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Press Release

TechTown's Con/Vida receives grant for Brazilian art show

PR Newswire

Bandits & Heroes, Poets & Saints to premiere at Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History

DETROIT, May 4, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Con/Vida: Popular Arts of the Americas, a nonprofit arts and culture organization headquartered at Wayne State's TechTown business incubator, has been selected to receive a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The grant will allow Con/Vida to organize the exhibition Bandits & Heroes, Poets & Saints -- Popular Art of the Northeast of Brazil in partnership with the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit.

Bandits & Heroes, Poets & Saints is the first major exhibition of art from Brazil's northeast to travel in North America. Through lively prints, woodcarvings, paintings and other objects, the show tells the story of how African, European and indigenous traditions became inextricably intertwined in that region.

Exhibition curators Mame Jackson, distinguished professor emerita at Wayne State University, and Barbara Cervenka, O.P., professor at Siena Heights University, are partnering with exhibition experts at the Wright Museum to present Bandits & Heroes in Midtown Detroit's university cultural center district.

"This show will be particularly interesting to Detroiters because it highlights African contributions to Brazil's culture," said Jackson, who often has traveled to northeastern Brazil with Cervenka over the past 20 years. "We were impressed by the liveliness of the art and by its connections to the history and traditions of the region," Cervenka said.

Juanita Moore, president and CEO of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, noted that the art of northeast Brazil reflects African cultural influences and history.

"The Wright Museum is excited to launch Bandits and Heroes in Detroit -- the first cohesive collection of popular art from the northeast of Brazil," Moore explained. "Jackson and Cervenka have injected their knowledge and passion into this novel exhibition, giving Detroiters a chance to connect with South American history and culture from an academic perspective."

TechTown President and CEO Leslie Smith applauded Con/Vida's achievement and the partnership that brought Bandits & Heroes to life:

"This traveling exhibition is an exciting example of what can be accomplished through arts and culture collaboration in Midtown," she said. "Combining the scholarly resources of Wayne State University with the creative entrepreneurial resources of TechTown and the cultural resources of The Wright Museum has brought an enriching artistic experience to Detroit and other parts of the world."

Following 2013's inaugural showing at the Wright Museum, Bandits & Heroes, Poets & Saints will travel to Chicago's DuSable Museum of African American History, the Robert W. Woodruff Library at the Atlanta University Center, and the International Civil Rights Center and Museum in Greensboro, N.C. Other venues may be added.

Additional funding for the project was provided through the Michigan Council for the Humanities and the Wayne State University Research Enhancement Program.

Established in 2000 by professors Marion (Mame) Jackson of Wayne State University and Barbara Cervenka of Siena Heights University, Con/Vida is a nonprofit organization located in Detroit's TechTown. It is dedicated to promoting understanding of the diverse cultures of the Americas through exhibitions and programs featuring the arts of ordinary people, showcasing the cultures of Brazil and Peru in particular. Cervenka and Jackson have circulated traveling exhibitions to more than 50 museums and cultural centers in the United States and Canada in the past 20 years; these exhibitions have been viewed by approximately 500,000 people.

For more information about Con/Vida -- Popular Arts of the Americas, visit

Founded in 1965 and located in the heart of Midtown Detroit's Cultural Center, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History is the world's largest institution dedicated to the African American experience. The Wright Museum provides learning opportunities, exhibitions, programs and events based on collections and research that explore the diverse history and culture of African Americans and their African origins. For more information visit

TechTown is a community of passionate, diverse people and businesses driven by an entrepreneurial spirit to pursue extraordinary opportunities. Entrepreneurs join TechTown to gain guidance and get connected with resources needed for success. TechTown offers entrepreneurs unique access to Wayne State University's research, academic and technology assets. By reigniting an entrepreneurial culture, TechTown is fueling business growth, job creation and the revitalization of Detroit's Midtown and beyond.

For more information visit

SOURCE Wayne State University