Engage | Event

Sarah Jane Hardrath Kramer Lecture with Artist Willie Cole

May 04, 2023 6:00pm - 8:00pm

Sarah Jane Hardrath Kramer Lecture with Artist Willie Cole 

This annual event celebrates the life of Sarah Jane Hardrath Kramer and her passion for the visual arts and learning, and recognizes her many years of tireless, enthusiastic, and dedicated service to the Dulin Gallery of Art and the Knoxville Museum of Art. The fund established by Sarah’s family, friends, and others committed to the arts supports lectures by a prominent artist, art historian, art educator, or expert in a related field. We hope that all who attend will share in Sarah’s love for the arts and for the museum.

This year’s speaker is a recent addition to the KMA Collection and a featured artist in the Tennessee Triennial. New Jersey based artist, Willie Cole is a contemporary sculptor, printmaker, and conceptual artist known for his innovative and unorthodox arrangements of disparate elements inspired by African and African-American histories and traditions. Cole is a nationally recognized artist whose work has exhibited in many museums including the Museum of Modern Art, NY, Bronx Museum of Art, and the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University; he is represented by Alexander and Bonin Gallery (NYC), Maus Contemporary Gallery (Alabama), Gavlak Gallery (Los Angeles/Florida), and Kavi Gupta Gallery (Chicago).

 Free and open to the public! Reservations are requested—no promo code required.


Willie Cole (American, b. 1955) is known for his mixed media sculptures that focus on the cultures of West Africa. His upbringing by both his mother and grandmother in the 1960s has had a lasting impact on his work, as his continued use of irons in his sculptures signifies the domestic role of African women during this time. His fascination with African art developed as he continued his education at the School of Visual Arts in New York, where he studied the culture of the Yoruba society. Recently Cole’s work was exhibited at the Museum of Arts and Design (New York, NY), Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art (Kansas City, MO) and Birmingham Museum of Art (Birmingham, AL). Selected public collections include Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA; Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

This project is supported, in whole or in part, by the federal award number SLFRP5534 awarded to the State of Tennessee by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.