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Muirhead, Deborah, 1983 - 1986

 Item — Multiple Containers

Scope and Contents

Painter and professor of art Deborah Muirhead lectured on 2 occasions. Professor Muirhead was a professor at the University of Connecticut in the School of Fine Arts. Deborah Dancy, also known as Deborah Muirhead (born 1949), is an American painter of large-scale abstractions in oil; she is also a printmaker and mixed media artist. Her work is also known to encompass digital photography. In 1981, she began to teach at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, where she taught painting for thirty-five years until her retirement in 2017. She has received awards such as a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, Women’s Studio Workshop Studio Residency Grant, and a YADDO fellowship.

In the first lecture (2/15/1983; 2015-0002/RR21), Professor Muirhead gives an informal slide presentation highlighting the creative work of Black artists from the 16th century on as a preface to a discussion of her work within the framework of the Black Experience.

Her second lecture (11/18/1986; 2015-0002/RR13), was a survey of African-American art over three centuries as well as her own work. She presented a slideshow that showed basket making, paintings, and sculpture created by African-American artists. Muirhead, like Oakley Holmes, used her lecture to cite the success of individual black artists such as painters Joshua Johnston, Robert Duncanson, and Edward Bannister. She also heralded the work of Harlem Renaissance era artists like Aaron Douglas and Augusta Savage as well as sculptors Richmond Barthe, Elizabeth Catlett, and Richard Hunt. Lastly, she also informed students about black visual artists, novelists, poets, and discussed artists like Romare Bearden who wanted his work to document black life.

On a technical note, there are several audio problems throughout the recording. From 04:37 to 06:20 there is no noise. 20 minutes into the recording, the sound struggled again and was hard to hear. There are additional audio problems between 35:00 and 40:00 and the problem stays consistent for over 20 minutes.


  • 1983 - 1986

Conditions Governing Access

Links to digitized content are included in the finding aid.

Biographical / Historical

Dancy was born in 1949 in Bessemer, Alabama. Dancy received her BFA from Illinois Wesleyan University in 1973, as well as an MS in printmaking and MFA in painting from Illinois State University in 1976 and 1979, respectively. Her painting "Seed Travel" appeared in the Stamford Museum and Nature Center. Dancy taught painting at the University of Connecticut, Storrs for thirty-five years before retiring in 2017.

Dancy’s works are in the permanent collections of numerous galleries and academic institutions, some of which include the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Birmingham Museum of Art in Alabama, and the Baltimore Museum of Art. Dancy was also nominated for a Connecticut Children's Book Award for Illustration for The Freedom Business as an illustrator and co-author.

Deborah Dancy was the art director and the illustrator of The Freedom Business, a book by her friend, Marilyn Nelson.

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2 Reels (Magnetic tape audio recordings ) : RR 13 1 reel, 1:12:32; tape speed 3¾ IPS; track position ½-Track Mono; Substrate: Polyester. RR 21 1 reel, 1:03:10; tape speed 3¾ IPS; track position ½-Track Mono; Substrate: Polyester.

Language of Materials

From the Series: English