Photojournalist Melvin Grier brought his powerful, insightful images to the Taft Museum of Art as Duncanson Artist-in-Residence November 1-14, 2004. Grier was the eighteenth artist-in-residence and the first visual artist to be awarded the honor since 1993.An award-winning photojournalist and Cincinnati Post staff photographer for the past 30 years, Grier presented workshops, programs, and lectures to school and public audiences. At the center of the residency was 15 Retro/15 Active, an exhibition of 30 photographs by Grier in the Taft Museum of Art’s Dater Education Room through the month of November.
“This is a wonderful opportunity to go out into the community to talk about photojournalism,” said Grier. “The residency offers the chance for various audiences to engage in dialogue about the role of contemporary photography and its importance in providing one of the fundamental liberties in our society.”
“My photographs document people of diverse backgrounds, allowing individuals to experience a more expansive outlook about themselves and others,” continued Grier. “This hopefully can lead to better communication and improved relationships. The Duncanson artist residency presents an important avenue to continue this direction.”
Melvin Grier has traveled around the world on assignment to countries including Cuba, El Salvador, Honduras, Kenya, Puerto Rico, Somalia, and Vietnam, as well as throughout the United States.
His photographs have been published in Time, Newsweek, Ebony, and Sports Illustrated, to name a few. He has been honored by many professional organizations, including awards from the Kentucky Press Association, Associated Press Society of Ohio, Ohio News Photographer Association, Scripps-Howard, and the Queen City Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Locally, Grier won a Donald A. Sowell Award in Visual Arts in 2000, Cincinnati Magazine’s Best Photograph in 1993, a YMCA Black Achiever Award in 1986, and a WCIN Image Maker Award in 1983.
Grier demonstrates his devotion to the Cincinnati community through his involvement. He has presented his work and spoken about photojournalism to audiences from elementary schools to universities. He assisted Hughes High School in setting up its newspaper and has allowed many students to “shadow” him while working. He has spoken at the Cincinnati Art Museum and the Contemporary Art Center, and serves as an Adjunct Faculty Advisor at the Union Institute.