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Essential Event Info

W H A T :

  • Directors Scott Galloway & Brent Pierson
  • Released July, 2008
  • TRT: 78 minutes
  • Genre: Documentary - biography, education, art, nature, gardening
  • This film is Rated "G", suitable for all audiences

  • W H E N :

  • Sunday, August 24,
          Matinee - 2 pm
  • Tuesday Aug 26,
          Evening - 7 pm
  • Wednesday Aug 27,
          Evening - 7 pm

  • Doors open at 1:30 and 6:30 pm, respectively.

    W H E R E :

  • Cincinnati Art Museum,
    953 Eden Park Dr, Eden Park/Mt. Adams.
  • Easy Access, Free Parking
    click for Directions & Map

  • T I C K E T S :

  • Cincinnati Art Museum,
  • Tickets are $9 for adults and $7 for Art Museum members, ETA/Start members, military families and students with valid ID.

    $7 tickets are ONLY available online, by phone, at the Museum, and at the door subject to availability.


  • tollfree 1-877-548-3237
  • visit or call the Art Museum (513 721 ARTS)

  • ...and at these locations
    ($9 tix only, cash only),
    click each location below for a map:

  • Clifton - Ludlow Ave. -
    Sitwell's Coffee House
    513 281 7487

  • Mt. Lookout Square -
    Lookout Joe Coffee Roasters

    513 871 8626

  • College Hill - North Central -
    The College Hill Coffee Co.
    513 542 2739

  • Northside - Hamilton Ave. -
    Shake It Music & Video
    513 591 0123

  • Downtown Cincinnati -
    Coffee Emporium
    513 651 5483

  • Tickets will also be available at the door, subject to availability.

    Post-Film Discussion

    Discussion Leaders
    Mendle Adams & Tim Swallow

    Mendle Adams

    Reverend Mendle Adams is the recently retired Pastor of St. Peter's United Church of Christ in Pleasant Ridge. His formal education includes undergraduate degrees from Wesleyan University in Marion, and the Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, both in Indiana. He pursued graduate work at Aquinas College and Harvard University.

    In addition to his career of fifty years with the United Church of Christ, Mendle is noted for his extensive civic involvement and commitment to education and social justice. Reverend Adams is a member of the Racial Justice Youth Ministry Advisory Council, a member of the national board of directors of The Consent of the Governed, and a member of the local chapter of the Interfaith Alliance.

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    A Man Named Pearl
    Watch the Trailer

    §>  If the clip does not load correctly, watch it here.   <§  

    Post-film Update

    >>>  DVD News -- JANUARY UPDATE -- Docurama/New Video has graciously provided DVDs at 50% off the retail price. This is a two-disc set, including the original documentary film, a bonus CD with the film score by composer Fred Story, an update on Pearl Fryar and director Scott Galloway, composer interview and filmmaker biographies.

    Available now at $14 if picked up at a CWC film event, $16 if mailed to you. We accept payment by personal and institutional check, but not credit cards. Priority is given to schools, educators, civic and religious groups. if you wish to order the DVD.

    >>>  Post-film Q&A with Pearl, at the Jacob Burns Film Center, Westchester County, NY.

    >>>  Visit Pearl's website, fryarstopiaries.com - bio, awards, garden photos, plant list, the Friends of Pearl Foundation and more!

    >>>  Read the WVXU film review by Larry Thomas, here. Listen to the review here.

    >>>  Cincinnati audience survey response:   94% rated the film "Excellent," 5% rated it "Very Good," 1% rated it "Good."

    About the Film

    A MAN NAMED PEARL is a subtle and intriguing film that opens hearts and overcomes stereotypes. It focuses on an extraordinary man, a garden of exquisite beauty and love, and a community that has come to life through his artistry, enthusiasm, and sharing of the passion that moves him. And, Fred Story's jazzy, gospel-infused score elevates your spirit, in perfect harmony with the film.

    THIS ENGAGING AND WELL-PACED family-friendly film covers diverse topics without bogging down. Art lovers will groove on the abstract art in Pearl's garden, in the form of amazing topiary designs and sculptures made from found objects. Gardeners and nature buffs will delight in touring the layout that has garnered national and international awards. The "Green Thumbs" among us will marvel at how Pearl succeeded with plantings that the experts said could not survive in his climate zone.

    LOOKING DEEPER INTO PEARL FRYAR'S STORY we experience, without clichés or preaching, an upbeat message that speaks to respect for both self and others - modern day, real-life lessons about personal determination, dignity, race relations, citizenship and "giving back." A blue-collar factory worker from humble origins, with a strong work ethic and strong faith, Pearl's life echoes that of many working Americans - facing adversity, getting on with life, raising a family and doing what good he can.

    "THERE'S ALWAYS GONNA BE OBSTACLES. The thing about it is, you don't let those obstacles determine where you go," says Pearl Fryar, an African-American man now in his late sixties. He should know. In 1976, when Pearl and his wife Metra moved to tiny Bishopville, South Carolina, a prospective neighbor asserted, "black people don't keep up their yards." The Fryars settled in a more "welcoming" part of town and proved the bigots wrong.

    WITHOUT FORMAL TRAINING -- just passion, energy and discards from the local nursery -- Pearl began sculpting his three-and-a-half acres into a dazzling array of abstract topiary art, earning this sharecropper's son kudos from art and garden authorities around the world. Pearl's impressive creation has become a major tourist attraction, source of community pride and unique bridge between local whites and blacks.

    GIVING BACK. As one who received little, Pearl Fryar has given much. Epitomizing the best of what America stands for, Pearl displays a ready willingness to pass along to future generations his love of the natural world, who he is and what he has learned. He especially enjoys talking with children from elementary, middle, and high school classes and the young people respond in-kind. Pearl is also a visiting lecturer at nearby Coker College where he inspires students to follow their own muse and to dedicate themselves completely to their art.

    UNLIKE OUR DAVID LYNCH FILM earlier this month, A MAN NAMED PEARL features few directorial flourishes or eccentricities. Instead, directors Scott Galloway and Brent Pierson bring us a plain-spoken, enlightening and inspiring expression of humanity and creativity. Whether your interest is in gardening, art, nature, or more broadly, a moving story of personal resilience, dignity and creativity, this first-run presentation is not to be missed!


    A MAN NAMED PEARL tells the inspiring story of self-taught topiary artist Pearl Fryar, whose unlikely journey to national prominence began with a bigoted remark.

    In 1976, Pearl took a job in a can factory in Bishopville, South Carolina. New to this rural southern town, he and his wife Metra looked at a house for sale in an all-white neighborhood. The Fryars' real estate agent was notified by neighbors in the prospective neighborhood that a black family was not welcome. A homeowner voiced the collective concern: "Black people don't keep up their yards."

    Pearl was stung by the racial stereotype. But rather than become angry and embittered, it motivated him to prove that misguided man wrong. Pearl bought a house in a different neighborhood and began fashioning a garden. His goal was modest, but clear: to become the first African-American to win Bishopville's "Yard of the Month" award. Pearl began cutting every bush and tree in his yard into unusual, abstract shapes. He didn't know it then, but he was creating a magical wonderland that would, in time, not only garner local recognition, but also draw thousands of visitors from across the United States and around the world.

    Now 68, Pearl has been featured in dozens of magazines and newspapers, including The New York Times, as well as several television programs such as CBS Sunday Morning. The media interest that Pearl and his topiary garden generates helps steer much-needed tourist dollars into the declining town of Bishopville and Lee County, the poorest county in the state of South Carolina.

    But the impact that Pearl and his art have had on his community is not just economic. He's also had a profound spiritual influence. As Pearl's minister, Rev. Jerome McCray, says of the garden: "It's the one place in all of South Carolina that people can go, both black and white, and feel love." Visitors who wander Pearl's three-and-a-half-acre property quickly recognize that love is the garden's central theme. Meticulously etched into the ground in huge, flower-filled letters are three words: LOVE, PEACE & GOODWILL. These are the guiding principles by which Pearl lives his life and how he's been "keeping up his yard" for nearly thirty years.