Frost shares his Civil Rights series

Sep 15, 2018
“Constitutional Rights” is part of Jonathan Frost’s ongoing exploration of the American Civil Rights movement through art.

Rockport — Barn Swallow Book Shop, 166 Russell Ave., will host another talk and discussion in its Talks with Maine Painters series Friday, Sept. 28, at 5:30 p.m.

Jonathan Frost, Rockland art gallery owner and painter, will give an illustrated talk about his series of Civil Rights paintings. For more than 12 years, Frost has done, and is still working on, several series of paintings dealing with episodes and movements within the larger Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Subjects include the Montgomery Bus Boycott; “The Death of Jimmie Lee Jackson”; the education and arrest of Claudette Colvin; “Faces of the Nashville Movement”; and a very extensive series-in-progress titled A Righteous Struggle: The Nashville Movement and the Freedom Rides.

In his readings and travels, Frost learned that the Civil Rights Movement was sprawling and complex and visually and emotionally rich. Its eventual relative success was far from inevitable; several local movements failed, and the larger movement often faltered. He went on a tour of Civil Rights historical sites led by Raymond Arsenault, author of “Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice.” On that tour and at Martin Luther King Day observances at Bates College, he met veterans of the Nashville movement and the Freedom Rides.

Frost said his aims in doing this work are to celebrate and to lay out, with all the lushness and dignity and admiration and anger and hope he can muster, a movement he considers one of the most important American social dramas of the 20th century. With only a couple of exceptions, the scenes he depicts were never photographed; they are from the artist’s imagination, based on his reading.

All are welcome. Barn Swallow is next to the former CMCA building and across from the former, and future, Rockport Library location in the village.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or

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