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Florida Gulf Coast University
10501 FGCU Blvd S.
Fort Myers, FL. 33965-6565

Phone: (239) 590-1006
Fax:     (239) 590-1066

Press Release


FGCU Art Gallery Opens "Purvis Young: Urban Expressionism" with Reception Oct. 22

FORT MYERS, FL - Florida Gulf Coast University's Art Gallery opens an exhibition of works by urban expressionist Purvis Young. The exhibition opens at 5 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 22 in the Art Gallery located at FGCU’s Arts Complex. The exhibition runs through Nov. 20.

The collection of work on display is a gift from the Rubell Family Collection in Miami, Fla., which features some of the edgiest and most important contemporary work of the last 30 years.

Prior to the reception, acting director of the Rubell Family Collection Juan Roselione-Valadez, will deliver a Gallery Talk at 3:30 p.m. in the Theatre Lab to introduce the exhibition and talk about the Rubell Family Collection.

The exhibition is supported by WGCU Public Media.

Young is a self-taught artist, having spent years in the Miami public libraries avidly researching art history, and seeing what other artists have created. He draws inspiration from both his geographical and political environment. He is a painter of the people, his people. The subjects of his thick layers of color and free-wheeling composition come from his world.

In all his work, Young points to the consequences of racism, to the plight of the underprivileged, to the years of neglect and to the structure of despair.

Using discarded utilitarian objects including wood, carpet, cardboard, metal and rubber, Young transforms the materials into objects codified by his personal system of symbols. Much of the material that he uses comes directly from his Overtown neighborhood, one of the oldest and now most impoverished areas of Miami. In his daily work Young chronicles his neighborhood's history and multicultural flavor, its streets and characters, its anecdotes of daily life, and its mythologies of survival.

"As part of the guiding principles, FGCU believes that informed and engaged citizens are essential to the creation of a civil and sustainable society," said interim director Anica Sturdivant.

"The University values the development of the responsible self grounded in honesty, courage, and compassion, and committed to advancing democratic ideals. We believe the passionate works of Mr. Young reflect these principles. We are thrilled to present this insightful exhibition to our University, our students, and to our community. We hope viewers will learn more about Purvis Young's inspiration and the important messages he has relayed through his art."

Sturdivant adds a special request, "With every reception, the Art Gallery will be collecting food donations for the local chapter of the Harry Chapin Food Bank that services the needs of the underprivileged in the community. Please help the Harry Chapin Food Bank overcome hunger in the community by bringing in canned goods to any of the events this season."

The Arts Complex is located on FGCU's main campus, east of I-75 between exits 123 and 128. Free parking is available in Lot 7 for Arts Complex visitors. Parking passes are available at the parking booth located along the University's entrance.

For images and further information on this exhibition and others, please visit the Art Gallery’s website: or call interim director Anica Sturdivant at (239) 590-7199.

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