For Immediate Release
The Arts Council
Contact: Kevin Ledgewood
205-758-5195, x6


(Tuscaloosa) A display of paintings by Tuscaloosa artist James Conner will serve as the inaugural exhibit at The Arts Council Gallery, located in the new Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center. The exhibit of oils and acrylics, titled “Now You See,” will be on display beginning August 29 at 6:30 p.m. and will conclude September 26.


The exhibit opening will coincide with the Grand Opening of the Cultural Arts Center, beginning with an official ribbon cutting at 6:30 p.m. The center will be managed by The Arts Council of Tuscaloosa and will house The Arts Council Gallery, The University of Alabama Gallery, Black Box Theatre, Grand Hall and office spaces. The space will offer a variety of events such as family programming and educational opportunities and will also be available to rent for events such as performances, rehearsals, weddings or community meetings.


James Conner was born and raised in rural Noxubee County, Mississippi. He believes he was born to be an artist, as his first memories are of drawing with a pencil and paper. While attending high school, Conner received a degree in Advertising Art from Art Instruction Schools in Minnesota. He then served in the U.S. Army as a graphic artist and illustrator with two tours of duty in Vietnam and Europe. Returning to the United States, he received the B.F.A. in Art from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. After he graduated, Conner worked first in drafting, then as a sketch-artist in the Graphics Division of the Detroit Police Department. While working in law enforcement, he realized that he wanted to fulfill his earlier desire to support himself with his art and consequently, decided to return to Mississippi.

Although he had continued to paint during the years after finishing college, his decision to return to Mississippi brought with it a new focus and intensity to his art. He received his Master of Fine Arts degree from The University of Mississippi, and he has been an instructor of art at Mississippi State University, Mississippi University for Women and Meridian Community College. He has given private instruction, as well.

Conner has exhibited works in New York, Memphis, Detroit, Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Atlanta and Mississippi. Among those who have collected his works are movie actor Joe Don Baker and Detroit’s Mayor Coleman Young. He is an honorary member of The Tuskegee Airmen and is also a Sunday school teacher. He is married to the former Carmella Anderson and the father of three children of whom he is very happy and proud. His greatest mission in life is to be there for his children and assist them using his moral compass.

The exhibit will feature a variety of subject matter from aviation to family. Conner, founder of Starfish Ministries, believes his ministry and art go hand in hand and credits his father’s legacy for his accomplishments.

In addition to the exhibit in The Arts Council Gallery, The University of Alabama Gallery will host “A Magic Carpet Ride: Rugs from the Collection of Dr. and Mrs. William T. Price” from August 29 through October 24, 2013. UA Gallery hours will be 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. weekdays and noon – 8 p.m. on First Fridays.

The Arts Council Gallery hours will also be 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. weekdays and noon – 8 p.m. on First Fridays.

For more information about The Arts Council or Bama Theatre, patrons should LIKE the Facebook page “The Arts Council – Bama Theatre – Cultural Arts Center” and follow tuscarts on Twitter. Call 205-758-5195 or visit tuscarts.org for further information.