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APSU professor's exhibit is visual protest of environmental plunder

Propelled by the success of its multi-week Clarksville run, an exhibit by a nationally renowned Middle Tennessee artist is rolling into Nashville, thanks to the Tennessee Arts Commission.

Titled Mr. Peabodys Coal Train, a reference to the famous protest song, Paradise by singer/songwriter John Prine, the exhibit was created by Austin Peay State University Professor of Art Gregg Schlanger as his contribution to the award-winning, seven-week, student-organized film festival held recently at APSU to protest mountaintop-removal mining.
Propelled by the success of its multi-week Clarksville run, an exhibit by a nationally renowned Middle Tennessee artist is rolling into Nashville, thanks to the Tennessee Arts Commission.

Titled “Mr. Peabody's Coal Train,” a reference to the famous protest song, “Paradise” by singer/songwriter John Prine, the exhibit was created by Austin Peay State University Professor of Art Gregg Schlanger as his contribution to the award-winning, seven-week, student-organized film festival held recently at APSU to protest mountaintop-removal mining.

The exhibit will be on display at the Tennessee Arts Commission Gallery, 401 Charlotte Ave., beginning Saturday, Dec. 17, 2005, and running through Friday, Jan. 27, 2006. There will be an opening reception from 5-7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 17.

According to Schlanger, the exhibit addresses issues about the coal-mining industry and connections between mining corporations and the government.

“As a citizen and human being, I'm concerned about some corporations' destruction of the natural environment in the name of profit,” Schlanger said. “As I connect the dots, it is appalling to find direct links between campaign contributions and the lack of law enforcement by officials and complete disregard by mining companies for existing environmental laws.”

Schlanger says that, while this exhibit points directly to one company, Peabody Energy Corp., it also speaks to the widespread destruction by other coal-mining companies in Tennessee and adjacent states.

Schlanger, who holds a Master of Fine Arts from Northern Illinois University, works primarily in installations and community public art projects.

His work, which has been exhibited nationally and internationally, includes projects for the city of Providence, R.I., the Galarie Naue Raume in Berlin, the Galerie Am fischmarkt in Erfurt, Germany, the Waschhaus in Potsdam, Germany, the University of Iowa, University of Arkansas, University of Memphis, University of Tennessee and Fassbender Gallery in Chicago.

Schlanger has received many awards, including a New York Foundation for the Arts Sponsorship, Israel-Tennessee Visual Artist Exchange Project Fellowship, Tennessee Arts Commission Individual Artist Fellowship, USIA Arts America Grant, New England Foundation for the Arts Planning Grant and the National Endowment for the Arts New Forms Regional Initiative Grant.

For more information, telephone Schlanger at (931) 221-7789 or contact him by e-mail at schlangerg@apsu.edu. — Dennie Burke