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The Tweed Museum is proud to announce the exhibition “Compassionate Witness: Drawings by Big Al Carter “.

Allen D. "Big Al" Carter (1947-2008) was an immensely productive artist who defied stylistic trends and commercial expectations to pursue his singular vision on his own terms.

Mr. Carter had exhibited his works widely since the 1970s, often receiving ecstatic reviews from critics, but he was never fully comfortable with the world of art galleries and patrons. Instead, he spent 30 years teaching in alternative schools in Arlington County, Virginia, while compulsively drawing and painting at home.

He often depicted themes from African American life and was exhibited alongside such renowned black artists as Romare Bearden, but Mr. Carter resisted racial labels and preferred to be called simply an "American artist."

"I paint poor and rich people and their relationships in this society," he told the Virginian-Pilot newspaper in 1997. "I paint the hungry, the homeless, war veterans, children, the powerful and the powerless. I depict pain, joy, contradictions, hope and despair."


This is the second exhibition of the work by this extraordinary artist in the Tweed Museum.


This activity is made possible in part by a grant provided by Minnesota State Arts Board, through an appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.


Free and open to the public, the Tweed Museum of Art is located in Ordean Court on the campus of the University of Minnesota Duluth.


Museum hours are Tues. 9am-8pm, Wed.-Fri. 9am-4:30, Sat. and Sun. 1-5pm.


For more information about the Tweed Museum of Art and its programs, 218-726-8222 or visit



The Tweed Museum of Art is one of six units in the School of Fine Arts, UMD. The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.

Allen D. “Big Al” Carter (American, 1947 – 2008)
Self Portrait
ink on paper, 6 x 4 ½”
Private Collection


Allen D. “Big Al” Carter (American, 1947 – 2008)
“Shine on me Good Lord”
charcoal and watercolor on paper, 18 ¾ x 26 1/8”
Private Collection


Allen D. "Big Al" Carter (American, 1947 - 2008)

"Three Negro Bugs Landing on a tree"





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Last modified on 06/20/14 11:02 AM
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