TULSA, OK – Nov. 21, 2022 – The Woody Guthrie Center® pays homage to John Mellencamp by drawing connections to Woody Guthrie in an upcoming pocket exhibition, set to open Wednesday, Nov. 30.
Though born 39 years and over 700 miles apart, the connections between Woody Guthrie and John Mellencamp may be closer than they appear. The Woody Guthrie Center looks to highlight some of these similarities as part of a larger refresh to its smaller exhibit spaces throughout the museum.
“Most people might shortsightedly think of Mellencamp’s ‘Jack & Diane’ and mistake it as a pop song rather than a Midwesterner’s reverence to the innocence found in small-town, working-class youth,” said newly appointed director Cady Shaw. “With a closer look, you’ll find Mellencamp has been weaving threads of Heartland charm with folk-steeped storytelling and heavy-mitted activism through his lyrics, paintings and advocacy his whole life. From co-founding Farm Aid in 1985, touring for free on sidewalks and public parks across America in 2000, to reworking Bob Dylan’s 1964 ‘Only a Pawn in Their Game’ to reflect the racial turmoil following the murder of George Floyd in 2020 — Mellencamp has consistently been an active voice for the greater good.”
In addition to photographs and album covers, the exhibit will display a large painting by Mellencamp, depicting Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie; as well as the musician’s guitar, adorned with a similar, though more profane, sentiment carved into the body as Guthrie had famously done to his own.
Following the opening of the Mellencamp exhibition, the Woody Guthrie Center will present another pocket exhibit to highlight its recently acquired Oscar Brand Family Collection on Dec. 7. Both exhibits will take the place of the center’s current “Fire in Little Africa” displays that saw an extended run following its debut in spring of 2021.
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About the Woody Guthrie Center®
The Woody Guthrie Center, opened in 2013, is dedicated to spreading Woody Guthrie’s message of diversity, equality and justice to a new generation who can create their own ripples of change. The center honors Guthrie’s life and legacy by educating visitors, teachers, students and scholars about his relevance today and his important role in American history through on-site programming, classroom materials, youth music programs, artist-in-residence programs, school outreach, internships, fellowship opportunities and the Woody Guthrie Center Archives.
For more information, please visit www.woodyguthriecenter.org.