Known for his evocative images of young black men in American cities, photographer John Edmonds will be featured in this evening's installment of the Conversations with Artists series, part of the partnership between the Phillips Collection and University of Maryland.

Held at the University of Maryland Center for Art and Knowledge at the Phillips Collection in Washington, these conversations—tonight's will be between Edmonds and Makeba Clay, chief diversity officer for the Phillips—give students the chance to make connections with artists. The day after each monthly event, the visiting artist meets with students on campus, offering critiques of their work in the studio and advice on the art world over lunch.John Edmonds

Partnering on this series has “had an immediate and very positive effect,” said W.C. Richardson, chair of the Department of Art and Maryland’s coordinator for the events. Bringing in artists from around the world for an intimate conversation with students, he said, is “a highlight of our program."

Edmonds’ work photographing young black men focuses on themes of visibility and invisibility, the complexities of identity, and sexual orientation and gender identity. Past artists have included Washington, D.C., painter and sculptor Renee Stout and Icelandic artist Hrafnhildur Arnardottir, who turns artificial hair into organic sculptures and massive landscapes. Next month’s event, on March 28, will feature Puerto Rican artist Chemi Rosado-Seijo, who creates multimedia projects that reflect political and social issues.

Richardson and other Maryland faculty have also served as interlocutors with artists.

A free bus for Maryland faculty, staff and students departs from the Stamp Student Union for the Phillips every Thursday at 5:30 p.m. and returns at 8 p.m. That makes it easy for members of the UMD community to attend the series, which always takes place on a Thursday at 6 p.m.

“One of the great things is to get students off campus to a cultural institution,” Richardson said. “It’s been fantastic for us.”