Spring Arts Guide 2013

The Hampton Years May 29-June 30 at Theater J

With its themes of art and identity, Jacqueline E. Lawton’s The Hampton Years seems like a natural fit for the first new plays to emerge from Theater J’s inaugural Locally Grown: Community Supported Art Festival. Last January The Hampton Years was still a work in progress; this May, it premieres as one of two productions anchoring the 2013 festival. It examines the years that African-American visual artists John Biggers and Samella Lewis spent at the Hampton Institute in Virginia during World War II. Biggers and Lewis studied under painter Viktor Lowenfeld, an Austrian Jewish refugee who left a significant but controversial mark on the work and careers of artists struggling in a segregated society. After months of revisions, The Hampton Years, in its latest form, seems poised to explore ideas that may resonate with audiences in a city striving to develop its identity as a hotbed for new plays. $15-$25.

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