Knoxville, TN – The public is invited to the Beck Cultural Exchange Center, 1927 Dandridge Avenue, on Thursday, June 2, 5:30-7:30pm to get an inside look at the emerging Beauford Delaney Project and learn more about exciting plans for the hometown celebration of a Knoxville cultural hero. At 6pm Beck Cultural Exchange Center President Rev. Reneé Kesler and Knoxville Museum of Art Curator Stephen Wicks will talk about Beauford Delaney’s life, art, and significance. The program is jointly sponsored by the Beck Cultural Exchange Center, the Knoxville Museum of Art, and the East Tennessee History Center.


The three institutions dedicated to aspects of Knoxville’s history and culture—the Beck Cultural Exchange Center, the East Tennessee History Center, Knoxville Museum of Art—are coordinating efforts to make Beauford Delaney better known in his hometown. Evolving plans call for placing historical markers to designate the birthplace of Beauford and his brother Joseph (also an artist) and other sites associated with their early training in Knoxville; to bring an exhibition of Beauford’s work from Paris to Knoxville; to conserve and exhibit recently acquired works by Beauford at the KMA; to create a curriculum unit about Beauford and Joseph Delaney and their importance; and to explore the restoration and possible adaptive reuse of the Delaney family home recently purchased by the Beck Cultural Exchange Center. Beauford’s work was recently featured in an exhibition at the East Tennessee History Center on the life and work of Knoxville artist Lloyd Branson, who was Beauford and Joseph’s first art teacher and mentor. The exhibition moves this summer to the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville.

According to Beck President Reneé Kesler, “Beauford Delaney is by far the most important artist Knoxville produced in the twentieth century, at least in terms of national and international reputation. He was friends with and beloved by the most respected cultural and intellectual figures of his age. He was a close friend and mentor to novelist, playwright, and social critic James Baldwin. Georgia O’Keeffe, who rarely did portraits, painted Beauford’s. He was the subject of an affectionate essay by great American writer Henry Miller. Yet many people in Knoxville are not familiar with this native son and his distinguished legacy. We hope the Beauford Delaney Project will change that.”

Beauford lived his final decades abroad in Paris (he died there in 1979), but maintained close ties to Knoxville and family here throughout his life. His brother Joseph, also a distinguished artist, is perhaps better known locally than Beauford, because Joseph eventually returned to his hometown, where he died in 1991.

This event at the Beck Center is free and open to the public. To reserve a seat or for more information, contact or 865-934-2036.