Storyteller Gladys Coggswell to perform at MU art exhibition

Wednesday, February 1, 2012 | 2:50 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — The MU Museum of Art and Archaeology’s new exhibition "Black Women in Art and the Stories They Tell" will kick off Thursday with the opening "The Stories I Tell," a performance by award-winning Missouri storyteller Gladys Coggswell.

Coggswell will perform from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday in room 106 of Pickard Hall on Francis Quadrangle, where the museum is located. A reception will follow her performance in the cast gallery from 6:30 to 8 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

The Missouri Folk Arts Program, an academic program within the Museum of Art and Archaeology, collaborated with the museum in presenting the exhibition. According to the museum's website, the exhibit seeks to consider the artwork through stories and narratives from experiences of black women.

In her performances, according to the Your Favorite Storytellers Foundation website, Coggswell presents songs and stories based on personal experience that allude to Missouri's and other cultures.

Coggswell’s eloquence through storytelling and teaching has earned her the title of Missouri Master Folk Artist in storytelling six times: in 1990, 1991, 1993, 1998, 2002 and 2003, as well as many others. 

She has appeared on several PBS specials and was interviewed on C-SPAN for her portrayal of Harriet Robinson Scott, wife of Dred Scott, whose famous 1857 court case Scott v. Sandford brought to debate the issue of slavery in America.

Coggswell received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Washington University in St. Louis and her master’s degree in education from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Coggswell’s performance will be in conjunction with her weeklong residency at both Lee and West Boulevard elementary schools. Coggswell will act as a mentor of sorts for students and will be presenting at an assembly at each school toward the end of the week.

The art exhibition following Coggwell’s performance will be held on the second floor of the museum through April 29.

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