The Art of Black Studies
“I’m an artist/designer, full-fledged creator in paint, photography and gemstone jewelry. I view people in the world as needing more opportunities for creative expression …” Adrienne Walker Hoard
Effective Sept. 1, Adrienne Walker Hoard will assume the lead of the Black Studies Program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. A professional artist as well as an educator, she will begin to incorporate the visual arts into the program.
“I’ve always been interested in Black Studies and its value to American Studies. And, I have always included images and information on African American arts and artists in all my courses, whether it is design, color theory or art education,” said Hoard.
Hoard received a doctorate in education degree from the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign and a master of fine arts degree from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. She served as professor of art and art education and affiliate professor in the Black Studies program at the University of Missouri-Columbia beginning in 1988.
“Since my first position as an assistant professor at an Historically Black College and University, I have been involved in Black Studies. I am honored to assume the role of director of UMKC’s program,” said Hoard. “This position grants me the opportunity to return to my passion for communicating the many facets of Black Studies with youth and adults.”
Hoard’s goal is to expand the program curriculum by creating courses in African American art, which introduce students to the history and contemporary impact of African American artists in American society. She will – as part of her long-term goals – complete the process begun by her colleagues to develop an undergraduate major in Black Studies.
The program currently offers a minor, a graduate certificate and a master’s emphasis in the area of Black Studies.
As an artist, Hoard lived in New York City in the 1970s where she worked at the Brooklyn Museum with renowned artists and, from those relationships, she garnered the expertise that is vital to an arts curriculum for the Black Studies program, particularly in the classroom.
“Because of my personal relationships with artists such as Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence, Benny Andrews, Lois Mailou Jones, I bring valuable life expertise to this program – I knew and interacted with the people about whom I will teach,” said Hoard.
Hoard has served as professor in Black Studies and Fine Arts at The Ohio State University, has taught as a distinguished professor at two South Korean and two South African universities, and has served as chair of the division of art education for the Louisiana State University School of Art. She is a former Fulbright Scholar and a Ford Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellow.
Since the end of their apartheid era, Hoard has conducted personal research with South African women artists on numerous visits to their country, and she said it compares directly to events and perceptions about the value of the arts at the end of segregation in the U.S. Her book, “New Democracy Art”™, which documents her decade of South African investigation, will be released next year.
Since 1993, Hoard has served as artist, arts educator, arts executive and entrepreneur with her own creative arts company, Homegirl, Inc., which provides arts experiences for adolescents and arts exposure for indigenous women artists.
Her experience as a professor in Black Studies, an art educator and a team builder – bringing together individuals from diverse backgrounds and differing views – is broad and widely recognized.
“Our visual arts history needs to be preserved as an emphasis area for current creativity, and the best way to preserve it is to teach it,” said Hoard.