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Midnight at the BarrelhouseThe Johnny Otis Story$
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George Lipsitz

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780816666782

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816666782.001.0001

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The Watts Breakaway

The Watts Breakaway

(p.139) Seven The Watts Breakaway
Midnight at the Barrelhouse

George Lipsitz

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter focuses on Johnny Otis’ visual art endeavors; his drawing, painting, and sculpture emerged from his love of and immersion in the spirit of the Black community. Otis perceived strong affinities between visual art and music. His artwork derived from the everyday life of the Black community; he followed the lead of local black and white artists such as Noah Purifoy and Judson Powell who were engaged in the same mixed-media assemblage form of art. One musician that Otis influenced was Margie Evans, who became a prominent artist-educator dedicated to preserving knowledge about the blues. The latter part of the chapter details Otis’ endeavors after his retirement, notably the establishment of the Johnny Otis Center for the Arts, a project intended to address the needs of children in Sonoma County.

Keywords:   Johnny Otis, Noah Purifoy, Judson Powell, mixed-media assemblage, Margie Evans, blues, Johnny Otis Center for the Arts

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