By| Javon Cohen


Presented by Florida A&M University Foster-Tanner Fine Arts Gallery and the Artist in Bloom Festival featured an Exhibition of Wood Carvings by a fifth-generation wood carver, LaVon Van Williams Jr.

The exhibit features many of Williams’ stained reliefs and figures carved out of wood that captures church-going men and women, jazz players, and couples, all inspired by African-American history and culture. Williams calls the rising wood sculptures as “urban folk art.”

The exhibit is on view in the Foster-Tanner Fine Arts Gallery located on the campus of Florida A&M University from February 16 to March 21, 2018 Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Photo Courtesy of Javon Cohen

Goin’ Down South was curated by the FAMU Exhibition Planning and Design spring 2018 cohort and highlights the FAMU Visual Arts Programs Museum Studies concentration. Along with the wood carving demonstration, the exhibition will also have educational resources for visitors including a reading room and docent-led gallery tours (available upon request).

Aja Roache, the Foster Tanner Art Director said, “that the gallery is unique from a culture perceptive that offers a lot of diversity to many of the students and members in this community.”

“The gallery creates an environment that exposes everyone to the real-world experiences and challenge their perception of the way they view the art world,” said Roache.  

With museums having a huge impact on the culture and economy, the Foster-Tanner Fine Arts Gallery gives students and the community a place to experience artworks, artifacts and so much more first hand.

Pharoa Mufasa, a freshman student at Florida A&M University, has a passion for the arts and was inspired by LaVon Williams understanding of African American history, culture and tradition as his motivation behind wood carving.

“I fathom the inspiration and enjoy the various of African American wood carving because it serves as a platform for black empowerment and our rich history,” said Mufasa.

Museums are beginning to make a return as they hold the knowledge of cultural origins and the meaning of societies’ transformations. Based on the historical time assumption, museums have already chosen the criteria which qualify objects to enter History. Hence museums turn the object into a cultural past worthy of preserving as a symbol of its time.

The Foster-Tanner Fine Arts Gallery are offering a variety of LaVon Van Williams Jr. wood-carving for sale at a various prices for individuals who are interested in taking home a unique piece of artwork.

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