Fairmont State University will host a cultural dialogue when a new art exhibit opens next month.

The exhibit, “See Related Story: The Murder of J.R. Warren,” is set to open Feb. 7. The multi-media exhibit was created by Brooklyn-based artist Rory Golden.

Warren, 26, a Grant Town native and African American homosexual man, was killed in July 2000. Two local white teen-agers were later convicted of his murder.

Golden said he read about the murder in an issue of The Advocate, a national magazine. At the time, he was completing graduate work in Alabama. In 2004, he completed a series of paintings involving themes of race and sexual culture.

“The day I finished that series, I didn’t remember J.R.’s name, but the project was in my consciousness,” Golden said.

He began research, eventually moving to Fairmont from New York for about six months to interview community members in the Grant Town area.

Golden said he was apprehensive moving to West Virginia from New York City, but was glad he did.

“I wondered how people would respond, I’m an outsider. But it was great,” Golden said. “The people are terrific, really warm and wonderful. They appreciated so many things about the culture I didn’t know.”

Golden said his visit to Fairmont provided different views for his project.

“I knew what I thought about the murder, but it was important to explore other people’s perspectives,” he said. “This project includes a range of points of view.”

Golden said he interviewed a variety of people, from lawyers to members of Warren’s family.

After much reading, researching court exhibits and informal interviews in Marion County, Golden said he thought about the project for a year before he began producing pieces for the exhibit.

The goal of the project is to open up dialogue about the issues involved, Golden said. Even if people have different ideas, the dialogue is important, he said.

Now, Golden is ready to put his work on display. The exhibit will debut in Fairmont, then travel the country, he said.

Marian Hollinger, curator of the Brooks Gallery at FSU, said the university has never hosted an event like this before. Panel discussions with visiting experts on crime and hate crimes will take place that week.

While the gallery will be filled with two-dimensional art pieces, a digital video will play in a separate room. Golden will be on hand for discussion after each showing of the video. Educational brochures, panel discussions, artist talks and lectures are all part of the project.

Notices from the university state the exhibit includes adult themes.

“There is material I feel is not appropriate for children,” Hollinger said.

The exhibit officially opens with a reception from 7-9 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 7, and is free and open to the public. The exhibit will remain on display through Feb. 28 during regular hours, Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

A short digital video will be screened in Multi-Media Room B of the Ruth Ann Musick Library at 2 and 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 8; at 2 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9; at 2 and 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 12; and at 2 and 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 13.

A panel discussion is planned for 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 8, in conjunction with the 6 p.m. video screening on that day. The discussion, featuring Golden, Dr. James J. Nolan, Dr. Shaka McGlotten and at least two community members, will take place in Multi-Media Room B of the Ruth Ann Musick Library.

Nolan is an associate professor in the Division of Sociology and Anthropology at West Virginia University, where he teaches courses in the area of crime and social control.

Shaka McGlotten is an Assistant professor of Anthropology and Media, Society and the Arts at Purchase College in New York. His research focuses on the intersection of the politics and poetics of race, desire and technology. He has had a long-standing interest in the murder of Warren and in 2006 presented this research at the University of Chicago.

Admission is free to the exhibit and its related events. For more information or special viewing arrangements, call or e-mail Curator Marian J. Hollinger at (304) 367-4300 or mhollinger@fairmontstate.edu.

Golden will be available for conversation after each screening. Individuals and community groups are welcome to attend. The artist is seeking community members to interview about Warren’s murder for a longer and more comprehensive film project.

Community members who have memories or memorabilia to share about this incident can contact him via e-mail at rorynewyork@hotmail.com.

Attempts to reach the Warren family were unsuccessful.

E-mail Katie Wilson at kwilson@timeswv.com.

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