210 Pittsboro Street
Campus Box 6210
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-6210

T 919-962-2091
F 919-962-2279

Media Advisory

For immediate use 

Jan. 17, 2006 -- No. 24

Sunday, Jan. 22, 1:30 p.m.-5 p.m.
Ackland Art Museum
Monday, Jan. 23
4:30 p.m., Ackland Art Museum
5:30 p.m., Hanes Art Center
South Columbia Street
UNC-Chapel Hill

Artists to discuss large installations,
multimedia works at the Ackland

Three internationally renowned artists, Betye Saar and her daughters Lezley and Alison Saar, will visit UNC’s Ackland Art Museum to celebrate the first joint exhibition of their work, created by the Ackland and a UNC alumna.

Influenced by their ancestry – African American, European and Native American – the artists interpret family, identity, race and gender in the exhibition, "Family Legacies: The Art of Betye, Lezley and Alison Saar." Themes include "Reconsidering Slavery," "Interpreting Stereotypes and Offering Alternative Histories" and "Interpreting Mixed-Race Ancestry."

From 1:30-5 p.m. Sunday at the museum, media representatives may speak with and photograph the artists during a free public reception. They will not take questions from 1:30-2 p.m., when they will sign exhibition catalogs for the public.

From 4:30-5 p.m. Monday, the artists will discuss their work exclusively with media representatives. They may be questioned and photographed in the museum with their work in the exhibition, on display through March 26. Media representatives planning to attend must RSVP by 10 a.m. Monday (Jan. 23) to Maria Bleier at the Ackland, (919) 843-3675, or

At 5:30 p.m. Monday in the Hanes Art Center Auditorium, next door to the Ackland, the artists will give a free public lecture. A limited number of seats up front will be reserved for media representatives.

Visuals: Artists will be available to be photographed with their works. The exhibition presents 50 three-dimensional works created from collections of objects – clocks, handmade paper, jewelry, children’s handprints, pieces of fabric, more.

The works range from large-scale paintings to a 100 square-foot installation by all three artists, with 85 bronze-cast tears cascading from a wall. It also features three crows, carved in wood and covered with lead, hanging from the ceiling.

Possible story angles:

Elizabeth Keckley, seamstress for Mary Todd Lincoln, was a slave in Hillsborough before she bought her freedom. The exhibition features a painting of Keckley by Lezley Saar:

The Ackland has purchased four of the works in the exhibition: Betye Saar’s "Coffee"; Alison Saar’s "Smokin’ Papa Chaud" and "Cool Maman"; and Lezley Saar’s "Elizabeth Keckley: Mrs. Lincoln’s Seamstress."

The Ackland’s curator of exhibitions, Dr. Barbara Matilsky, and UNC alumna Dr. Jessica Dallow spent six years creating this landmark exhibition, borrowing works from museums and private collections nationwide and arranging to transport the treasures, some of them huge, to Chapel Hill. Leaving the Ackland after March 26, "Family Legacies" will travel to three other museums, taking the names of the Ackland and UNC with it. Matilsky will attend the events Sunday and Monday.

Directions, media parking: From Raleigh, exit I-40 at N.C. 54 toward Chapel Hill. Continue into town, under the U.S. 15-501 overpass and up the hill to UNC. Turn right at the stoplight onto Country Club Road. Continue through the traffic light where the road becomes Cameron Avenue; pass the Old Well and Memorial Hall. Take the next right into the Swain Visitors Lot. At the events, ask Maria Bleier of the Ackland for passes to cover fees for the lot.

For more on the artists and exhibition, visit

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Ackland contact: Maria Bleier, (919) 843-3675,