“Eyes Forward: Creating our Narratives,” an art exhibition featuring four contemporary African American artists, will open as part of ArtHop at M Street Graduate Studios from 5 to 8 p.m., Thursday, March 1. The exhibition will run through March 18.

“Eyes Forward” includes the sculptural works of Michael Chukes and Tim Washington, as well the multimedia works of April Bey and Loren Holland. These powerful and varied artists speak to the importance of personal agency and the construction of cultural narratives.

Holland and Chukes will be part of an artist lecture and panel moderated by Dr. Keith Jordan, professor, Fresno State Art and Design Department, from 3 to 4:30 p.m., Thursday, March 1, in Conley Art, Room 101.

Although the four artists have diverse backgrounds, interests, and life experiences, their narratives intersect on themes related to race, class, social and gender issues. In “Eyes Forward,” the viewer is invited to contemplate the artists’ disenchantment with the current social establishment, as well as their altruistic vision for a more harmonious future, said Cindy Urrutia, director for the Center for Creativity and the Arts at Fresno State.

“Eyes Forward” was originally conceptualized and co-curated by James Panozzo, founder and executive director of Launch LA, and Mar Hollingsworth, program manager and visual arts curator with the California African American Museum. “Eyes Forward” debuted at the Los Angeles Art Show in January 2018 and featured work from 10 contemporary artists of color who live and work in Los Angeles.

In Fresno, the exhibition is a smaller selection of works that are provocative and thought-provoking, Urrutia said.

“Eyes Forward” is being sponsored by the Center for Creativity and the Arts, the Department of Art and Design and the Black Faculty and Staff Association.

The Center for Creativity and the Arts serves a hub for arts in which artists from a variety of backgrounds can work to stimulate public engagement through inquiry, discussion and understanding. The theme for this year’s programming is “Voice and Silence.”

Hours for M Street Graduate Studios (located at 1419 M St.) are noon to 4 p.m., Fridays through Sundays, and other days by appointment. Call 559.278.3345.