Brightly-colored paintings sit on a table
This art piece by Justin Loudermill appears in the exhibit “Homecoming: Black Art Celebrating The Color Purple.” (Photo: Mosaic Arts Collective)

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To expand the experience of “The Color Purple: The Musical” for viewers and artists, Mosaic Arts Collective presents a related art exhibit at the Historic Fox Theatre.

“Homecoming: Black Art Celebrating The Color Purple” opens with a public reception from 5-9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 3, during First Friday Art Walk. After Friday, the exhibit will be open to ticket-holders during the run of the musical.

For the exhibit, artists were given four words that express themes in “The Color Purple” — Resilience, Growth, Healing, and Bravery — and were asked to create or share resonating works of art. Mosaic co-founders debated on the exhibit title. Keegan Winfield wanted to call it “Homecoming” for several reasons. Although she was familiar with the musical, she read the novel by Alice Walker for the first time in preparation for the exhibit.

“I was really struck by the themes of coming home to yourself and growing into who you are,” she said. 

It also felt appropriate in terms of what Mosaic is trying to do, she said, which is to create a home for marginalized people in the Springfield arts community. And lastly, “I feel so honored and proud that we have this incredible, beautiful, all-Black cast performing on the Square which has a very dark history in terms of the Black community,” Winfield said, referring to the 1906 lynching of two Black men.

A brightly colored painting of a face
This art piece by Bishop Cortezz appears in the exhibit “Homecoming: Black Art Celebrating The Color Purple.” (Photo: Mosaic Arts Collective)

“It really drove a lot of the Black community out of Springfield. And so it feels very appropriate that we should have this Black cast on the Square. It feels like a homecoming — like we’re coming home and reclaiming our space.”

Winfield also feels that visual art is incredibly impactful and helps tell a story.

“I hope that the community who comes out and is able to take in this art can really appreciate that,” Winfield said. “That this is storytelling. That there’s beauty in these stories that these artists are telling.”

Homecoming: Black Art Celebrating ‘The Color Purple’

Opening reception: 5-9 p.m. Feb. 3 during First Friday Art Walk; a free event 

Where: Historic Fox Theatre, 157 Park Central Square

What:  A companion to “The Color Purple: The Musical,” local Black artists created and shared pieces that speak to the core themes of the show: resilience, growth, healing and bravery. After Feb. 3, the exhibit will be on display to theater-goers for the duration of the show (February 10-26).

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Sony Hocklander

Sony Hocklander is a freelance journalist, video storyteller and photographer who produces creative content through her small solo business, Sony Hocklander Creative LLC. When she’s not telling community stories, she loves wandering the Ozarks outdoors with a camera in hand. You can follow her on Twitter @SonyHocklander and on Instagram @shocklander or email her at: More by Sony Hocklander