Artist Charles McGee

2019 Legacy Award: Detroit Artist Charles McGee

We are very excited and proud to announce the 2019 Legacy Award will be presented to Detroit artist Charles McGee in recognition of a lifetime of achievements and influences as an artist, teacher, advocate and global citizen.

The award will be presented as part of our signature fundraiser, the Legacy Gala. The annual event, presented again by Thompsonville residents Mo and Linda White, will take place on Friday August 16th, 2019 at Crystal Mountain.

Event Tickets and Info Here
Lyndsay McGee, daughter of the artist, will be in attendance to accept the award on behalf of her 94 year-old father. Former Director of the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum at Saginaw Valley State University and MLAP founding board member, Marilyn Wheaton, will pay tribute to her longtime friend. Art Park board member Mary Ann Cheney is the event’s Chair.

I am so grateful I was able to meet someone like Art Park founder David Barr on my journey of learning. His energy really inspired me and has been a guiding light in my creative experiences. The park is a didactic building block for the community. Charles McGee

With a distinguished career spanning eight decades, McGee is recognized internationally as a cultural icon of Detroit. His work is cherished in many contemporary art collections around the world, as well as the permanent collections of the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit and the Dennos Museum Center in Traverse City. In 2008, he was awarded the first Kresge Eminent Artist award.

He has been a significant influence for generations of young artists through teaching and mentoring, as well as founding multiple arts organizations, such as the Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit (CAID) and his own Gallery 7 in 1968. At age 92, McGee oversaw installation of his largest public work, an 11-story mural titled Unity in downtown Detroit’s Capitol Park.

Artist Charles McGee at work in his studio

Photo: Jarrett Begick

“We are truly honored by the opportunity to salute Charles with this award. We share his belief in the power of art to connect people to each other, and the environment around them. His energetic projects and ideas have created a lasting impact on Michigan’s culture, which is exactly what the Legacy Award is designed to recognize,” said Art Park Executive Director Joseph Beyer.

McGee has lived a life marked by overcoming adversity, personal resolve, positivity, and belief in the power of community. He served in the Marine Corps after World War II, continued his creative work in the midst of 1960’s riots, watched as Detroit struggled and was then rejuvenated, and continues to be a strong advocate and inspiration for young artists.

Charles McGee

Photo by Sal Rodriguez

In 1994, the exhibit “Charles McGee Seeing Seventy” traveled to the Dennos Museum in Traverse City; his 2002 work Time Structure hangs permanently in the museum’s indoor sculpture court today.

The Legacy Gala event will feature a video tribute to McGee, silent auction, cocktail hour, sparkling wine reception, locally-sourced dinner, and live music.

Event sponsorships are available now. Individual tickets for the limited-seating event go on sale April 22, 2019.

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