Madonna Connected to Virtual Art Event

Debby with Hubert at the DAC

Debra Kawsky, art historian and adjunct associate professor in the art department has been busy representing Madonna in the art community. Last weekend she was a featured speaker for the Art Impact Connect virtual event that celebrated painter and sculptor Artis Lane, age 93, who recently moved back to Detroit from Los Angeles. 

Kawsky contributed two presentations during the event. The first was an interview she had recorded with Detroit artist Hubert Massey at the Detroit Athletic Club (see photo at right). During the interview the two discussed his most recent mural, Power to the People, in downtown Detroit and screened an amazing music video by the Detroit Youth Choir marches on Hubert's mural.

Kawsky also referenced the St. Peter Episcopal Church mural painted by Madonna students with mentorship by Massey, and Madonna's own Robin Ward, graphic design program director, and Kevin Cartwright, art adjunct.

The second contribution was a lecture on the life and art of Artis Lane filmed at the Cranbrook Art Museum (empty audience apart from the director). Lane and Kawksy pictured at right.

Kawsky has interviewed Lane during the pandemic and will be continuing her research about the artist and her work. Highlights from Kawsky's talk about Lane include that she was:

  • one of the first black women to attend Cranbrook Art Academy (back in 1951)
  • known for decades as a celebrity portraitist in LA - and knew everyone from Cary Grant to Nelson Mandela
  • personal friends with Rosa Parks and did several portraits of her
  • The bottom image is of a painting entitled The Beginning, created by Lane, in the 1980s, of her close friend Rosa Parks.

The two presentations will be made public in the near future. Faculty and staff interested in seeing the presentations should email Debra Kawsky.


Virtual Art Event at Cranbrook Museum