Featuring poetry by Douglas Kearney, music by Davu Seru and Pat O’Keefe, and dance by Deja Stowers
Thursday, October 1, 2015 6-9PM
Walker Art Center, 1750 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis


In this unique in-gallery program, a variety of artists will respond to the paintings of Jack Whitten through dance, music, and poetry. Poet Douglas Kearney, musicians Davu Seru and Pat O’Keefe, and dancer Deja Stowers will stage performances inspired by the surrounding pieces and Whitten's broader body of work. Whether you’re a fan of painting, poetry, or the performing arts, you won’t want to miss this incredible event.

SCHEDULE: Taking place over the course of three hours, the public is invited to come and go at anytime to view the art of Jack Whitten and the “Portraits of Jack” we are presenting this evening. Each performance will start on the half hour in the following order:

  • 6-6:30PM: Deja Stowers (dance)
  • 6:30-7PM: Douglas Kearney (poetry)
  • 7-7:30PM: Davu Seru and Pat O’Keefe (music)
  • 7:30-8PM: Deja Stowers (dance)
  • 8-8:30PM: Douglas Kearney (poetry)
  • 8:30-9PM: Davu Seru and Pat O’Keefe (music)

About the Artists:


photo by Eric Plattner

Douglas Kearney is a poet, performer, librettist, and educator. His second poetry collection, The Black Automaton (Fence Books, 2009), was a National Poetry Series selection, and his most recent book, Patter (Red Hen Press, 2014) was a finalist for the California Book Award. Kearney’s work has appeared in many journals (including Poetry, The Boston Review, Ninth Letter, and Callaloo) and in several important anthologies, including Best American Poetry, Best American Experimental Writing, and What I Say: Innovative Poetry by Black Poets in America. He has a particular interest in ekphrastic poetry and has performed his work at many art-related spaces. Born in Brooklyn, NY, Kearney now lives with his family in California’s Santa Clarita Valley and teaches in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at CalArts.

OKeefe-webPat O’Keefe is a multifaceted performer who is active and in demand in a wide variety of musical styles and genres. He has performed as a soloist with symphony orchestras and wind ensembles, wailed away for belly dancers, and rocked samba in the streets. He is currently the woodwind player for the St. Paul–based new music ensemble Zeitgeist. O’Keefe currently teaches at the University of Wisconsin, River Falls.


photo by Michael McColl

An improvising musician, percussionist and composer, Davu Seru performs regularly in the Twin Cities and abroad as a jazz musician. Like many jazz-rooted musicians influenced by “new music” experiments with extended technique, his approach to the drum set is as much nostalgic as it is technophilic. Davu currently works in a trio with French clarinetist Catherine Delaunay and French bassist Guillaume Seguron, leads the band Click Song (with Marc Anderson, Nathan Hanson, and pick-up band), and is coleader with Mankwe Ndosi of the Mother of Masks, an Afrocentric improvising ensemble of poets, storytellers, activists, and musicians.


Waning Moon Photography

Deja Stowers began dancing at the age of four in the drill team African Perfection. She continued to dance throughout her junior high years, and later studied with masters of West African dance. Stowers is now a dancer in the West African company Voice of Culture Drum and Dance. Her personal works look through a specific African American lens to create art for social change.

For information about the exhibition of paintings, visit the Walker Art Center’s description here. "Portraits of Jack" is co-presented by the Walker Art Center and Rain Taxi Review of Books