Screen shot 2015-01-20 at 2.44.22 PMA new exhibit exploring how American artists perceive their identity and relate to issues facing the country opens tonight at TCU’s Moudy Gallery.

States of the Union: Highlights from the TCU Permanent Art Collection coincides with President Obama’s State of the Union address tonight. But visiting the exhibit may be a far more valuable experience.

As our country confronts racism, police brutality and discrimination with as much as rage as cynicism, States of the Union couldn’t open at a better time, even if it is opening in a bastion of white privilege.

According to a press statement, the exhibit is a landmark in TCU history; it’s the first public exhibit of many works in the little-known permanent art collection. It’s also the result of a semester-long effort by first-year graduate students in Dr. Mark Thistlethwaite’s Art Museum seminar.

The artist roster is impressive, and not just because many are big names in American history. Among them: Will Barnet, Alice Neel, Lee Krasner, Romare Bearden, Larry Rivers, and Andy Warhol. The curators should be lauded already for not just including impressive names but an array of diversity, including artists of color, as well as women and queer artists.

But don’t worry if you miss tonight’s reception, the exhibit runs until Feb. 19.

States of the Union: Highlights from the TCU Permanent Art Collection opens tonight (Tuesday, Jan. 20) at 6:30 p.m. in the Moudy Gallery, Moudy North, 2805 S. University Dr., Fort Worth and runs through Feb. 19. Hours are Mon-Fri., 11 a.m.–4 p.m. and Sat. 1–4 p.m.