Roland Ayers: Calligraphy of Dreams


About the Exhibition

Master draftsman, Roland Ayers (1932–2014) was born in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia and trained at the Philadelphia College of the Arts (now University of the Arts). His unique style and iconography responded to the social and political climate of his time, while he also made reference to the broader canons of art history. Ayers’s free-flowing compositions— heavily influenced by the improvisational nature of jazz—merged dreams, memories, and the landscapes of Philadelphia into fantastical images. Through his meditative artistic practice, he explored his own unconscious, which he visualized through nature, architecture, and the body. This exhibition offers a thirty-year survey of Ayers’s progression toward his most noted medium, intricate drawings of ink on paper. Through drawing, he explored the psychological and spiritual mysteries of life, striving to understand his own identity and the broader social world.

Roland Ayers: Calligraphy of Dreams is curated by TK Smith, a curator, writer, and Ph.D. candidate in the History of American Civilization program at the University of Delaware.


Exhibition-related Events 

July 10 | 2 pm | Opening Reception

Oct 9 | 2 pm| Member Exchange Part 1: Remembering Paul Robeson: Up Close and Personal

Oct 17 | 2 pm | Member Exchange Part 2: "A New Twist on Art Collecting" & Paul Robeson House & Museum Tour

Oct 20 | 7 pm | Entanglements with the Erotic: Roland Ayers and the Liberation of Flesh | Click here to watch the recorded lecture.


Roland Ayers in the News


The exhibition has been featured in an episode of Woodmere's podcast, Diving Board. To subscribe and listen, click here.

Roland Ayers: Calligraphy of Dreams

Master draftsman Roland Ayers (1932–2014) was born in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia, and he studied at the Philadelphia College of the Arts (now the University of the Arts).
  • SATURDAY NIGHT JAZZ (September 23) will be held INDOORS due to the forecast of rain. Chairs will be provided; no food or drinks in the Museum.