GoggleWorks and Alvernia welcome national artist-activist Halim Flowers to Reading

Once given two life sentences at 17, Flowers now makes art for social change

GoggleWorks Center for the Arts and Alvernia University have announced a partnership to host an exhibition and live art programs featuring nationally-renowned artist Halim Flowers in Reading on March 23rd.

In 1997, as a minor, Halim A. Flowers was arrested and wrongfully sentenced to two life sentences in Washington, DC. His experiences aired on HBO in the Emmy award-winning documentary “Thug Life in DC”. Released under a new juvenile resentencing law, Flowers’ 2019 freedom was documented by Kim Kardashian-West’s “The Justice Project” film. Upon release, he was awarded the Halcyon Arts Lab and Echoing Green fellowship awards.

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“Halim Flowers’ work is evocative and gripping,” said Levi Landis, executive director at GoggleWorks, where a limited-run exhibition of work on loan from local collector John Gallen will be on view from March 22nd through March 27th.

“We are lucky to present a snapshot of his expansive work alongside dynamic programs with the artist that further bring his story to life.”

Public programs on Wednesday, March 23rd will take place at both campuses:

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From 3:30-5pm, Alvernia University (Francis Hall, Zygmunta Ln, Reading, PA 19607) will host a kick-off event featuring a presentation with the artist, live performances including readings of Flowers’ acclaimed poetry, John Gallen as guest speaker, and a moderated Q&A.

From 6-9pm, GoggleWorks Center for the Arts (201 Washington St. Reading, PA 19601) will host an exhibition opening reception, featuring an artist meet-and-greet and presentation, heavy appetizers, beer and wine bar, and entertainment.

“When John Gallen and Dr. Janae Sholtz approached me with this idea, I immediately said yes. Halim Flowers’ life and the message of love in his art resonate well with Alvernia’s core values of peacemaking, collegiality, and humility,” said Dr. Darryl Mace, Alvernia’s Inaugural Vice President for Mission, Diversity and Inclusion.

“This partnership, bridging Alvernia University’s board of trustees, faculty, and staff with the city of Reading, is exactly why Alvernia launched the CollegeTowne initiative. We are excited to work with Levi Landis and his team as together we deepen the strong partnership between Alvernia University and GoggleWorks Center for the Arts.”

“Lisa and I are happy to be introducing Halim Flowers to the community,” said John Gallen, the collector and local leader helping facilitate the exhibition and presentations.

“We feel fortunate to know this multi-talented artist. During his 22 years of incarceration he taught himself the principles of economics, constitutional law, and etymology which form the basis for the message in his art. Instead of bitterness and anger he developed a philosophy on the power of love. Through his art, written and spoken word, music, and fashion he explores his vision and spreads his message.”

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Berks Weekly
Berks Weekly
Berks Weekly is an independent and locally owned digital newspaper covering the City of Reading and Berks County. Subscribe today: berksweekly.com/subscribe
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