Annual Theme Gallery: Heroes

William Aiken Walker, Cotton Picker, 1886, Oil on canvas, 18 1/4 × 10 1/4 in. Clara S. Peck Fund. 2018.5.

On view:  February 25, 2023 – February 2024
Location: Members’ Gallery, Floor 2

In 2023, The Rockwell Museum celebrates Heroes and the courage of people moved by conviction, truth and love to improve communities, society and our world. As our world changes, these indelible fingerprints resonate in different ways. The effect of heroes can be subtle or monumental, local or global and lingers long after they are gone. As you experience our exhibitions and programming this year, consider where you hope to leave your own fingerprints.

Heroes are often stereotypes of super-human capabilities. Real life heroes defy these clichés. Some heroes guide, protect and care for those around them. Others fight against oppression and champion those unable to fight for themselves. Some heroes brandish pencils, brushes or musical instruments as their tools. These quiet heroes may be overlooked because their duties and efforts are unglamorous or even expected. Many of the stories we rally around today are legacies that were never intended to be heroic.

Heroes highlights new acquisitions, such Stephen Towns’ I am the Glory (2022), which will go on view at The Rockwell for the first time. The exhibition also includes old favorites that visitors will recognize, such as Andy Warhol’s John Wayne. The artworks in this exhibition represent those who support us as well as those who we might aspire to be. Who do you see as your hero? What heroic qualities do you recognize in yourself? Look for more heroes in the permanent collection galleries!



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