2024-25 Lectures and Events

Lectures are free for Art League members, $10 for KIA members, $12 public, $3 students.
Non-members can pay at the door.

September 18, 2024

Richard Phillips: Strokes of Freedom
7:00 pm Lecture | KIA Auditorium
Reception following lecture

Detroit artist Richard Phillips’ art is testimony to his ability to create beauty and find meaning in the most difficult times. A self-taught artist, Phillips started painting while in prison with a mail order watercolor set: landscapes, portraits of famous people, jazz musicians, and more, eventually creating over 400 paintings.

Arrested in 1971 for a murder he didn’t commit, Phillips was in prison for 46 years, at that time longer than any other exoneree in U.S. history. Creating art enabled him to persist and deal with the injustice of his situation. “I didn’t actually think I’d ever be free again. This art is what I did to stay sane,” Phillips said. “I could get off into one of my paintings and just be in there for hours.” Today, collectors and viewers alike appreciate the beauty he created throughout those long decades.


October 9, 2024

Patrick Bringley: All the Beauty in the World
7:00 pm | KIA Auditorium
Reception following lecture

Discover the hidden secrets of the Metropolitan Museum of Art from MET guard and best-selling author Patrick Bringley.  All the Beauty in the World: The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Me is a surprising, inspiring portrait of a great museum, its hidden treasures, and the people who make it tick, by one of its most intimate observers.

Following the death of his brother, Bringley left his job at The New Yorker for “the most straightforward job I could think of in the most beautiful place I knew”, a job that promised room to grieve and reflect. As NPR said “… All the Beauty in the World reminds us of the importance of learning not ‘about art, but from it.’ This is art appreciation at a profound level.”

November 13, 2024

Dr. Brian Stewart: Art as Adaptation: San Graphic Traditions in Evolutionary Perspective 
10:00 am | KIA Auditorium
Reception following lecture

Southern Africa is home to some of the world’s oldest and richest graphic art traditions. Over the past 50 years, insights from the region have transformed our understanding of rock art worldwide and even changed the paradigm of our species’ evolution, shifting our behavioral origins from Europe to Africa and more than doubling their antiquity. Now, improvements in dating southern African rock art provide the opportunity to link ancient paintings made on the walls of caves with archaeology excavated from their floors. In so doing, we are able, for the first time, to breathe spirituality into an otherwise largely utilitarian and diet-centered record of daily life. This presentation offers an overview of these insights and discusses their importance for viewing art as part of the adaptive repertoire underpinning Homo sapiens’ evolutionary success.

Brian A. Stewart is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where he is also Curator of African Archaeology at the Museum of Anthropological Archaeology. His research explores the deep-time selective contexts and cultural responses that led to the evolution of our species’ profound adaptive flexibility. His primary focuses is the archaeology of hunter-gatherers in southern Africa, where he investigates and compares human engagements with highland and desert environments.

March 12, 2025

Dr. Abbas Daneshvari, Art Historian & Scholar: Postmodernism Across Western and Eastern Arts: Of Language and Truth

10:00 am | KIA Auditorium
Reception following Lecture

April 9, 2025

Mary Brodbeck Woodblock Printmaker: Influences and Evolution
10:00 am | KIA Auditorium
Reception following Lecture

Mary Brodbeck worked as an Industrial Designer in the West Michigan furniture industry for a dozen years – many of her designs hold US patents – before shifting to image-making in the 1990s. In her Art League presentation, Mary will reveal why she left the corporate environment to pursue an art career, who and what influenced her along the way, how she evolved into specializing in Japanese printmaking techniques, and where she is now.

Mary Brodbeck received a BFA in Industrial Design from Michigan State University (1982) and an MFA in Printmaking from Western Michigan University (1999). As part of her graduate studies at WMU, she was awarded a Japanese government-sponsored BUNKA-Cho Fellowship to study in Tokyo with mentor Yoshisuke Funasaka.

Mary’s nature-inspired woodblock prints, often depicting the Great Lakes watershed region, are found in collections at institutions such as the Detroit Institute of Arts, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, and the Muskegon Museum of Art. She produced an award-winning documentary (Becoming Made, 2014), received over a dozen national awards for her woodblock prints, and has conducted more than 40 workshops nationally and internationally. Currently, she and her mentor have a traveling exhibition in the KRESA program, which serves public schools throughout Kalamazoo County.

Mary’s work is represented at Watanabe Color Prints in Tokyo, the oldest print gallery in Japan.

May 14, 2025

Erica Lord: The Codes We Carry
7:00 pm Lecture | KIA Auditorium
Reception following lecture

Erica Lord’s artistic interpretation can combine cutting edge biological science with the cultures and history of America’s indigenous peoples.  She catches us with art (and sometime dogs) to reveal how experience, culture and identity are affected in a rapidly changing world. Lord will discuss this, and will provide insight into her work to be exhibited in the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts.

Lord (b. 1978) is an interdisciplinary artist who explores concepts and issues that exist within a contemporary Indigenous experience, including how culture and identity operate in a rapidly changing world. Lord draws on her experience of growing up between Alaska and Upper Michigan and her mixed-race cultural identity drawn from Athabaskan, Iñupiat, Finnish, Swedish, Japanese, and English descent. To address a multiple or mixed identity, Lord uses a variety of mediums to construct new, ambiguous, or challenging representations of race and culture. Lord is an enrolled member of Nenana Native Village.

Lord received her Bachelor of Arts from Carleton College and Master of Fine Arts at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has exhibited nationally and internationally at institutions including the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts in Santa Fe; the Musée du Quai Branley, Paris; the National Gallery of Canada, the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian and The Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum. Lord lives in Santa Fe, NM, where she continues her art practice and teaches at the Institute of American Indian Arts. She is represented by Accola Griefen Fine Art.

Art League Board Members and volunteers organize and produce all our lectures both virtual and in person.