundation for the Arts lending support to the Young Photograhers, shown with this year's 3 place winner of the Gordon Parks Competition, Jessica Berry and El Tonya Minor, past RC Hickman Young Phtographers Student in a talk at the Downtown Library recently.

Dallas renewed for additional shows

The famed television show "Dallas" has made a phenomenal come back to an audience an audience of tens of millions hungry for drama that only "Dallas" can provide. Larry Hagman, aka, JR of "Dallas" is also an advisory board member and supporter of the Artist & Elaine Thornton Foundation for the Arts. Our hats are off to JR aka Larry Hagman and his success on the TV scene of Dallas, and the show can be seen each Wednesday evening on TNT.

Nkonyezi Nanyamka - Former RC Hickman Young Photographers Workshop Student Remembered:

The Artist & Elaine Thornton Foundation for the Arts announce the establishment of the Nkonyezi Nanyamka Scholarship whereas students can receive scholarship awards to participate in the RC Hickman Young Photgraphers Workshop.

We were saddened to loss of Nkonyezi Nanyamka, a former RC Hickman Young Photographers Workshop student, and a 2009 winner of the Gordon Parks Young Photographers Competition. Nkonyezi attended the photography class for four years and demonstrated extraordinary talent using the camera. She was only 19 years old. We will miss her dearly.

The RC Hickman Young Photographers Workshop and the Gordon Parks Young Photographers Competition has concluded the Artist & Elaine Thornton Foundation for the Arts’ summer programming season. Students took photographs of some of Dallas’ historic landmarks and celebrations, enjoying the camaraderie of fellow student photographers at lunchtime. The emphasis this year was on digital photography and how to take the best photos and manipulate them on computer. Students were twice inspired at Guest Lecturer Irwin Thompson, this year’s Pulitzer Prize Winner, who shared his breath taking experiences on his coverage of the New Orleans disaster in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. David Parks shared some poignant moments as a professional in the world of film working with his father the late Sir Gordon Parks. Questions were answered in his frank manner regarding career, choice of equipment, and plain how to’s of film and photography.

Dr.Thornton and First Place Winner: Andrew Hefter

This year’s winners of the Gordon Parks Young Photographers Competition are: First place Andrew Hefter, age 16 Second Place Haley Arrington, age 13 and Third place Nick Jordan, 14 years old. Each were awarded prizes of $300, $200 and $100. Congratulations!

Irwin Thompson Named Pulitzer Prize Winner

Pulitzer Prize Winning Photographer: Irwin Thompson
The 2006 RC Hickman Young Photographer's Workshop
Guest Lecturer

Senior Staff Photographer Irwin Thompson joined The Dallas Morning News photojournalism staff in April 1990. Before coming to Dallas, he was a staff photographer for the New Orleans Times-Picayune (1987-90) and the Monroe (LA) News-Star (1984-87).

Mr. Thompson has received numerous awards, including recognitions from The Texas Associated Press, the Louisiana Associated Press, the Texas Headliners, the Press Club of Dallas Katie Award and the National Press Photographers Association.

He recently was among The News’ team of eight photojournalists that won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News Photography for its gripping images showing the pain, chaos and suffering that ensued after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans.

Mr. Thompson, 45, was born in Lake Charles, Louisiana and grew up in nearby DeRidder. He graduated in 1984 from the University of Louisiana at Monroe with a B.A. degree in photojournalism.

The Gordon Parks Center for Culture and Diversity

Sir Gordon Parks

The Gordon Parks Center for Culture and Diversity is approaching the half way mark in raising the necessary funding needed to complete the facility that will house Gordon's memorabilia, i.e., his books, music, poetry and photos. Your help is needed to achieve this important goal that will inspire and stimulate youth learning of photography and the artistic disciplines that inspired Gordon Parks to achieve his mission in his life. For more information on how to contribute to the Gordon Parks Center for Culture and Diversity please contact:

Jill Warford, Executive Director
Gordon Parks Center for Culture and Diversity
Fort Scott Community College
2108 S. Horton
Fort Scott, Kansas 66701-3141
1-800-874-3722, ext. 515

I Remember Arthello Beck Jr.
(A Quest for Cultural Equity)
by Artist Thornton Sr.

Back in November, 2004 my wife of thirty eight years, Elaine and I returned from Ft. Scott, Kansas, from the opening of the Gordon Parks Center for Culture and Diversity, and we were deeply saddened by news that one of the greatest and prolific artists that Dallas has produced had passed on to the after life, Arthello Beck Jr.

At Arthello’s funeral at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship some of the mourners had requested that an effort be made to honor Arthello by naming the building in South Dallas located at Robert B Cullum & Fitzhugh the Arthello Beck Jr. Cultural Center. My wife and I thought it was a good idea, on that day, November 12, 2004. We committed to forming a coalition of citizens to honor Arthello. Ex Dallas City Councilmembers Al Lipscomb and Diane Ragsdale suggested that we approach a councilmember to have this request become a reality, thereby achieving some margin of cultural equity for the African American community and its citizens.

We learned during a City Council meeting that some staff had recommended that a room be named to honor Arthello Beck Jr. We went and consulted with the members of the coalition, and the response was that it should be very appropriate to honor this man with the naming of the entire building for Dallas’ great artist, Arthello Beck Jr. and that he is due and merits this honor and it would inspire and uplift the young and old in the Dallas community, especially the youth. A petition was begun and the signers of the petition are the Concerned Citizens for the Arts.

The Concerned Citizens for the Arts Coalition and Petitioners altogether number in the thousands and petitions are being signed by a diverse citizenry, most of whom reside in South Dallas as well as beyond. They include Bob Lydia, president of the NAACP, Reginald Gates and Charles O’Neal of the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce, respected artists Carl Sidle, Willie H. Minor, Dr. Mamie McKnight of Black Dallas Remembered, Senator Royce West, Dr. Beverly Mitchell Brooks of the Dallas Urban League, former Mayor Pro Tem Al Lipscomb, Judge L.A. Bedford, Joe and Diann Thomas, Dr. Artist Thornton Jr. of the Artist & Elaine Thornton Foundation for the Arts, Inc., Ann Williams of the Dallas Black Dance Theatre, the Rev. Dr. Clarence Glover, Peter Johnson of the Southern Christian Leadership Council. Also signers on the petition include Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price, Mayor Ron Kirk, former Dallas City Councilman Don Hicks, and Kathleen Gilliam of Clean South Dallas, Mrs. Ruth Wyrick, Mrs. Mollie Belt with the Dallas Examiner, Dr. & Mrs. Theordore Lee of the Dallas Post Tribune, Dr. Martin Hawkins, Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship, and many many more. Support for naming the entire building in the memory of Arthello comes from a good cross section of this community: They want to honor their native son in a meaningful way by naming the entire building in his memory.

At this time, however, suddenly a process has to be developed by which to guide all on who should be named for honor on buildings, seeming to place the sovereignty for the process mostly in the hands of the Office of Cultural Affairs and the commission. The process drafts have been making its way through various committees, such as the Quality of Life Committee composed of City Council Members and the Cultural Affairs Commission, an advisory arm of the Office of Cultural Affairs. The Concerned Citizens for the Arts is concerned that one of the provisions in particular would exclude the participation of the minority community to honor it citizens by naming whole building. It appears that minority citizens will be honored with only rooms, theatres, plazas, features, walls, gardens and rotundas being named. The qualifications are several, and the Concerned Citizens for the Arts have met these, including collecting petitions, getting community support, and finding support for the building. Provisions also spell out counter hearings on the merits of naming to be conducted by the Office of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Commission. It is so important to honor one of our own, a lifetime resident of Dallas, an exemplary artist, generous to his community, and recognized the world over. He impacted this entire community in his gracious and positive manner, and won friends from many quarters, Black and White.

I remember Arthello as an extremely talented and culturally gifted artist who was generous in his contributions to Dallas and beyond. Arthello Beck Jr. represented Texas admirably as Ambassador for the Arts, State of Texas. He traveled the world over representing Texas, United States of America. He was a tall man, whose height was exceeded by his deeds. The Concerned Citizens for the Arts’ implore Dallas to respect this man, honor this artist and native son. Name the building in South Dallas esignated for the arts the Arthello Beck Jr. Cultural Center.

Petitions are available to you to sign by visiting the Dallas Examiner and Lady Di’s Restaurant, Dallas Black Dance Theatre and by visiting in the news section where you can download the petition and email to or mail it back.

Announcement: We Need Signed Petitions Returned Immediately

Here is The Petition

Gordon Parks: Half Past Autumn Reception At The Dallas Museum Of Art

Munson Steed, publisher of Rolling Out Magazine (L) hosted a closing reception recently for the exhibition Gordon Parks Half Past Autumn: Selections From the Corcoran Gallery of Art Collection. Among friends and admirers of Gordon Parks are Betty Switzer, Director of the City Of Dallas Office Of Cultural Affairs, John Paul Batiste, former Executive Director of the Texas Commission on the Arts, and Rosalyn Walker, Dallas Museum of Art. photo by Artist Thornton.

Dr. Roscoe Smith of Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson's Office and Dr. Artist Thornton, Executive Director of the Thornton Foundation, visit during the reception.

Winners of the 2005 Gordon Parks Young Photographers Competition Announced!!!

Mr. David Parks & Al McKeethen: 1st Place Winner of $300

Elaine Thornton & Michael DeMatteo: 2nd Place Winner of $200

Elaine Thornton & Christina Mullen: 3rd Place Winner of $100

2005 Young Photographer's Workshop Program: A Huge Success!!!!

Summer 2005 RC Hickman Students and teachers at the closing ceremonies.

A few outstanding students receiving awards during the ceremonies of the 2005 RC Hickman Young Photographer's Workshop Program. Dr. Artist Thornton presents (from left to right) Jasmine Thornton, Chris Henry, and Devante Jones their photographs and awards for participation!

2005 Young Photographer's Workshop Guest Lecturer Series

Saturday July 30th at 11am to 2pm
The Dallas Museum of Art

David Parks, author, film maker and son of famed photographer Gordon Parks, will be this year’s Guest Lecturer for the conclusion of the Young Photographers Programs. The programs comprise the RC Hickman Young Photographers Workshop and the Gordon Parks Young Photographers Competition. Both programs are presented annually by the Artist & Elaine Thornton Foundation of the Arts, Inc.

This year’s Guest Lecturer Series will be presented at the Dallas Museum of Art, located at 1700 North Harwood in Dallas. The date and time is Saturday July 30th at 11am to 2pm. The announcements of the winners of the ninth annual Gordon Parks Young Photographers Competition will happen that same day at the end of the program. The deadline for entries is July 23rd. The public is invited to attend the Guest Lecture Series. Admission is free, although donations will be accepted.

From Left to Right David Parks, Isaac Hayes, Artist Thornton, Elaine Thorntonphoto taken by Kevin Bass

David Parks (above left) chats with friends Isaac Hayes, internationally acclaimed musician, Artist and Elaine Thornton, founders, the Artist & Elaine Thornton Foundation for the Arts, whose collaboration with Dallas Museum of Art, presented a concert featuring Mr. Hayes in celebration with other related events honoring Gordon Parks. Parks’ exhibition Gordon Parks Half Past Autumn: Selections from the Corcoran Gallery of Art Collection is on display through September 4, 2005. The concert drew about 20,000 admirers to hear the music, some compositions written by Gordon Parks, performed by Isaac Hayes.

Gordon Parks, Half Past Autumn: Selections from the Collection of the Corcoran Gallery of Art

June 3rd - 5th 2005

Exhibition Will Be June 6 – September 4, 2005

Read More About Mr. Parks & The Exhibit!!!

Gordon Parks is a living legend who has mastered many media to express an influential message of hope in the face of adversity. Gordon Parks, Half Past Autumn: Selections from the Collection of the Corcoran Gallery of Art is a retrospective survey of Parks’ photographs drawn from the extensive Gordon Parks Collection owned by the Corcoran. This exhibition presents roughly 130 photographs produced between 1940 and 1997. The result, in the artist’s words, is an autobiographical “tone-poem” that tells his own story. The exhibition will be on view from June 6 through September 4, 2005.

Gordon Parks, Half Past Autumn: Selections from the Collection of the Corcoran Gallery of Art records Parks’ creative search for humanity in the face of intolerance. His art is about pressing social issues such as poverty, race, segregation and crime. It also enhances our understanding of beauty, nature, childhood, music, fashion and memory. Parks’ seamless movement between such diverse topics strikes a balance between social and aesthetic concerns, sketching a poetic portrait of post-war culture in the U.S. and abroad.

Born in Fort Scott, Kansas in 1912, and the youngest of 15 children, Parks overcame a childhood of racism and poverty to succeed as an artist. He has devoted his life to exposing injustice, revealing beauty and investigating how differences between people can be overcome. Parks made his own experiences—his life and feelings for those around him—central to his work.

Following the death of his mother when he was 15, Parks left Kansas for Minnesota. At the age of 25, he began to consider the meaning of photography when he saw images produced by social documentary photographers for the Farm Security Administration (FSA). Struck by the faces of dust bowl refugees in these pictures, and personally hounded by bigotry, Parks chose to fight the poverty and racism of his past, selecting a camera as his principal “weapon.”

In 1941, Parks was awarded a fellowship to work in Washington with FSA director Roy Stryker. During his fellowship, Parks met Ella Watson, a government cleaning woman also working at the FSA, who became one of Parks’ most important subjects. His best-known photograph of Watson is American Gothic, 1942, today an icon of American culture. It shows a dignified woman posed like the farmer in Grant Wood’s 1930 composition, holding a broom and mop in place of the farmer’s pitchfork. Behind her hangs the American flag.

In the late 1940s, Parks came to Life Magazine armed with the skills he learned at the FSA and as a photographer for the Office of War Information. In what became his trademark style, he focused his lens on individuals and families, illuminating personal human relationships by getting to know his many subjects. His most important assignments for Life include photo-essays about a Harlem youth gang (1948), Paris fashions (1949–50), Portugal (1950), segregation in the South (1956), crime (1957), an impoverished Brazilian family (1961), the Black Muslims (1963) and poverty in America (1967).

Parks began to experiment with color photography in the late 1950s. Since that time, he has published many books of color images combined with his poems. His most recent works are abstractions that transcend his traditional subjects; created in his studio using combinations of still-life elements, these works evoke lyrical landscapes.

In addition to his career as a preeminent photographer, Parks is also an accomplished filmmaker, writer, musician and composer. He began to make films in the early 1960s and, with his autobiographical The Learning Tree (1969), became the first African American filmmaker to write, direct and score a feature film in Hollywood. He went on to direct Shaft (1971) and a number of other important films.

Parks is recognized for his significant contributions in photography, film, literature and music. However, his greatest achievement may be his triumph over both personal and social adversity to fulfill his potential to dream. His art expresses the lessons of his early life and imparts these to future generations. This exhibition unlocks the door to this uncommon and uncompromising vision.

This exhibition is organized by the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
This exhibition is presented as a collaborative effort by the Artist and Elaine Thornton Foundation for The Arts, Inc. and the Dallas Museum of Art.

Gordon Parks, Half Past Autumn: Selections from the Collection of the Corcoran Gallery of Art is organized by Philip Brookman, Senior Curator of Photography and Media Arts at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, and Charlie Wylie, the Lupe Murchison Curator of Contemporary Art at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Exhibition will be on View June 6 – September 4, 2005
In addition there will be a concert featuring Gordon Parks’ compositions of classical music on Saturday June 4th as a fundraiser. The program will feature Sir Gordon’s cellist and conductor Kermit Moore and his wife, accomplished pianist Dorothy Rudd Moore, in performance with the Dallas Chamber Orchestra.

Screening of the films “Shaft” and “The Odyssey Of Solomon Northrop will be Saturday June 4th. More news to come. If you have any questions please call 214-716-7481.

Thank you for your support.

Saturday's Events For The Gordon Parks, Half Past Autumn Exhibit

The opening weekend will be filled with celebration and tribute.

  • On Saturday June 4th there will be screenings of two movies written, produced and directed by Gordon Parks, “Shaft” and “The Odyssey of Solomon Northrup”, a true story, at El Centro College beginning at noon.
  • At 5pm on Saturday in cooperation with El Centro’s music department and Dr. Jerry Jones, a performance featuring Gordon’s classical compositions will be presented by the Dallas Chamber Orchestra, under the conduct of Kermit Moore. Kermit Moore has appeared in venues around the world as a cellist and conductor. Internationally acclaimed Dorothy Rudd Moore will accompany on the piano and vocals.

  • At 8pm there will be a tribute reception honoring Sir Gordon Parks . . .To Be Announced!!! He will be in attendence at the Reception For Book signings, autographs, and Discussion!!!!!

Come out and view “Half Past Autumn: Selections From The Collection of the Corcoran Gallery of Art” and enjoy the events during opening weekend: June 3rd - 5th!!!

Proceeds from these events will benefit the Gordon Parks Center for Culture and Diversity, the Artist & Elaine Thornton Foundation for The Arts and the Dallas Museum of Art. For tickets and information, please call 214-716-7481.

Dreams Realized

At left: Artist and Elaine Thornton stand in front of the Latino Cultural Center in its final phase of construction near downtown Dallas. They launched the effort to have the facility along with two others built.The Latino Cultural Center is the third arts facility to open to the public.

Photo by Miguel Cassanova

Dallas - Over twenty five years ago, Artist and Elaine Thornton gathered names of concerned citizens and supporters on a petition and presented it to City Hall in pursuit of four cultural centers for the good benefit of Dallas. It took years of lobbying, and the Thorntons worked with several mayoral/city council administrations, the Division of Cultural Affairs which later became the Office of Cultural Affairs, and with the Park and Recreation department. In the early 1980’s the Bath House Cultural Center opened. In 1986 the South Dallas Cultural Center opened. Now the latest center of their pursuit is realized with the opening of the Latino Cultural Center.

The grand opening for the Latino Cultural Center was held on September 15th through the 21st. The opening of the three centers is the dream realized by Artist and Elaine to help benefit the whole of Dallas.

Support The Petition To Request The Renaming Of The South Dallas Cultural Center To The Arthello Beck Jr. Cultural Arts Center

Whereas, Arthello Beck Jr.’s love of art radiated through his paintings on canvas. He was folksy, reflective, vivid, charismatic and familiar were his works of art. Reflecting his world through pencil, charcoal, acrylic, and watercolor, his paintings were of people, of country landscapes, depictions of celebrations, and market places from around the world. Arthello Beck achieved recognition for his art early in his life, because he illustrated his visions of art with exceptional talent.

Whereas, Arthello traveled and painted, giving us images of the Caribbean Islands, South America, Africa, China, Southeast Asia and Europe. He has exhibited in many places around the world, earning recognition as THE personified artist. He received news coverage about his art in various media, from newspapers and magazines to television, but through it all Arthello remained humble and always true to himself.

Whereas, Arthello Beck Jr. achieved recognition for his art early in his life. He was recognized as being among the leading artists in the Southwest by the City of Terrell Civic and Business Leaders. He received the special merit award from the State Fair of Texas in 1974. He placed third at the Temple Emmanuel Annual Art Show in Dallas, Texas in 1974, 2nd place at the Southwestern Ceramic show. He won first place recognition at the Black Art Exhibit in Fort Worth, Texas, and many more honors, awards and commendations over the past thirty years.

Whereas, Arthello Beck Jr. served as artist in residence at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia and at Paul Quinn College in Dallas Texas. For many years he served as a board member of the Artist and Elaine Thornton Foundation for The Arts, Inc. He was appointed Ambassador of Goodwill by Texas Governor Mark White.

Therefore, be it now respectfully requested that the South Dallas Cultural Center be named in the honor of Arthello Beck Jr. Cultural Arts Center.

Humbly Submitted,
The Concerned Citizens For The Arts