OHIO Archives

Ohio University Libraries Archives & Special Collections

Gallery Walk & Talk with Artist Sauda Mitchell

By Miriam Intrator, Special Collections Librarian

We were thrilled to usher in the fall 2023 semester with a visit from artist, archivist, and scholar Sauda Mitchell. Mitchell’s August 30th visit consisted of a Gallery Walk & Talk and a Making Meaning Bookmaking Workshop, both of which took place at the Kennedy Museum of Art. This collaborative event evolved from a 2022 Libraries’ Juneteenth acquisition, into a Museum Studies Certificate Program exhibition, and culminated with this visit from the artist.

Every year since Juneteenth was first declared a federal holiday in 2021, Ohio University Libraries has committed to annually acquiring materials in honor of the holiday. A committee of libraries’ staff compile a list of potential acquisitions. The list is then shared with the University’s Juneteenth Committee, which votes on the titles in order to create a prioritized version of the list. The Libraries then purchases materials according to that prioritization. Very happily, so far every year the Libraries has ultimately been able to purchase every item on the original lists. These acquisitions are then featured in a digital exhibit that is updated annually. In 2022, that included two artists’ books by Mitchell: Finding Aid and Voyage.

Sauda Mitchell speaking next to her book, Finding Aid, during the Gallery Walk & Talk, Kennedy Museum of Art
Sauda Mitchell speaking next to her book, Finding Aid, during the Gallery Walk & Talk, Kennedy Museum of Art

Students in the fall 2022-spring 2023 Museum Studies Certificate Program then selected Finding Aid as one of the primary objects around which they curated their exhibit, Merging Concepts IX: Then and Again, which was on view at the Kennedy from April 14 to September 11, 2023. With Mitchell’s work at the center of the exhibit, a conversation began between the Libraries and the Kennedy to invite Mitchell to come speak about her work at Ohio University, while Finding Aid was still on exhibit.

Finding Aid on display at the Kennedy Museum of Art

Mitchell’s visit began with a Gallery Walk & Talk, during which she took the audience on a descriptive and literal journey from Finding Aid to Voyage, which was brought into an adjacent gallery for the event. For each book Mitchell discussed her research process, materials selection, and her inspirations and motivation for everything from the book structure to the use of QR codes within her work to the vital need for primary source collections and primary source literacy.

Artist Sauda Mitchell discussing her artists' book Voyage with event participants
Artist Sauda Mitchell discussing her artists’ book Voyage with event participants

Mitchell also offered a Making Meaning Bookmaking Workshop to a small group of students. Each student was asked to bring their own meaningful photo or object as inspiration in the creation of an accordion book structure. The idea was to introduce Mitchell’s craft of making an artist’s book inspired by historic, familial, or cultural memories.

Students making accordion structure artists' books in Sauda Mitchell's workshop
Students making accordion structure artists’ books in Sauda Mitchell’s workshop

We are so grateful to Mitchell for taking time out of her extremely busy schedule, directing the Painting Drawing and Printmaking Department at the Sawtooth School of Visual Art in Winston Salem N.C., serving as adjunct instructor in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Buffalo where she teaches students the methodology of how to teach with primary sources, and pursuing her doctorate at Drexel University in the Educational Leadership and Management Program! We also look forward to ongoing and future collaboration with the Kennedy Museum of Art.

Both Finding Aid and Voyage are now part of the Rare Book Collection and are available by request for use in research, instruction, or simply for personal interest.

, , ,