For Immediate Release—Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2007
Mary E. McCrank
Media Relations Officer
Lockhart Gallery Exhibit at SUNY Geneseo will Highlight the Cultural Impact of The Supremes
GENESEO, N.Y.—The Lockhart Gallery at the State University of New York at Geneseo will open an exhibit titled, "Girl Power: The Supremes as Cultural Icons," March 1. The exhibit, which will run through April 13, will feature Supremes memorabilia from the collection of Geneseo alumnus Thomas Ingrassia.
The Supremes were one of the most successful musical groups, arguably the most successful female African-American musical group, of the 1960s. Consisting of Diana Ross, Florence Ballard and Mary Wilson, The Supremes gained popularity with black and white audiences performing mostly pop and soul music. The group recorded a series of hits in the United States and is often credited with starting a trend of successful African-American musical acts in the U.S. and overseas.
The cultural effects of The Supremes are still felt in the U.S. to this day. In December, DreamWorks Pictures released a motion picture adaptation of the 1981 Broadway musical "Dreamgirls," which is loosely based on the lives of The Supremes. The motion picture recently earned eight Oscars nominations. The winners will be announced Feb. 25 at the annual Academy Awards ceremony.
Thomas Ingrassia, who manages the Thomas Ingrassia Collection, earned his bachelor's degree in history from Geneseo in 1974 and his master's degree in history from the University of Connecticut in 1975.
In 2000, Ingrassia decided to pursue his dream of a career in the entertainment industry after spending 25 years in the academic field. He is the owner and creative director of Massachusetts-based Ingrassia Artist Management, which specializes in celebrity management, merchandise development, marketing and writing. He also works as a music journalist, entertainment and media outlet consultant and motivational speaker.
Ingrassia's interest in The Supremes began in 1964 after he saw the group perform live on the "Ed Sullivan Show." His collection of Supremes memorabilia includes record albums, newspaper clippings, original photographs, films, magazine covers and other artifacts spanning the beginning of the group's career through the height of its popularity.
"When you piece this collection together, you can really see the huge effect The Supremes had on mainstream culture in this country," says Nicole Cox, visiting director of the college's galleries. "People were talking about them even though they were of a different race. In terms of cultural impact and record sales, The Supremes were right up at the top."
Ingrassia will deliver a talk at 4:30 p.m. March 1 at the Lockhart Gallery to mark the opening of the exhibit. The talk will center on the impact The Supremes made on American culture. A reception will immediately follow, from 5-7 p.m., at the gallery. Guests are encouraged to "come dressed in your sixties best."
The Lockhart Gallery is located in the McClellan House at 26 Main St. in Geneseo. Gallery hours are noon until 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday with extended hours of noon until 8 p.m. on Thursdays. All Lockhart Gallery exhibits are free and open to the public. (The Lockhart Gallery will be closed from March 10-18 during the college's spring break.)
The Supremes exhibit is the first to be shown as part of the Lockhart Gallery's new series "Collecting Alumni," which will annually showcase the exhibitions and artwork of Geneseo alumni.
For more information on the Lockhart Gallery, call (585) 245-5779 or visit lockhartgallery.geneseo.edu. For more information on Ingrassia, visit ingrassiaproductions.com or tingentertainment.com.
Written by Joe Mignano, public relations intern in the Office of Communications and Publications.