Cultural pressures on standards of beauty fluctuate from era to era, group to group. In the United States, they vary among ethnicities as well.

With “Posing Beauty in African-American Culture,” historian Deborah Willis, Ph.D., explores those definitions through photography, film, video, fashion, advertising and pop culture. The exhibit spans the 19th century to the advent of the internet.

Subjects range from Huey P. Newton to Lil’ Kim, Fannie Lou Hamer to Grace Jones. Artists in the exhibition include Anthony Barboza, Sheila Pree Bright, Renee Cox, Bruce Davidson, Leonard Freed, Charles “Teenie” Harris, Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, Gordon Parks, Mickalene Thomas and Carrie Mae Weems, among others.

The exhibit runs Oct. 6 through Jan. 21. The first weekend features free entrance to the museum, with live music, poetry and food trucks on Saturday, Oct. 7.

The show is toured by Curatorial Assistance Traveling Exhibitions and was organized by the Department of Photography & Imaging at New York University, Tisch School of the Arts. It is supported by The J.L. Bedsole Foundation with additional support from Mobile City Council members Levon Manzie (District 2), Bess Rich (District 6), C.J. Small (District 3), John Williams (District 4) and Fred Richardson (District 1).

Arcadia Mill’s captive community
From 1828-55, Arcadia Mill thrived, with an industrial operation that included two lumber mills, a textile mill, a bucket factory and one of Florida’s earliest railroads. Its diverse community included enslaved African-American laborers among Anglo-American workers and managers.

Adrianne Sams Walker, manager of the Arcadia Mill Archaeological Site, will discuss research on the mill’s disenfranchised community in a talk at the University of South Alabama Archaeological Museum (6052 USA Drive, S.) Monday, Oct. 9, at 4:30 p.m..

Entrance is free. The talk is aimed at adult general audiences.

For more information, call 251-460-6106 or email

Chamber Music hosts Parker Quartet
In the last year, the Parker Quartet has performed at the National Gallery of Art and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., and St. John’s College, and toured through festivals in Maine, Colorado and Virginia. Autumn finds them starting their fourth year in residence at Harvard University, but in early October you’ll find them in the Azalea City.

Mobile Chamber Music will feature this “inspiring,” “luminous” and “exceptional” Grammy Award-winning string ensemble on Oct. 8 at 3 p.m. in the Laidlaw Performing Arts Center on the USA campus. The program includes Mozart’s Quartet in B flat major, Györgi Ligeti’s String Quartet No. 1 and Bartók’s String Quartet No. 6.

Single tickets are available at the door on the day of the concert for $20, $10 for students. Season tickets for Mobile Chamber Music are available by calling 251-476-8794 or online at