Curator Speaks on Self-Taught Artists at UA Gallery

Curator Paul Barrett will present a gallery talk and walkthrough in The University of Alabama Gallery at the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center, on Wednesday, April 11, at 12:00 p.m. Barrett is the curator of the current exhibition, Poster for UA Gallery exhibition: A Harder Task Than Making Bricks Without Straw Artworks from the Doug McCraw Collection.

“The gallery talk will be a conversation with gallery visitors to provide context about the artists featured in A Harder Task,” Barrett said, “and to compare their work to other well-known American artists from the South, including Jasper Johns, Noah Purifoy, Robert Rauschenberg and Cy Twombly. We will also discuss the often fraught terms used to categorize folk/outsider/self-taught/visionary artists and I hope to be able to touch on the importance of the Kentuck Festival in championing the work of many of these artists.”

Paul Barrett is director of Stephen Smith Fine Art, in Fairfield, Ala., a gallery focused on artists engaged in contemporary social issues. An art collector since the 1980s, Barrett has collected works by Chris Clark, Charlie Lucas, Lonnie Holley and other Alabama self-taught African American artists. His interest in self-taught artists began at the Kentuck Festival more than 25 years ago while he was director of AGNES, a photography gallery in Birmingham. During his career in corporate marketing, he has served on the boards of several non-profit arts organizations and done consulting for artists and galleries. He curated One In Our Blood in 2017, a program of activism, art and education, which had exhibitions at Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts at UAB, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, the Birmingham Public Library and Stephen Smith Fine Art. Barrett is currently working with artist, curator and UA art alumna Sara Garden Armstrong to coordinate a statewide program with For Freedoms, the first artist-driven super PAC, which includes partnerships with Birmingham Museum of Art, Coleman Center for the Arts, Mobile Museum of Art, Space One Eleven, The University of Alabama, UAB and others.

Paul Barrett’s talk is sponsored by the Painting area of the Department of Art and Art History at The University of Alabama. For more information about our programs, visit the link:

The University of Alabama Gallery at the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center is located at 620 Greensboro Avenue in downtown Tuscaloosa. The gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, go to the website or call (205) 342-2060 or or email