CMA’s adjunct curator of American Folk Art, Michael Hall, first met Elijah Pierce, a self-taught sculptor, in 1971. Hall became a frequent visitor to Pierce’s Long Street barber shop/studio for the next ten years. Recently, Chiquita Mullens Lee interviewed Michael and many others who had known Pierce to gain a perspective onthe barber/sculptor who is the subject of her recent play “Pierce to the Soul.” Pierce, himself, was a legendary story teller and all of the individuals that Mullens Lee interviewed had their own Pierce stories to tell.
The resulting play, presented by CATCO, is, according to Hall, “a surprisingly vital and revelaing collage of stories that form a compelling portriat of the artist who has left an indelible imprint on the history of the city of Columbus and on the whole of the field of American folk art.”
“I was transported, again, to the barber shop as I knew it in the 1970s and spent time with a man I had grown to know and admire both as an artist and a human being so many years ago,” said Hall.
CMA has a large collection of Pierce works, some of which will be on view again when the renovation work on the Museum’s historic Broad Street building is completed later this year.