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Posted on: November 27, 2023

Springfield Art Museum Exhibits Kent Bicentennial Portfolio

The words "Made In USA" in gold against a cream background


Springfield, MO. (November 27, 2023) – The Springfield Art Museum is pleased to present Spirit of Independence: Kent Bicentennial Portfolio opening on Saturday, December 2, 2023. This special exhibition re-engages with the central question posed to 12 American artists by the Kent Bicentennial Program in 1976, “What does independence mean to you?”

The portfolio was sponsored by the Lorillard Tobacco Company as a celebration of our country’s bicentennial year and then gifted to 100 museums across the country, including the Springfield Art Museum. Each artist was given the freedom to respond with their own interpretation of the central question. The resulting portfolio presents twelve very different views of independence from the historical to the highly personal, and from the theoretical to the symbolic. This portfolio invites us to re-engage with this central question, and founding ideology of American democracy, as we enter into the presidential election season in 2024.
This exhibition is pulled from the Museum's permanent collection and features work by Audrey Flack, Fritz Scholder, Jacob Lawrence, Marisol Escobar, Robert Indiana, Edward Ruscha, and Will Barnet, among others. Spirit of Independence: Kent Bicentennial Portfolio is organized by Curator of Art Sarah Buhr and asks the questions, “What does independence mean to you? What does it look like? Who is it for? Who has it? Who doesn’t? How does it function in your daily life?” 
Visitors can answer these questions on an in-gallery Post-It wall, as well as annotate a transcription of the text of the Declaration of Independence. Springfield Mayor Ken McClure, President of the NAACP Chapter of Springfield, Missouri Cheryl Clay, GLO Center Board Member Dr. Kyler Sherman-Wilkins, Anishinaabe-Dine’ Member Chante Falcon, and Co-Presidents of the League of Women Voters of Southwest Missouri Emily Fessler and Sherry Buchanan provided community labels discussing their connection to works on view in the exhibit.
See Spirit of Independence: Kent Bicentennial Portfolio from December 2, 2023 through April 7, 2024 in the Eldredge Gallery. This exhibition includes Spanish language translations for all exhibit text and interactive elements. The 2023 Exhibition Season is presented by Friends of the Springfield Art Museum, Inc. The Springfield Art Museum is sponsoring this program in partnership with the Missouri Humanities and the Missouri Humanities Trust Fund. The Springfield Art Museum is located at 1111 East Brookside Drive Springfield, MO 65807. Admission is always free. Donations are gratefully accepted.


The Springfield Art Museum is Springfield, Missouri’s oldest cultural institution, founded in 1928. A department of the City of Springfield, the Museum invites you to connect with the world, your community, and yourself through active engagement with art objects. For more information, please visit or contact Joshua Best, Museum Affairs Officer at (417) 874-2859 or

Kent Bicentennial Portfolio
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