Fort Collins Symphony and Artist Louise Cutler

Fort Collins Symphony, Wes Kenney, Director
February 2024
12:00 PM MST
February 2024
07:00 PM MST

About Our Auction

Artist Louise Cutler unveiled her painting “Ethiopia” on Saturday, February 3, 2024 prior to the Fort Collins Symphony’s Colorado premiere performance of Florence Price’s Ethiopia’s Shadow in America.

About Composer Florence Price:
Florence Price broke barriers as the first Black woman to have her music performed by a major American orchestra, the Chicago Symphony. Despite her achievements, Price faced prejudice and discrimination throughout her life because of both her gender and the color of her skin. After her death in 1953, Price and her music were lost and forgotten until a collection of unpublished manuscripts was discovered in 2009. Among those manuscripts was Ethiopia’s Shadow in America, composed in 1932 but not performed for the first time until 2015, a staggering 83 years after its composition.

Ethiopia’s Shadow in America traces the physical and emotional journeys of those who were enslaved against their will and brought to the United States, from their first arrival to their forced adaptation to a new life. Its three sections are titled: 1. “The Arrival of the Negro in America when first brought here as a slave,” 2. “His Resignation and Faith,” and 3. “His Adaptation, a fusion of his native and acquired impulses.”

About the Painting Ethiopia:
In response to this significant piece of music and Price’s enduring legacy, artist Louise Cutler created a 36” x 36” oil on canvas inspired by Ethiopia’s Shadow in America.

Cutler’s Inspiration:
Florence's passion for music and the creation of it was truly remarkable, especially in the face of racial discrimination, hatred, political and creative restraints. As an artist, a woman, and a Black American, I could relate to her struggles.

In order for me to create a painting, I first have to understand the music I am listening to, which means I have to listen to it, study it, and immerse myself in it…I was drawn into Florence’s life, imagining what it must have been like to possess such incredible talent, creativity, and passion for music and yet be unable to fully showcase it to the world.

I had planned to use acrylic for this painting but after listening to the piece and learning Florence Price's journey, I found it too cold for such a passionate musical composition. For this painting I had to use oils. Oil paint to me is very a warm and passionate medium and represents the emotion Florence felt when she created music, if she had been a painter.

About Artist Louise Cutler:
Louise Cutler's artwork has been featured in Art Business News, Art World News, Edge of Faith, and Beyond Words Magazine. She was selected as one of Art Business News magazines’ "Top Emerging Artists." Her painting "Alone" was exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts in London’s Summer Exhibition. Her work has been displayed in The Boulder Museum, The Sandy Springs Museum, The Museum of Science and Industry, The DuSable Museum of African American History, Museum of Art in Fort Collins, Sculpture in The Park, Stola Contemporary Art Gallery in Chicago, and the Arvada Art Center Gallery, among others.

Pieces from the artist commonly sell for 15k+

Auction Proceeds:
Proceeds from this auction will benefit the Fort Collins Symphony’s Open Notes Program, which provides free tickets and educational programs to underserved populations in Fort Collins.

Additional donations to the Open Notes program appreciated and accepted.

About Fort Collins Symphony, Wes Kenney, Director

The mission of the non-profit Fort Collins Symphony is to inspire, engage, serve, and enrich the Northern Colorado community through exceptional music performance and innovative outreach programs that resonate with audiences in meaningful, inclusive, and accessible ways.

The Fort Collins Symphony has been an integral part of Northern Colorado's cultural fabric since 1923 when visionary violinist Editha Todd Leonard established the Fort Collins Community Orchestra. In 1950, conductor Will Schwartz transformed the orchestra into the fully-professional Fort Collins Symphony that we know today. The FCS is led by the award-winning Maestro Wes Kenney, now in his 21st season as the orchestra’s Music Director and Conductor.

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