1968: A Folsom Redemption
Celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of a landmark concert that revived his music career, 1968: A Folsom Redemption is a collection of photographs and memories of two journalists lucky enough to be among a handful of eyewitnesses to the historic concerts. This candid and personal photography exhibition covers a critical juncture in the career of one of the twentieth century’s most beloved performers.
In January 1968, Johnny Cash was at a crossroads. His music career, in a slow decline for several years, was in need of a smash hit. He had recently straightened out his personal life, and leadership changes at his record label meant he was able to finally convince them of the merits of a live recording in a prison setting. Cash had been performing for inmates as far back as 1957, when he received a stream of requests from prisoners who identified with the man who sang “Folsom Prison Blues.” This connection developed with prisoners during these concerts had made him increasingly sympathetic to those he would later call “the downtrodden.”
Working as freelance journalists, photographer Dan Poush and writer Gene Beley met with Cash and his family the day before the concerts began, at the invitation of Reverend Floyd Gressett, a friend of Cash’s who ministered to inmates and helped set up the show at Folsom State Prison with Recreation Director Lloyd Kelley. After practicing the set with the Tennessee Three at Hotel El Rancho the night before, on January 13, 1968, Cash, along with opening acts Carl Perkins and the Statler Brothers, performed two separate shows in the dining hall at Folsom.
Notable for capturing Cash’s ability to connect with his audience, the recordings crackled with the excitement of an adoring crowd.
The resulting album, At Folsom Prison, was released four months later to critical and popular acclaim. Beley’s first-person account of those days, and his knowledge of the storylines at work behind the scenes, make this a fascinating exploration of the little-known aspects of a well-known event in popular culture. 1968: A Folsom Redemption takes the viewer right into the heart of this pivotal moment in the life and career of one of the twentieth-century’s most important and cherished musical personalities.
For the first time ever, this travelling road show collection of thirty-two photos features a wide range of intimate photos with friends and family to a backstage meeting with country music legend Merle Haggard with the Man in Black. This exhibition highlights Cash’s golden era from the January 1968 Folsom prison album recording to a March 1, 1969 concert in Anaheim, California when he was getting ready to launch his network television show.
Martin-Lett Gallery of Art
The Martin – Lett Gallery, named for two founding members of the Oxford Arts Council, opened in July 2014. The gallery, located off the main lobby, exhibits different displays throughout the year. Artists may be local or may be represented by out-of-state galleries. Most art is for sale.
Gallery exhibits help to support the visual arts and expose our audiences to new artists. The Martin – Lett Gallery is an educational and entertaining extension of the arts offered at our venue.
Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday, 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and during all OPAC events.
July 2014 J.J. L’Heureux
October 2014 Hawaiian Quilts: "A Family Legacy" by Charles Remington
November 2014 The Art of Jerry Marks
February 2015 Oxford: At the Crossroads of History
June 2015 "Into the Woods" by JSU Students
July 2015 Chy Rose Arts by Lynn C. Phillips
October 2015 From the Back Yard to the Tropics by Larry K. Martin
April 2016 The Art of Lothar “Jack” Hadder
August 2016 "Cast of Blues" by Sharon McConnell-Dickerson
November 2016 "From the Artic to the Tropics" by Larry K. Martin
March 2017 Sign of the Times: The Great American Political Poster
May 2017 Oxford City Schools Artwork
June 2017 The Art of Jerry Marks
July 2017 The varied works of Sandy Sparks
September 2017 Second Time Around: Hub Caps as Art
November 2017 "Artistic Treasures" by Ann Bradberry Robertson
January 2018 "Images of the South" The Varied Artworks of Dr. Arthur "Art" Bacon
March 2018 The Varied Artworks of Barbara Davis
May 2018 Oxford City Schools Student Artwork
September 2018 A Photo Album of Ireland
November 2018 The Artwork of John Denney, III
January 2019 The Artwork of James Brantley
May 2019 Oxford City Schools Student Artwork
August 2019 The Artwork of David Cummings
October 2019 The Artwork of Mila Hirsch
November 2019 Borderlands | Zonas Fronterizas - Paintings of Juan Lopez-Bautista
January 2020 Oxford City Schools Student Artwork
April 2020 Highlights in Low Light - Photographer CJ Foster
September 2021 Through Darkness to Light: Photographs Along the Underground Railroad
November 2021 Art of the Aloha Shirt: Keoni of Hawaii
January 2022 Oxford City Schools Student Art Show
April 2022 Young at Art: A Collection of Caldecott Illustrations
May 2022 A Salute to Our Own: A Collection from the Talladega Hall of Heroes Museum
February 2023 Oxford City Schools Student Art Show
March 2023 Dragons: An Exhibit from the Berman Museum
August 2023 Small Wonders: Insects in Focus
November 2023 Kinship Bonds: Family and Slavery in Calhoun County
November 2023 1968: A Folsom Redemption
Celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of a landmark event, 1968: A Folsom Redemption is a collection of photographs and memories of two journalists lucky enough to be among a handful of eyewitnesses to the historic Johnny Cash concerts at Folsom Prison. This candid and personal photography exhibition covers a critical juncture in the career of Johnny Cash, one of the twentieth century’s most beloved performers.
Winter/Spring 2024 Student Art Show featuring Oxford City Schools
Martin - Lett Gallery of Art Board Members
- Crystal Hancock
- Marilyn Lipscomb-Clark
- John Longshore
- Amanda Wentzel, Gallery Director - email@example.com