Afro-American Souls: The Black, the Brilliant, and the Beautiful by Frances Sylvia Longley
"My principal goal in all of my work" writes Frances Longley, "is to denote the spirituality of man and his quest for the heights of perfection and limitlessness of creativity."
"My first alma mater, Xavier University, taught me to reach for the heights. The motto of my second alma mater, Boston College, was 'Ever to Excel.' These were my objectives in creating the images of the Black historic personalities and celebrities presented in this exhibit.
Their leadership in the arts, the sciences, and the social agenda provided the role models and the example for future generations. Through my depictions of them, I render them the homage that they have merited, and I present them to the public view. These personalities and celebrities are Our Heroes: “The Black and the Beautiful.” They have inspired me to achieve my own dreams and objectives through my “MaryArt Series,” in which I celebrate the mission of the Blessed Virgin as depicted in her life and apparitions, particularly during the twentieth century, during which time it is documented that she has appeared in at least eighty places all over the world."
Shown also in this exhibit are three examples of my paintings in the “Floral Bouquets in Watercolor Series.”
Frances Longley graduated from St. Scholastica's Academy for Catholic Girls in Fort Smith, Arkansas, in 1962 and then graduated from Xavier University in New Orleans in 1966. She was granted a Katherine Waddell Fellowship in postgraduate studies in English Literature at Wellesly College and in 1967 was awarded a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship in the graduate program at Boston College, graduating with an M.A. in English Literature in 1975. After her graduate education she became interested in social issues and entered the graduate program in political science at Northeastern University in Boston where she was awarded the Martin Luther King Fellowship, and in 1981 an M.S. in political science.
In 1983 Ms. Longley created an arts and cultural program called SUKI (Students of Universal Knowledge International), featuring cultural arts and poetry of the different minority and ethnic cultures which the program brought to the children's YMCA summer camp in Roxbury, Massachusetts.
Ms. Longley received a lifetime teaching certificate in art, literature, and social studies from Massachusetts, as well as renewable certificates in art and literature from Arkansas and Louisiana. She has spent much of her time recently studying music, as well as painting and entering art shows all over Arkansas several times a year. She is currently in the process of creating a cultural arts program entitled “The MaryArt Series,” which celebrates the mission of the Blessed Virgin as depicted in her life and apparitions, particularly during the twentieth century. She has created thirty paintings on this subject and has presented an oral discussion on Mariology at several locations, including a presentation this year at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Fayetteville.
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