This is where you'll find me
AT Kress on Dexter
PRESENTED BY Montgomery BUILDS & Dashboard U.S.
Montgomery - Alabama
April 21 - July 21, 2018
At Kress on Dexter
A story about our collective home told from the diverse perspectives & talents of contemporary Alabama artists. This is where you’ll find me features work by expert craftspeople, compulsive makers, keen observers, & treasure hunters. Featuring Butch Anthony, Willie Mae Brown, Vince Buwalda, Thornton Dial, Sydney Foster, the quilters of Gee’s Bend, RC Hagans, Lonnie Holley, Ronald Lockett, Chintia Kirana, Michi Meko, Joe Minter, Bill Traylor.
Photo credit: Michelle Consuegra/Handshake Union
EXHIBITION PHOTO GALLERY
Click image for title/artist/description.
On view at Montgomery’s storied Kress building, viewers are reminded of the role large department stores have played in small cities and towns throughout American history. They were proactive beacons of American prosperity, community, and consumerism, while simultaneously, in the case of Kress, spaces that upheld segregation, discrimination and racism. As Montgomery continues to thoughtfully renew itself, the city is becoming an example to the rest of the country on the importance of reconciling the past in order to heal and move progressively into the future. As such, the revival of Kress on Dexter will be a hub of inclusivity, innovation and imagination.
The first major art exhibition for Kress on Dexter, This is where you’ll find me reminds us that home — in all its complexities — is the inspiration for art and identity. Showcasing some of Alabama’s most revered artists, many works on view hit social injustice head-on, while others operate more subversively. Some works preserve and revere relics of the rural past, while others repurpose them to re-imagine their meaning. As visitors move through This is where you’ll find me, it unfolds as a reminder that we are the sum of our collective parts — the shiny, the tarnished, the sacred. This is a story of the life-giving work of art.
ABOUT KRESS ON DEXTER
DEXTER AVE: Spanning from the Fountain to the Alabama Statehouse, Dexter Avenue is where MLK and thousands walked the final steps of the Selma to Montgomery Freedom March. Hauntingly, people who were enslaved were paraded from the Alabama River to the Dexter "Fountain" to be sold. Just by that Fountain, Rosa Parks got on her bus. The telegraph instructing troops to fire on Fort Sumter--the message that started America’s civil war--was sent from the Winter Building at 2 Dexter Avenue. The Webber Theatre, the oldest theatre in Alabama, is where actor and assassin John Wilkes Booth performed regularly. Sit-ins with John Lewis and other non-violent activists occurred at the Montgomery bus station and Kress Department Store. Dexter Avenue is the place where so many seminal moments of American history played out, the place where people are now returning-- to create new possibilities for themselves and those around them.
THE KRESS STORY: S.H. Kress was established by Samuel Henry Kress and operated from 1896 to 1981. In the late 1920s a fire destroyed the S.H. Kress & Co. building located at 39 Dexter Avenue, downtown Montgomery. Within six months of the fire, Samuel H. Kress & Co rebuilt the store and forever changed the façade of Lower Dexter Avenue. Montgomerians would dress in their “Sunday best” to experience the grandeur of S.H. Kress. The iconic building has stood tall, surviving years of urban neglect and urban sprawl. Today, the art deco gem has undergone a complete renovation, re-establishing her prominence. Kress on Dexter was awarded the 2017 ABC Excellence in Construction award for the best Historical Restoration under $25MM in the state of Alabama. “For us, it marks the completion of our first ambitious challenge: to honor Kress on Dexter’s architectural design and acknowledge its historical legacy while re-envisioning the space as a dynamic hub for community, innovation and collaboration,” said Sarah Beatty Buller, Co-Founder of Montgomery Builds. Kress on Dexter’s Main Floor will open 4.12.18.
About Montgomery builds
Founded by Mark Buller and Sarah Buller, Montgomery Builds aims to revitalize Dexter Avenue in downtown Montgomery, AL. Several years ago Dexter was a semi-deserted neighborhood. Bad zoning laws had caused decay and urban blight. From the outset, the Bullers were blown away by how much transformative American history occurred on Dexter Avenue—a history too important to let crumble. It was this ”possibility” that sparked them to start Montgomery Builds™ and invest in the artery of Lower Dexter Avenue by purchasing and redeveloping several decaying boarded-up buildings on the block. Kress on Dexter is the symbolic “first" structure that Montgomery Builds™ is restoring. “Our vision is not to demolish old historic buildings, but embrace them, have new structures grow up from them that will serve as platforms for creativity, community, innovation and healing. It’s about people—our stories and how we are connected,” said Sarah Beatty Buller.