Presidential museum to house oral histories from local African-Americans


Recordings and transcripts of oral histories collected from Springfield African-American residents are now available online at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum’s website.

The museum has hosted the collection since 2006, after forming a partnership with the Springfield, Illinois African American History Foundation, which created the oral history program and continues to grow the collection. The library, which digitizes the recordings and proofreads the transcripts, has archived more than 50 interviews, 15 of which are accessible online.

Some of the stories reflect the hardships African-Americans in Springfield faced decades ago as they dealt with segregation and discrimination.

“It was bad here in Springfield,” said Clarence Senor, 81, whose oral history is one of those kept at the library. He and his wife, Peggie, whose history also has been recorded, were both at the library Thursday afternoon, when the collection’s online availability was announced.

“We tend to forget the art of storytelling,” said Doug King, president of the foundation, as he discussed why collecting oral histories is important.

King said the foundation’s oral histories preserve personal life stories, as well as the “hidden story of Springfield.”

“(Oral history) serves as a public record of where we have been,” said state historian Tom Schwartz, who said the collection offers moving stories of families, friends, thriving neighborhoods, churches and businesses.

Several interviewees are from families who have lived in Springfield since the 19th century.

Not all of the reminiscences are negative. In his oral history, Charles Lockhart Jr. talked about how he once bunked with John Coltrane while the two were in the U.S. Navy.

The foundation relied on grants to start up the collection, but that money has run out, King said. While the foundation seeks more funding for interviews and transcription services, library officials said they plan to expand the online material based on the foundation’s completed recordings and transcripts.

Pete Sherman can be reached at 788-1539.

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Museums - DC Area



"20TH ANNUAL OPEN JURIED PATUXENT ART LEAGUE EXHIBITION" Works by Maryland, Northern Virginia and District residents, through Jan. 2 at Montpelier Arts Center, 9652 Muirkirk Rd., Laurel. Open daily 10 to 5. 301-699-2255. Free.

"WATCH THIS! NEW DIRECTIONS IN THE ART OF THE MOVING IMAGE" On display are nine works spanning 50 years, including Cory Arcangel's Nintendo-inspired "Video Painting," Jim Campbell's "Grand Central Station #2," made from 1,728 LED lights and Kota Ezawa's three-dimensional digital animation "LYAM 3D," indefinitely at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Eighth and F streets NW. Open daily 11:30 to 7. 202-633-1000. Free.


ACADEMY ART MUSEUM "Constructed Spaces: Contemporary Color Photography," through Feb. 13. An exhibition including large-scale work by Edward Burtynsky, William Christenberry and others. Open Friday-Monday 10 to 4, Tuesday-Thursday 10 to 8. 106 South St., Easton. 410-822-2787. $3, 12 and younger free.

AIR AND SPACE/DOWNTOWN Open indefinitely: "The Golden Age of Flight." "The Wright Brothers and the Invention of the Aerial Age." "America by Air." "Apollo to the Moon." "Milestones of Flight." "Space Race." "Barron Hilton: Pioneers of Flight Gallery." The museum's exhibit of aviation and rocketry in the 1920s and '30s reopened with additional artifacts, such as Anne Lindbergh's telegraph key, and hands-on activities for kids. Open daily 10 to 5:30. Sixth Street and Independence Avenue SW. 202-633-1000. Free.

Kwanzaa Celebrations


If you celebrate Kwanzaa or just want to experience the African-American holiday that celebrates family, community and culture, there are some great events in Baristaville and beyond:

Step Afrika!
Ages 10 and up.
What: Step Afrika is the first professional dance company to celebrate the tradition of stepping as an art form originated from African American fraternities and African traditions. Celebrate the spirit of Kwanzaa in this part-poetry slam and part-body percussion performance!
Where: NJPAC, 1 Center Street, Newark, NJ.
When: Saturday, December 18 at 2 pm and 5 pm.
Cost: Tickets per person beginning at $20. Click here to purchase tickets online.

22nd Annual Community Kwanzaa Celebration
All ages.
What: Celebrate two decades of community spirit with performances by the Usaama Dance Company of Montclair, Kwanzaa libation ceremony & Kwanzaa craft for children. The African Market opens at noon.
Where: Montclair Public Library, 60 S. Fullerton Avenue, Montclair, NJ, 07042.
When: Saturday, December 1. Market starts at 12 pm. Celebration starts at 1 pm.
Cost: Free.

The Legacy Continues…Kwanzaa 2010!
All ages.
What: Celebrate Kwanzaa with an all-day event at the American Museum of Natural History. The event honors the seven African-based principles of Kwanzaa called Nguzo Saba in Swahili, with performances of song, dance, and spoken word.
Where: American Museum of Natural History, Milstein Hall of Ocean Life, first floor, Central Park West at 79th Street, New York, NY.
When: Sunday, December 26 from 12 pm – 5 pm. Click here for a full schedule of events.
Cost: Free with museum admission. Admission rates: Adult: $20, Children: $13, Seniors/Students: $16. Call 212.769.5100 for more information.

(Photo: Flickr/purejuice2)

Museum and gallery events around Philly, PA

Art Museums & Institutions

African American Heritage Museum 661 Jackson Rd., Newtonville, NJ; 609-704-5495. Tue.-Fri. 10 am-3 pm.

Barnes Foundation 300 N Latchs La., Merion Station; 610-667-0290. $15 (reservations required). Thu.-Sun. 9:30 am-5 pm.

Brandywine River Museum Rte. 1 & Rte. 100, Chadds Ford; 610-388-2700. Imaginary Beasts of Royal Lacey Scoville. Closes 1/9. Donald Pywell: Golden Impressions of Andrew Wyeth. Closes 1/9. Brandywine Heritage Galleries. Andrew Wyeth Gallery. N.C. Wyeth Gallery. Bayard & Mary Sharp Gallery. Guided Gallery Tours With Victoria Wyeth. $10; $6 seniors, students & children 6-12; free under 6. Daily 9:30 am-4:30 pm.

Chemical Heritage Foundation 315 Chestnut St.; 215-925-2178. Marvels & Ciphers: A Look Inside the Flask. Free. Closes 12/10. Mon.-Fri. 10 am-4 pm.

Delaware Art Museum 2301 Kentmere Pkwy., Wilmington; 302-571-9590. May Morris: A Belief in the Power of Beauty. Closes 1/2. Leonard Baskin: Art From the Gift of Alfred Appel Jr.. Closes 1/9. Marc Sijan: Ultra-Realistic Sculpture. Different Views: Painters of the Olsher Lifelong Learning Institute. Highlights Tour. Closes 12/19. Exhibition Tour. Closes 12/19. $12; $10 seniors; $6 students & children 7-18; free 6 & under; $25 family of 4; free for everyone on Sun.. Wed.-Sat. 10 am-4 pm, Sun. noon-4 pm.

Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts 200 S. Madison St., Wilmington; 302-656-6466. In Canon. Closes 1/2. Susan Myers: Sleight of Hand. Closes 1/9. Katie Baldwin: Things Left Behind. Free. Tue., Thu.-Sat. 10 am-5 pm, Wed. & Sun. noon-5 pm.

The Fabric Workshop & Museum 1214 Arch St.; 215-568-1111. Joan Jonas: Reading Dante III. Closes 1/9. Donation suggested: $3; free under 12. Mon.-Fri. 10 am-6 pm; Sat.-Sun. noon-5 pm.

Institute of Contemporary Art 118 S. 36th St.; 215-898-7108. Set Pieces. Free. Wed.-Fri. noon-8 pm, Sat.-Sun. 11 am-5 pm.

James A. Michener Art Museum 138 S. Pine St., Doylestown; 215-340-9800. Art Speaks: Contemporary Art Connections. Closes 1/2. The Lenfest Exhibition of Pennsylvania Impressionism. Visual Heritage of Bucks County. Patricia Goodrich: Ordinary to Extraordinary. $10; $9 seniors; $7.50 students;$5 youth 6-18; free under 6. Tue.-Fri.10 am-4:30 pm, Sat. 10 am-5 pm, Sun. noon-5 pm.

La Salle University - Art Museum 1900 W. Olney Ave.; 215-951-1221. Sidney Goodman: Small Paintings. Closes 12/10. Donations accepted. Mon.-Fri. 10 am-4 pm; Sun. 2-4 pm.

Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts 1048 Washington St., Cape May; 609-884-5404.

Noyes Museum of Art - Hammonton 5 S. Second St., Hammonton; 609-561-8006. Tue.-Wed. 11 am-6 pm; Thu. 1-9 pm; Fri.-Sat. 11 am-7 pm.

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts 118-128 N. Broad St.; 215-972-7600. Ye Great Mogul of the Sketch Club. Closes 12/12. Tom LaDuke: run generator. Free. Narcissus in the Studio: Artist Portraits & Self-Portraits. $15; $12 seniors & children 13-18; free 12 & under (incl. adm. to the permanent collection). Closes 1/2. Same: Difference. $15; $12 seniors and children 13-18; free 12 and under. Closes 1/2. Portrait of the Artist. $15; $12 seniors and children 13-18; free 12 and under. Closes 1/2. $10; $8 seniors & students; $6 youth 5-18; free for members & under 5. Tue.-Sat. 10 am-5 pm; Sun. 11 am-5 pm.

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The Gospel Truth

Mavis Staples releases You Are Not Alone.

by: Richard Gehr | from: AARP

Mavis Staples was an unusually husky-voiced teenager when she sang on "Uncloudy Day," the Staple Singers' first gospel hit, in 1956. Led by guitarist-songwriter Roebuck "Pops" Staples, her family's group became spiritually charged pop stars with strong ties to the civil rights movement.

At 71, Mavis' voice remains a force unto itself. Since the death of her father in 2000, Mavis has kick-started a solo career by getting back to her roots with the help of Americana heroes such as Ry Cooder and, more recently, Wilco bandleader Jeff Tweedy, who produced her new album, You Are Not Alone. Speaking on a typically hectic day in her Chicago condo, Staples was preparing to hit the road for a West Coast tour. "I love bein' on the road," she says. "If we stay away too long, I'm ready to go."

Q: How did the Staple Singers go from being a pure gospel group to being one of the country's biggest pop acts?

A: We started out singing gospel music in Southern churches. We would have some fun singing gospel. We would have good times, because you were singing and rejoicing and shouting when the spirit came.

I used to love hearing Ira Tucker and the Dixie Hummingbirds. Sam Cooke was with the Soul Stirrers, Lou Rawls was with the Pilgrim Travelers and we would all travel together in a caravan. Then, all of a sudden, white people wanted to hear us. We started playing folk festivals, and then we started getting calls for jazz and blues festivals.

I asked my father at one point, "Daddy, why we goin' to blues festivals? We don't sing no blues, Pops. We sing gospel." He told me, "Mavis, music is music and our music has some of every kind of music in it." The people we played to at the folk festivals — the flower children, the hippies — made me feel like we were still in church because they were such loving people.

Q: Was that why the Staple Singers started covering songs by the likes of Bob Dylan, Buffalo Springfield and the Band?

A: Pops often told us that back in Mississippi, if a white man was walking toward him on the same side of the street, Pops would have to cross over to the other side. So when he heard Dylan sing, "How many roads must a man walk down/ Before you call him a man?" he could relate to that. And when Buffalo Springfield sang, "There's something happening here/ What it is ain't exactly clear/ There's a man with a gun over there/ Telling me I got to beware," we felt it was gospel because it was truth.

Q: Jeff Tweedy and Wilco are probably the Buffalo Springfield of today. How did you hook up with him for your new album?

A: Tweedy and Wilco remind me a lot of Robbie Robertson and the Band, and we were the first group to cover "The Weight." I didn't know what I was going to do after the Ry Cooder record [We'll Never Turn Back, released in 2007]. Then Tweedy called and told me he had some songs he wanted me to listen to, including songs my father played for us when we were young. Tweedy really took time to study me. He didn't just throw something out there; he kept me in my comfort zone. One day, he said, "Mavis, guess what I have on my iPod." I said, "What?" He said, "I have all of the Staple Singers music from the '50s and '60s." And I said, "Well, you walkin' around, Tweedy, with the best music of my life." I told him I would love to sing my father's songs again. At the end of the sessions, he wrote "Only the Lord Knows" and "You Are Not Alone," which might be my favorite song on the album.

Q: How did he get it to sound so much like a contemporary Staple Singers album might sound?

A: The band that's playing on it is the band I've been traveling with for about four years. Rick Holmstrom plays Daddy's guitar licks all the time. Sometimes I have to look around to see if Pops is standing back there with him.

Singing songs like "Don't Knock" makes me so happy. It takes me back to when I was a teenager, the happiest time of my life. It was just my father's guitar and our voices. I could visualize Pops smiling and grinning with that twinkle in his eye when he was writing "Don't Knock." We had so much fun. [Singing] "You don't knock, ring, push or hold/ The door's wide open, waitin' for your soul." And my mother and all of us would be laughing. "Daddy! You wrote that?" They were joyous times.

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Kwanzaa Activities - Washington, DC Area


Many events require reservations or advance ticket purchases and may sell out - call before you go.

"THE BLACK CANDLE: A KWANZAA CELEBRATION" Dec. 11 at 4:30. Screening of the documentary by M.K. Asante that uses Kwanzaa to celebrate the African American experience. Narrated by Maya Angelou. Alexandria Black History Museum, 902 Wythe St., Alexandria. 703-746-4356. Free.

COYABA DANCE THEATER Dec. 18 at 8 and Dec. 19 at 2 and 8. Annual Kwanzaa celebration featuring 85 performers. Dance Place, 3225 Eighth St. NE. 202-269-1600. $22, seniors and students $17, children 17 and younger $8.

FAMILY KWANZAA ADVENTURE Dec. 28 at 10:30. Saleem and Ivy Hylton of Youth and Families in Crisis lead a celebration with interactive drumming, singing, dancing and skits designed to explore the principles of Kwanzaa. The program closes with the "Circle of Hope and Healing," an original Kwanzaa group activity designed to restore and renew the hopes and dreams of families for the New Year. Anacostia Community Museum, 1901 Fort Pl. SE. 202-633-4844. Free, reservations required.

KWANZAA CRAFT WORKSHOP Dec. 11 from 1 to 3. Jessica Smith, founder of Culture Kingdom for Kids, and Kwanzaa educator Pier Penic lead children in making Kwanzaa crafts. Alexandria Black History Museum, 902 Wythe St., Alexandria. 703-746-4356. $5, reservations requested.

KWANZAA FAMILY DAY Dec. 12 from 1 to 5. Celebrate the African traditions of family, community and culture. Learn about the seven principles of Kwanzaa while creating art and listening to performances by DishiBem and Jali-D. Baltimore Museum of Art, 10 Art Museum Dr., Baltimore. 443-573-1700. Free.

KWANZAA LECTURE AND DEMONSTRATION Dec. 13 at 8. A history of Kwanzaa featuring dancing and drumming by the African Heritage Dancers and Drummers. Publick Playhouse, 5445 Landover Rd., Cheverly. 301-277-1710. $5, seniors $4.

KWANZAA: NIA Dec. 30 at 10:30. Melvin Deal and the African Heritage Dancers and Drummers will conduct a workshop that includes making tambor instruments, drumming and dancing. The workshop features a performance in celebration of the fifth Kwanzaa principle, Nia (purpose). Anacostia Community Museum, 1901 Fort Pl. SE. 202-633-4844. Free, reservations required.

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Holiday events in the Phoenix area

"A Vote from Alice"

Herberger Theater Center
222 E. Monroe St. Phoenix, AZ, 85004
PHONE: 602-254-7399
January 25, 2011 - February 3, 2011 Tuesday, 12:10 PM
Wednesday, 12:10 PM
Thursday, 12:10 PM


PRICE: $6 : $6
CREDITS: Written by Larissa Brewington, directed by Joy Bingham Strimple PRESENTED BY: Grey Matters Productions

The one-woman show is about Alice Allison Higgins, the first African American woman to receive White House credentials. She took a position on Lyndon B. Johnson's campaign for the Democratic nomination. The show examines the racial challenges of that time period and highlights her experiences traveling with Harry S. Truman on his 1948 campaign trip. Part of the Lunch Time Theater series.

Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History

Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History: 315 E. Warren Ave., Detroit; 313-494-5800; Portrayals of Life and Landscapes: The Art of Frank Kelley, Jr.; through Dec. 12. Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing: How the Apollo Theater Shaped American Entertainment; through Jan. 2. Crowning Glories: Status, Style, and Self-Expression; through Jan. 17. Art of the Masters: A Survey of African American Images, 1980-2000; through Feb. Hours: Tue.-Sat., 9 a.m.-5; Sun., 1-5.

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38th Annual Noel Night

Compiled by Dora Robles Hernandez

With over 45 institutions, including the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Detroit Science Center, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the Detroit Historical Museum, and the Detroit Public Library, open their doors to the public during this Cultural Center-wide holiday "open house." Activities include horse-drawn carriage rides, holiday shopping, family craft activities and performances by over 70 area music, theatre and dance groups, 5-9:30 p.m. 313-577-5088. Free.

Read more: 38th Annual Noel Night | | Detroit Free Press

Off the Wall: 'Unbound' at Chazen through Dec. 31

“Unbound”: African-American Artists’ Books and Illustrated Children’s Books

Through Dec. 31

Kohler Art Library — Chazen Museum of Art, 800 University Ave.


Books become art and art becomes books in an exhibition in the Kohler Art Library that focuses on African-American artists. The works in “Unbound” are organized into four categories: Ancestry, in which pieces “reach back into pleasurable childhood memories”; Biography, which highlights historical figures; Memory/Trauma, which focuses on memories of distress; and Resistance, in which the pieces “reject subjugated places in society.”

The Kohler Art Library, located on the ground floor of the Chazen, hosts four to five shows a year; all the works in this show come from the library’s collection, including a selection of children’s books. Related events include a talk by children’s book artist Odalo on Monday, Dec. 6, at 4 p.m. and a lecture from co-curator Janine Sytsma on Wednesday, Dec. 15, at 4 p.m.

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Host Your Next Event At October Gallery

Host Your Next Event At October Gallery

October Gallery for private and corporate events.

The perfect space for weddings, cocktail parties, holiday gatherings, corporate meetings and more.


Rent the October Gallery space for your receptions, birthday parties, staff meetings, book signings etc.

We can furnish the following:

• Up to 1800 square ft. function area
• 6 ft tables – limited supply
• Chairs – limited supply
• Preparation rooms
• Artful environment
• Educational Seminars or Workshops
• Internet access (Please bring your own computers)
• Kitchen for preparation and servings etc. (NO COOKING)

OG has hosted the following kinds of events
Poetry readings
CD release parties
Birthday parties
Networking Parties
Alumni Mixers
Garden Parties
Book Signings
We are available for rentals 7 days/week.
Bring your own food, or we can help you arrange catering & desserts
Contact us

Rental Fee: $395.00 per day (5 hour day on 1st floor only) - $250 per half day (
(2.5 hour day on 1st floor only)

$100 for each additional hour

Additional information: Contact account manager at 215-629-3939 or

Click Here to Sign Up!

African American Excursion

Take a day and enjoy San Francisco's rich African American heritage.

On any given day, there is much to celebrate about African American culture in San Francisco, and if you time your visit, you might have the added experience of enjoying special activities during Black History Month, the annual Juneteenth celebration, the highly regarded AfroSolo theater festival and any number of Afrocentric events.

San Francisco is filled with places to ponder and reflect on its very own rich African American ancestry, which can be found in the unlikeliest places - if only you know where to look. The following one-day itinerary offers a glimpse into the City's black culture.

When the wake up call comes this morning, enjoy your morning stroll around Yerba Buena Gardens, located between Third and Fourth and Mission and Howard streets. If you are in the financial district, pass by Leidesdorff Street which runs parallel between Montgomery and Sansome, from Pine to Washington. This short street is named after one of the City's pioneers, William Alexander Leidesdorff. An African American originally from the Virgin Islands, Leidesdorff sailed into San Francisco in 1841 and became a prominent businessmen and vital politico, building the City's first hotel.

You'll know you have reached your destination when the sounds of falling water lure you into a manicured garden, toward the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. Enjoy warm croissants or bagels you picked up at one of the local bakeries along the way as the 22-foot-high waterfall cascades past the floating bridge and 12 engraved glass panes with quotes by Dr. King. Exit the park at Third and Mission where you will see the home of the Museum of the African Diaspora which features exhibits of local and international black history. MoAD opened on the ground level of the St. Regis Hotel, in December 2005. As you walk south down Third Street toward AT&T Park, the home of the San Francisco Giants, pause to look up at a large painting by noted artist Raymond Saunders on the St. Regis tower.

Even if the Giants are on the road or in the off-season, baseball fans can take a behind-the-scenes-tour of the waterfront park. Even non-sports fans will appreciate the entrance: Willie Mays Plaza is home to 24 (his jersey number) palm trees and a nine-foot bronze sculpture of the African American Hall of Fame center fielder. Stroll along McCovey Cove into China Basin park and view the larger-than-life statue of another living legend: Willie McCovey. If you have time, take in a game. You might just see Tim Lincecum pitch a no-hitter.

At this point, you’re not far from a connection to the T-Third line which provides light rail service to the growing communities along Third Street which include Mission Bay as well as Dogpatch, one of San Francisco’s 11 historic districts, Bayview, Hunters Point and Visitacion Valley. Located at 4705 Third St., the Bayview Opera House, built in 1888, was the first opera house built for San Francisco and the only theater to survive the 1906 earthquake and fire. Today it is a neighborhood cultural center.

If your culture day happens to fall on Sunday, be sure to spend time in one of the City's celebrated churches. Glide Memorial United Methodist Church is praised nationally for its progressive community projects, and visitors will find a truly multi-cultural choir that "shakes the walls and raises the spirit." The Saint John Coltrane African American Church emphasizes music as a medium to worship, while the Third Baptist Church, founded during the Gold Rush, was the first Black Baptist church west of the Rockies.

If you catch a cab or drive, a brief stop at the corner of Bush and Octavia is in order. A tribute to Mary Ellen Pleasant - a former slave who became a successful local businesswoman and a crucial chain in the Underground Railroad - lies on the southwest corner, at the site of her former home. This is also close to one of the city’s other historic districts: Bush Street Cottage Row. Be sure not to miss the African American Art and Culture Complex (AAACC) at Fulton and Webster, with its celebrated Dewey Crumpler mural. AAACC is also home to the San Francisco African American Historical and Cultural Society Museum, which is packed with African and African American artwork, artifacts and exhibitions, including that of Pleasant and Leidesdorff.

A trip out to Fort Point National Historic Site at the south anchorage of the Golden Gate Bridge is well worth the trek. Not only is the scene of the San Francisco Bay breathtaking from this vantage point but this is also the site of a permanent exhibit of the African American soldier's experience from 1776 through present-day. Now it's time to get back to the hotel and get ready for a night on the town. Tonight will be spent meandering one of our great neighborhoods: the Fillmore. You won't be at a loss for dining or music options in the Fillmore Jazz Preservation District. The area boasts several venues including the second Bay Area location of famed jazz club Yoshi’s and 1300 on Fillmore where chef David Lawrence combines classic French cooking with southern style touches. Diners on select Sundays can also enjoy the gospel brunch.

San Francisco’s majestic City Hall is located at One Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, named for the late civil rights leader and one of the founders of The Sun-Reporter, is opposite the Main Library, 100 Larkin St., which houses The African American Center. Located on the third floor it includes an extensive collection exploring the African American experience and is a vital link in the African American History Network, an online connection between the San Francisco Public Library and the San Francisco African American Historical and Cultural Society.

Your nightcap will be at the Top of the Mark, on the 19th floor of the InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco with an unrivaled view of the City. But that's not the only breathtaking sight here. Ask to see the Room of the Dons and take a look at the 1926 mural of Queen Califia, the mythical black queen from whom the state of California takes its name. Sleep soundly tonight; it's been a long, learned day.

To find out more about San Francisco's African American heritage, please view our press release titled "Diverse San Francisco: African American"

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381 Days: The Montgomery Bus Boycott Story

The African American Museum in Philadelphia will focus in on one of the most pivotal moments in American history with the 381 Days: The Montgomery Bus Boycott Story. This traveling exhibit chronicles the heroic stand of Rosa Parks through her arrest and the bus boycott that followed. Developed by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) in collaboration with the Troy University Rosa Parks Library and Museum, and generously underwritten by AARP, the exhibit explores these crucial, historic events, which ignited the national Civil Rights Movement.

Parks’ arrest on Dec. 1, 1955, the catalyst for Montgomery’s citizens to take action, is only a fraction of the story. 381 Days examines the contributions and dedication of Montgomery’s black community, which made the boycott successful. Four days after Parks’ arrest, 50,000 people united for a one-day boycott of city buses. Following its massive success, organizers formed the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA), electing a young Martin Luther King Jr. as its president, and devised a strategy of grassroots organization and legal challenges that eventually broke the city’s ability to maintain segregated buses after 380 more days of the boycott.

“The installation of 381 Days helps to round out the overall experience here at AAMP”, commented AAMP President & CEO Romona Riscoe Benson. “Our core exhibition Audacious Freedom provides insight into what was essentially our nation’s first civil rights movement. 381 Days expands that experience from a modern day perspective. Additionally we will add a local focus to the exhibit with the inclusion of photos by Philadelphia native Jack T. Franklin, one of the nation’s most prolific photographers of the civil rights struggle in America.”

Through a modernist collage of photographs, political cartoons, contemporary writings, and other text and images, 381 Days: The Montgomery Bus Boycott Story bears witness to a challenge met. The challenges of a people—black and forward-thinking whites, young and old—joined in boycott by hope, by courage, by self-respect. In its wake, the tenets of a nonviolent approach to political and social change matured into a weapon of equality for all Americans, no matter race, color, or gender. 381 Days examines the impact of the boycott’s success across the country and around the world. In November 1956, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Montgomery’s segregated bus seating unconstitutional. The boycott ended once the ruling took effect. As the first major victory against legalized segregation, the strategies used in Montgomery were adapted by a new generation of activists dedicated to nonviolent protest.

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Let Your Motto Be Resistance: African American Portraits


The new National Museum of African American History and Culture is collaborating with the National Portrait Gallery on it inaugural exhibition of African American photographic portraits. Selected by guest curator and photography historian, Deborah Willis, this exhibition explores the medium’s influential role in shaping public identity and individual notions of race and status over the past 150 years.

The exhibition’s title was inspired by the rallying cry of celebrated abolitionists Henry Highland Garnet (1815-1882) who challenged African Americans to rise up and emancipate themselves. “Let your motto be resistance.” he exclaimed. “Resistance! Resistance! No oppressed people have ever secured their liberty without resistance!”

The portrait subjects come from many sectors of the African American community. Nineteenth-century figures such as Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, and Edmonia Lewis are included, as well as twentieth-century icons W.E.B. Du Bois, Lorraine Hansberry, and Wynton Marsalis. Among the featured photographers, who employ a variety of strategies to create their powerful images, are Mathew Brady, Berenice Abbott, James VanDerZee, Doris Ulmann, Edward Weston, Gordon Parks, Irving Penn, and Carl Van Vechten.

Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service

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Jazzy Holiday Luncheon 2010

December 2, 12:00 PM
Costs: Individual tickets, $100; Tables available

The Board of Directors and staff of the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture invite you to join us for our Annual Jazzy Holiday Luncheon on Thursday, December 2, 2010. Your support of this community-wide event allows us to strengthen our efforts in offering the Charlotte community the very best in African-American art, history and culture as we continue our extraordinary transition to our new Uptown cultural facility.

Our Jazzy Holiday Luncheon is the Gantt Center's single annual awards and fundraising event. This year's noon luncheon will be held at the Charlotte Center City Hilton Hotel located at 222 East Third Street. At the luncheon, we will share the highlights and key accomplishments of our first year in the new facility. We will present our 2010 Gantt Center Awards to truly outstanding honorees who have made tremendous contributions to the Gantt Center and the broader Charlotte community.

This year's award recipients are (click names to view bio):

Dr. David Driskell - nationally recognized artist, scholar, art historian and authority on 20th Century African-American art.

Mr. and Mrs. Leon Levine – one of Charlotte's leading philanthropic families who have been extraordinarily generous to educational, human services and cultural organizations throughout our city.

Dr. and Mrs. Spurgeon Webber Jr. - well-respected Charlotte residents, civic leaders, philanthropists and strong patrons of the arts.

Please consider supporting this important fundraiser and recognition event.

Purchase Tickets Online

You may purchase tickets to this event in advance. Individual tickets are $100 in advance (plus an online service fee). Click here to purchase your advance tickets to this event.

For table or corporate purchases, please contact Bonita Hemphill at (704) 547-3762 or Patrick Diamond at (704) 547-3739.

Progeny Two: Deb Willis & Hank Willis Thomas + Fo Wilson & Dayo

October 8, 2010 - January 23, 2011

Deborah Willis and Hank Willis Thomas — mother and son — collaborate with Fo Wilson and her son Dayo Harewood for Progeny Two which opens to Gantt Center members & donors on Friday, October 8 at 6:00 pm and to the public on Saturday, October 9. This exhibition is the first collaborative effort undertaken by the four. Willis and Thomas are photographers. Wilson uses the language of furniture to amplify the human experience and Harewood is a filmmaker. Progeny Two is positioned at the intersection of their practices. The result is a thoughtful medley that highlights the impact of family, history, and memory on the processes of artistic production.

Please note, this exhibit contains adult content.

Related Events - Artist's Voice

Join Willis, Thomas and Wilson on Saturday, October 9 at 1:00 pm for the Artist's Voice gallery talk. The artists will lead visitors through the show and discuss their collective and individual visions, inspirations and artistic processes. Q&A will follow.

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100 Years of African-American Art: The Arthur Primas Collection

Saturday, November 6, 2010 - Sunday, January 30, 2011
100 Years of African-American Art presents works from the Arthur Primas collection. This significant collection of African-American art includes paintings, sculptures, works on paper, graphics and documents. The exhibition presents 69 works from the collection, representing 34 artists. These artists brought forth magnificent art which reflects the African-American experience and aesthetic.

In conjunction with 100 Years of African-American Art, The Dayton Art Institute will collaborate with the University of Dayton on Marking the Past/Shaping the Present: The Art of Willis Bing Davis, which will showcase works by the noted Dayton artist. Davis attended The School of The Dayton Art Institute and has been a fixture of the Dayton arts community for several decades. The University of Dayton will display Davis' photographs, masks and ceramics, while The Dayton Art Institute will host an exhibition of his oil pastels.

Note: Admission price includes both exhibitions.


Member: Free admission for museum members
Senior: $8
Student: $8
Group: $8
Special 1: Youth (ages 7 - 18): $6
Special 2: Chidren under 6 Free

Order & Box Office Information
Box Office: 937-223-5277

Dayton Art Institute
456 Belmonte Park North
Dayton, OH 45405

Reviews / More Information

African American Art at the UM Lowe Art Museum Spans Three Centuries

October 24, 2010 — Coral Gables — The University of Miami Lowe Art Museum’s fall/winter exhibition will feature selections from one of the premier collections of African American art. The Harmon and Harriet Kelley Collection of African American Art: Works on Paper will provide a rare opportunity for the public to view master graphics spanning three centuries. The works are to be on view from November 13, 2010 – January 16, 2011. A preview lecture and reception will be held on November 12th from 7-10 PM. The lecture will be presented by collector Harriet Kelley along with her daughter, art historian Jennifer Kelley.

The 69 works in the exhibition include drawings, etchings, lithographs, watercolors, pastels, acrylics, gouaches, and screen prints by such noted artists as Henry O. Tanner, Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence, Elizabeth Catlett, and Alison Saar.

This Harmon and Harriet Kelley Collection exhibition is one of the largest and most comprehensive traveling exhibitions ever organized featuring African American artists from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. The majority of the works in this exhibition were produced during the 1930s and 40s. This was the era of the Great Depression and the WPA/FAP (Works Progress Administration of the Federal Arts Project) that provided employment for many artists. The 1960s and early 70s gave birth to the politically-motivated and African-inspired civil rights period, which is another focus of this exhibition. The late 20th and early 21st centuries highlight works on paper from some of the brightest stars of the contemporary generation; Margo Humphrey, Dean Mitchell, Robert Colescott, Lionel Lofton, and Ike E. Morgan.

Dr. Harmon Kelley and his wife Harriet were inspired to begin collecting after viewing an exhibition of African American art at the San Antonio Museum of Art. Their art collection has become something of a museum’s dream and now travels to major venues all over the globe.

The Lowe will also feature a selection of works by African American Artists from it’s permanent collection, to complement the Kelley Collection exhibition.

This exhibition is organized by Landau Traveling Exhibitions, Los Angeles, CA. The exhibition at the Lowe Art Museum is made possible by a grant from Funding Arts Network. Additional sponsorship provided by Northwestern Mutual.

The Lowe Art Museum is located at the University of Miami at 1301 Stanford Drive, Coral Gables. Gallery and Museum Store hours: Tuesday-Saturday: 10-4; Sunday: 12-4; Monday: Closed. Regular Admission (not including special events) is $10; $5 for Seniors and Non-UM Students; Free for Lowe Art Museum Members, University of Miami students, faculty and staff, and children under 12. For more information, call (305) 284-3535 or visit

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The University of Miami’s mission is to educate and nurture students, to create knowledge, and to provide service to our community and beyond. Committed to excellence and proud of our diversity of our University family, we strive to develop future leaders of our nation and the world.

Rhapsody in Blue: The Work of Nannette Harris

Sargent Johnson Gallery (Sargent Johnson Gallery)
Thu, Aug 26 -- Sun, Jan 2
Gallery Hours: Tues - Sat 12 Noon - 5 p.m.

"Rhapsody in Blue" features some of Nannette Harris’s beloved and popular works like: James Brown, Carlos Santana, and Tina Turner. She will also unveil her new creations like: Jimi Hendrix, Marolyn Monroe, and the African American Art & Culture Complex’s own, Sargent Johnson – of whom our gallery is named after.

Nannette Harris is an African American artist born and raised in Oakland, California. She followed her passion for art and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the California College of Arts and Crafts. She has been painting for thirty-five years.

Nannette’s use of color in her paintings allows the colors to show the meaning of her work. The vision for her style came in a dream, using the primary colors, blue, red, and yellow. "Blue" represents the color of our blood before it is oxygenated, "Red" represents the color of our blood after oxygenation and "Yellow" represents the aura and energy of life. She believes "Black" radiates when used with color and enjoy using the negative space, creating a touch of cubism, texture and geometric shapes in her paintings.

It is of interest to note that Nannette has been very environmentally conscious of the materials she uses, being called the "Green artist" that paints "Blue People". She paints and creates her artwork using recycled oil and acrylic metallic paints. She has been recycling her paints and old paint brushes that allows her to sculpt and give texture to the hair of the characters she paints. She never discards any left-over paint she uses. Therefore, her concern for the environment prompts her to be creative in re-using the materials.
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Nigerian Ife Art on Display in Houston

A collection of more than 100 items of African art is now on display at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the first stop in a U.S. tour of rare art works from Nigeria's Ife region.

The exhibition is called Dynasty and Divinity: Ife Art in Ancient Nigeria and features many objects that museum visitors may find surprising. Curator Frances Marzio said, "Ife early on protected its patrimony and these objects have, for the most part, never even been outside of Nigeria."

One of the biggest surprises, Marzio says, is the realistic portrayals of royalty and other subjects in terra cotta, stone and metal. "Most of what we think of as African art today are the types of abstract art and wooden art that really influenced 20th century artists like Picasso. So, to see these objects that are made in a very classical way, more like Greece and Rome, I think is a revelation and I think it changes your idea of what African art was," said Marzio.

One example is this statue of a beaded woman called Idena. "This stone sculpture dates from the ninth century and it represents Idena, the gatekeeper, who presided over and protected the sacred grove at Ore. "The Idena statue is seen in a gatekeeper position and wearing a large beaded necklace and beaded bracelets. The wealth of Ife was due to a bead making tradition. They exported their glass beads to the north of Africa and made this area very prosperous," she said.

Marzio says her favorite works in the exhibition are the metal sculptures of human heads. "From the ninth to the 14th century, this area created a number of copper-alloy heads that are unlike anything else we have seen in African art. They have wonderful naturalism. They look as if they could speak or communicate with you. Yet they have the realism of Roman portraits," she said.

Most of these works date from a period a century before the art of metal sculpture returned to Europe during the Renaissance. Marzio says they show a level of skill similar to that attained by the ancient Greeks and Romans. "We know that there was a long metal-working tradition in Africa from very ancient times, but it is unknown what the origin of these particular heads was," she said.

The exhibit of art from Ife will remain here in Houston through January 9 of next year.
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17th Annual Holiday Glitz Benefit Gala

Charles A. Dana Discovery Center (Located inside Central Park on 110th Street between Fifth and Lenox Avenues)

Originating from the first harvest celebrations on the African continent, Kwanzaa is celebrated in December and honors the principles of family, community and culture.

Join the Museum for African Art and the Central Park Conservancy for a festive Harlem Meer Social Hour facilitated by choreographer Abdel Salaam and guests from Harlem's Forces of Nature Dance Theatre. Celebrate this African-American and Pan-African holiday by enjoying complimentary refreshments, live music and dance, and songs in English and Swahili in the Kwanzaa tradition.

FREE. No advance registration required. For more information, call the Central Park Conservancy at 212-860-1370.

Museum for African Art education programs are supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, the May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation, Inc.

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Fifty years ago, 17 African countries won their independence from European colonial rule. Ever since that time, 1960 has been known as the Year of African Independence. With political independence came new struggles, like the struggles for economic justice, gender justice, cultural renewal and peace. African filmmakers and the African film industry have played a key role in representing these struggles, as well as comedy, romance and Afro-futurism.

The African Jubilee Film Festival, curated by Lynette Jackson and Floyd Webb, and co-sponsored by Portoluz, The DuSable Museum of African American History, the African American Studies and Gender and Women’s Studies departments at UIC and The Public Square, will mark this important milestone with films by African filmmakers, from founding fathers like Ousmane Sembene and Djibril Mambety of Senegal, to rising young women filmmakers like Jihan El Tahri and Wanuri Kahiu of Egypt and Kenya respectively. The African Jubilee Film Festival will hold film screenings and discussions on select Sundays, between June 27 to December 5, 2010.

December 5 – War/Dance

Director: Sean and Andrea Nix
Country: Uganda

This documentary is set against the backdrop of a 20-year long civil war in Northern Uganda in which 30,000 children have been abducted by the rebel army, and many of their parents killed. The documentary follows a group of school children in an internally displaced persons camp who are preparing to compete in Uganda’s National Music and Dance Festival in Kampala. The viewer
is taken on a deeply moving journey full of pain and loss innocence, resilience and hope. A true triumph of the human spirit.

Discussant: Ogenga Otunnu, Depaul University.

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Nokuthula Ngwenyama Named 2010 Taft Museum of Art Duncanson Artist-in-Residence

Re-post from:

Ngwenyama learned about the Duncanson Artist-in-Residence program during a visit to Cincinnati in April when she performed with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra at Music Hall.

CINCINNATI, OH.- The Robert S. Duncanson Society of the Taft Museum of Art has selected violist Nokuthula Ngwenyama as the 2010 Duncanson Artist-in-Residence from a talented pool of local and national candidates. A nationally recognized orchestral soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician, Ngwenyama will be the Taft’s 24th resident artist.

Ngwenyama learned about the Duncanson Artist-in-Residence program during a visit to Cincinnati in April when she performed with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra at Music Hall. She describes the Taft’s historic Duncanson murals as “beautiful, peaceful works of art.”

The Taft Museum of Art established the Duncanson Artist-in-Residence program in 1986 to honor the achievements of contemporary artists of African descent working in a variety of disciplines and media. The program also honors the relationship between african american painter Robert S. Duncanson and his patron, Nicholas Longworth, who commissioned Duncanson to paint landscape murals in the foyer of his home, now the Taft Museum of Art.

“I think that it really shows the contribution that african americans have made to the fine arts for such a long time. To be able to have a tie to that legacy is a wonderful honor,” Ngwenyama says. “To pay tribute to the relationship that Duncanson had (with Longworth) has given me a sense of tradition in this country that I wasn’t really aware of.”

Gramophone Magazine has proclaimed Ngwenyama’s playing as providing “solidly shaped music of bold, mesmerizing character,” and the Washington Post describes her as playing "with dazzling technique in the virtuoso fast movements and deep expressiveness in the slow movements.”

Ngwenyama’s orchestral appearances include performances with the Atlanta, Baltimore, and Indianapolis Symphonies, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the National Symphony Orchestra. She has been heard in recital at Tokyo’s Suntory Hall, the Louvre, the Ford Center in Toronto, the Maison de Radio France, and the White House.

Born in California of Zimbabwean-Japanese parentage, Ngwenyama came to international attention when she won the Primrose International Viola Competition and the Young Concert Artists International Auditions at age 17. She graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music. As a Fulbright scholar she attended the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique de Paris and received a Master of Theological Studies degree from Harvard University.

“I hope to highlight the legacy (between Duncanson and Longworth) and make sure it continues today,” says Ngwenyama, “and show that the arts cross racial boundaries.”

In addition to her performance activities Ngwenyama served as visiting assistant professor at the University of Notre Dame in 2007, teaching in the field of ethnomusicology. She joined the faculty of Indiana University as visiting associate professor from 2008-10. Ngwenyama is the current director of the Primrose International Viola Competition and president-elect of the American Viola Society.

During her residency, Ngwenyama will give public performances and workshops. She will also engage in educational outreach activities with students both in the classrooms and at the Taft.

To learn more, click here.

Lorenzo Dow Turner Exhibition Opens at the Anacostia Community Museum, Washington, DC

re-posted from
Doing the Ring Shout in Georgia, ca. 1930s Members of the Gullah community express their spirituality through the “ring shout” during a service at a local “praise house.” Lorenzo Dow Turner Papers, Anacostia Community Museum Archives, Smithsonian Institution.

WASHINGTON, DC.- The Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum presents the groundbreaking exhibition “Word, Shout, Song: Lorenzo Dow Turner Connecting Community through Language” on view from Aug. 9 through March 27, 2011. Curated by Alcione Amos and the first exhibition based almost entirely on one of the museum’s special collections, “Word, Shout, Song” looks at the life, research and scholarship of Lorenzo Dow Turner, perhaps the first african american linguist. It also focuses on how his discoveries linked communities in Africa to the New World through language.

“In assembling this exhibition, most exciting to me was how I was able to connect words from Portuguese, Gullah and English to their African origins, 80 years later, based on Turner’s work in the 1930s,” said Amos. “His work is still relevant today.”

“Word, Shout, Song” is three stories in one: scholarship and success against the odds, a quest to crack a linguistic code and a discovery spanning continents. The exhibition presents Turner’s pioneering work, which in the 1930s established that people of African heritage, despite slavery, had retained and passed on their cultural identity through words, music and story wherever they landed. His research focused on the Gullah/Geechee community in South Carolina and Georgia, whose speech was dismissed as “baby talk” and “bad English.” He confirmed, however, that quite to the contrary the Gullah spoke a Creole language and that they still possessed parts of the language and culture of their captive ancestors. Turner linguistic explorations into the African diaspora led him to Bahia, Brazil, where he further validated his discovery of African continuities.

The exhibition begins with a look at Turner’s early life. He was profoundly influenced by his Howard University-educated father—a fourth-generation freed man forced to flee his home after an altercation with a white man—on the importance of academic excellence. Turner (1890-1972) obtained successively higher degrees in English from Howard, Harvard University and the University of Chicago. Denied teaching positions at white institutions, he built his career in academia at several black colleges, including his alma mater where as a student he had become interested in languages. A summer stint teaching at the now-South Carolina State University, however, is where he first heard and was captivated by the Gullah dialect. Convinced that the speech pattern was not illiterate English but instead a distinct language incorporating words and structure from African languages, Turner focused his interest into a lifelong project.

Turner studied various African language, including Twi, Ewe, Yoruba, Bambara and Wolof as well as Arabic, to make linkages to Gullah vocabulary. Through his pursuit of information, he often became the first african american member of many organizations, including the Linguistics Society of America.

“Word, Shout, Song” recounts his travels to South Carolina and Georgia and abroad to London, Paris and, finally, Africa to record and compare the speech of hundreds of informants. His journeys feature fascinating stories of adventure and discovery as well as the difficulties he encountered with bulky equipment and remote access.

A major linguistic achievement occurred when Turner determined the possibility that the “ring shout,” a Gullah religious dance, was directly inherited from enslaved Muslims—the name “shout” derived from the Arabic word Sha’wt, which had to do with movement around a sacred object rather than sound. Resulting from Turner’s early Georgia recordings is a later major discovery by scholars Joseph Opala, Tazieff Schmidt and Cynthia Koroma who, in 1990, realized that a song passed down through generations connected the Mende people of Sierra Leone to their American descendents in Georgia.

A section of the exhibition focuses on Turner’s research on culture in Bahia where a much larger number of Africans had been brought as captives than to the United States, along with the same languages influencing the Gullah. African survivals were particularly seen in the Afro-Brazilian religion, Candombl√©, and when informants recognized words in the Sea Island recordings, Turner, again, saw language connecting the worlds of the African diaspora. Turner’s many writings, presentations and publications included his book, Africanisms in the Gullah Dialect, published in 1949, and still the standard reference for Creole language research today.

Highlights of “Word, Shout, Song” include:

• The Bilali Diary written by a Muslim slave

• Turner’s recording device and special-character typewriter

• The vestment of a Candombl√© initiate

• Rare recordings of Gullah speech and songs and rare photographs of informants produced by Turner

• Audio and written comparisons of words that are similar and from languages spoken in the Americas and Africa

• The section “Singing for the Ancestor: A Song that Made the Roundtrip to Africa”

The section “The Black Seminole: The Gullah that Got Away” that recounts the history of fugitive slaves from Georgia and South Carolina, whose descendents are now found in Florida, Mexico and Texas and who speak an ancient form of Gullah

To learn more about this exhibit, click here.

17th Annual Black Enterprise/Pepsi Golf & Tennis Challenge, Carlsbad, CA

17th Annual Black Enterprise/Pepsi Golf & Tennis Challenge
taking place September 2 – September 6, 2010
at the La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad, California.

Ron Isley & The Isley Brothers, Big Daddy Kane, MC Lyte, Doug E. Fresh, El Debarge, Blair Underwood will be attending.

What is the Black Enterprise/Pepsi Golf & Tennis Challenge?

The Black Enterprise/Pepsi Golf & Tennis Challenge is an exclusive, luxurious weekend bursting with networking, fun, and relaxation. This stellar event aligns you with top business minds—so get in the game!

Who should attend?

Professionals wanting to network, relax, or both. This event is a weekend of business, pleasure, and friendly competition. Adult registration is ages 18 and up. We are anticipating more than 1,200 attendees this year.

Learn more about this, click here.


Art Show Reception

7 p.m. Sept. 2, Richmond Hill Historical Society & Museum, 11460 Ford Ave. The Society is pleased to present the show "Seeing History Through the Eyes of Local Artists" during the month of September. Local artists have used archived images held in the Richmond Hill Museum to visually reproduce through paint, pencil, canvas and photography the life and times of the people, places and things from days gone by on the coast of Georgia. Free. For information, call 912-756-3697.

African American artists shine in new exhibit, Wayland Baptist University Plainview, TX

PLAINVIEW – Art as an imitation of life is a tradition as old as art itself. For many cultures, Papa Jimart has been a way to express their experiences, emotions and struggles.

The newest exhibit to grace the walls of the Abraham Art Gallery at Wayland Baptist University is testament to the unique experiences of African Americans in the South. Southern Journeys features the work of 52 artists in a variety of mediums as they examine their ties to the south. Open to the public during September and October, the show is free.

According to the promotional guide, artists in Southern Journeys span three generations, those whose careers developed and matured between the 1930s and 1950s; those who came of age during the Civil Rights and Black Power decades; and those who have emerged in the postmodernist period.

Show curators liken the artists to griots, or storytellers in Western Africa who keep alive the oral traditions and history of a village, as they tell multilayered stories through their drawings, paintings, sculptures and prints. The artists represent the academicallytrained and the self-taLove Songught ends of the art spectrum though they share their culture and the “black experience.”

While African Americans primarily lived in the south until the early twentieth century, the migration into other parts of the country resulted in ablending of their culture and art forms such as music, literature, art and dance with the art of the region. Some of the work represents commissioned art by the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s and 40s, designed for the masses. The Civil Rights movement, focused heavily in the south, fueled African American artists to examine the politics of race in their work.

Birth of SpiritualsThe Black Power movement that followed added a sense of empowerment and pride that brought about a new consideration of African American art and identity. The southstill inspires contemporary artists, and the distinctive regional identity, multicultural heritage and vibrant folk culture of the South align with postmodernist cultural values.

Southern Journeys features works by internationally recognized African American artists such as Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence, Faith Ringgold, Dean Mitchell, and Richmond Barth√©, allowing students to experience their artwork up close and personally, which is always a better way to experience art than in art history textbook reproduction. The American experience of these black artists across three generations presents a fascinating visual narrative, and provides insights into our rich and complex history,” said Dr. Candace Keller, curator of the gallery and professor of art at Wayland.

From the advent of slavery to the Harlem Renaissance, the Black arts movemeBirth of Spiritualsnt to the postmodern era, the exhibition is sure to stimulate discussion on culture and inclusion of the multiple voices and visions of American art history. A generous grant from the Mid America Arts Alliance and the National Endowment for the Arts helped us to bring this exhibition to the Abraham Gallery, and we hope our regional schools will be able to take advantage of it, as well as our patrons and friends.”

According to Keller, the gallery welcomes tour groups from schools and other organizations, especially those who want to get a more in-depth look into the history and culture featured in the 55 works. Trained docents will be available for groups with advance notice. Interested parties may call the gallery at 291-3710 to make reservations for group visits or for more information.

The gallery is open during regular hours of the Mabee Learning Resources Center, which houses the gallery in its lower level: 10-5 Monday through Thursday, 10-4 Friday and 2-5 Saturday.

Addiction drama 'A Separate Sun' debuts at the Fringe, Philadelphia, PA

THERE'S A little something for everyone on the theatrical edges of the 2010 Philadelphia Live Arts Festival/Philly Fringe, getting into gear this weekend through Sept. 18 - from the, um, "karaoke debauchery" of "Zombies Are Forever" to a new beach blanket musical, "Destination Summer," to a staged presentation of old-time radio dramas, "Hear Again Radio Project."

But playwright Joe Blake thinks it's time to get real, people. He believes that 2010 audiences crave something more attuned to the world we live in, something that's "pressing the envelope, more sensitive to the times."

And he's got just the goods to satisfy: an urban drama with music called "A Separate Sun" which has its world premiere Saturday at The Arts Garage on Ridge Avenue as part of the Fringe. (The Fringe welcomes any and all to present their work, and Live Arts participants are selected by festival producing director Nick Stuccio.)

"Sun" stars Barrymore Award-winning actress/singer Joilet Harris as Ansonia, a woman struggling to overcome abuse, drugs and depression who finds salvation through the power of song.

Blake, a former Daily News reporter who covered news and entertainment, writes with obvious personal knowledge and sensitivity for his subject.

For musical scoring, he found a kindred spirit in Bill Jolly, one of Philadelphia's most seasoned R&B, jazz and theatrical music arranger-composers, Blake shared in a recent conversation.

Q: Will "A Separate Sun" be your debut at the Fringe festival? And what inspired it?

A: This is my second time participating. The first was with a piece called "Muralista," about a mural proposed for a gentrified neighborhood. My inspiration was a piece I did for the Inquirer , in which I complained about a mural I didn't like in an urban neighborhood. It had these idyllic images [and] reflected nothing of the stress that the community was under. Murals were invented as a political tool by artists like Diego Rivera to incite revolution and change. They were supposed to represent anything but being happy and digging in the garden.

"A Separate Sun" came out of teaching a writing class for a group of recovering addicts. A friend who was teaching asked if I could fill in for two sessions. At first I was resistant, didn't think I could accomplish anything. I wound up staying for three years.

As a playwright, these people opened up a world that I never knew existed. We all know someone who's recovering, or someone who knows someone who is. But to hear their challenges firsthand, their stories, it's fascinating. It's like an alternative universe. And I was so inspired by them.

This play is about a woman who's a recovering addict, who made it through with song. The thing is, with a recovering addict, music becomes a different kind of addiction for them. Junkies can only cure themselves with family or music or spirituality, with something that fills the void - the crack that's left behind.

Q: Is the character of Ansonia based on someone you met and worked with?

A: A lot of the words are composites of stories they told me. One thing I found out that was not unusual with recovering addicts, most of them have been dead at least once. They OD'd, or somebody beat 'em up so bad they had to bring them back, resuscitate them. But I couldn't fit that in, because it would have taken away from other things, maybe seemed too preachy. So I'll use that somewhere else.

Q: You're rather critical of a lot of the content in the Fringe, aren't you?

A: There's so little for African-American people, though my experience with "Muralista" was that people will really come out if you give them something of value. While other shows couldn't attract five people, literally, and had to cancel performances, we never played to less than 25. And one of our performances for "A Separate Sun" has already sold out. (The theater space holds 100.)

Some artists who're participating in the Fringe fest are not really trying to be cutting-edge, just gimmicky. That stuff might have worked four or five years ago, but now what they [audiences] want to see in art is different, and you need to be aware of that tone and be sensitive to the times. To the economic meltdown. And our perceptions of immigration and of color.

Heavy, heavy stuff has been going down. It's like a throwback to the '50s. So to come out with lightweight pieces that don't try and say anything . . . Come on, we're smarter than that.

Q: What can you tell me about Bill Jolly's score, and your lead actress?

A: Bill's done a wonderful job. The story ebbs and flows between recovering and going back again, her backsliding. And the music just flows with it. When she's recovering it's upbeat. When [she's] backsliding, it's something else. It builds to a crescendo.

I don't want to give it away, but she does overcome.

This isn't just instrumental music, it's songs with lyrics. Jazz, bluesy, R&B and gospel, all mixed in.

Joilet is an accomplished actress and singer, the only African-American to win the Barrymore Award [Philadelphia's version of the Tony Awards ]. She just came out of a Pittsburgh production of "Sarah's Song," in which she played [jazz singer] Sarah Vaughan.

She's always working. She was in "12 Monkeys" with Bruce Willis . She was a regular on "The Wire," did several episodes of "Law & Order." And she has a singing voice that will make you cry. She's that good.

Q: What does it take to get a show into the Fringe? Do the organizers pay you to participate? And how do you pull it all off?

A: No, no, there are no subsidies! In fact, it's expensive to participate. You have to pay a festival fee. You pay to get a picture with your listing in the guidebook. You have to get insurance, to be bonded.

If you want marketing - say a sandwich board outside the venue, or any kind of flier or cards, you pay. And of course, you have to pay the actors. We got a break from Actors Equity to be able to work with Joilet Harris, but only within limits.

I've been working with the owner of the Arts Garage, Ola Solanke, for several years, originally doing some poetry readings. It's in a gentrifying neighborhood, become a popular place with students and cutting-edge artists from the universities and the Northern Liberties area.

But I also couldn't have gotten this show on without Chetachi Dunkley, owner of a residential services company [Casmir Care Services] that works with people who have disabilities or mental health issues. I am doing some consulting for her [he holds the title of executive director], and she raised the issue of wanting to do something for the arts. I said, hell, you can donate to me!

Well, I didn't say it quite like that, but that's how it all got going. And her daughter [Chioma] wound up in the show, alternating in the part of the young Ansonia. But Chioma has experience - she just finished working on an independent film at Temple - and had to pass our audition.

"A Separate Sun" by Joe Blake and Bill Jolly, directed by Lenny Daniels, starring Joilet Harris with Chioma Dunkley, Harum Ulmer Jr. and Jamara Griffin. The Arts Garage, 1533 Ridge Ave., 7 p.m. Saturday, 4 p.m. Sunday (sold out), 7 p.m. Tuesday through Sept. 10, and 4 and 7 p.m. Sept. 11, 215-413-1318,

To read and learn more about this event, click here.

The Parkway Collection of Important African-American Art, Tyler Fine Art, St.Louis, MO

The present group of important African-American works of art has been discriminately collected by Parkway Galleries L.T.D., a Midwestern-based group of people with a great passion and appreciation for this genre of American art. Rich in complexity and diversity, we believe that this collection is a meaningful cross-section of masterworks, well representing the heritage and pride, as well as the trials and tribulations experienced by the African-American artist during the early to mid-20th century. Many of these works were produced at the height of the artist’s critical period of recognition.
Parkway affiliates, with more than 70 years of combined experience in the field of modern American art, believe that living with, loving and investing in fine art associated with our own American heritage is a prudent and fulfilling decision. We also believe that American art produced during the 20th Century, especially between the wars, with its magnitude of political, social, technical and creative complexities will, over time, be recognized as some of the most important art ever produced.

Tyler Fine Art
282 N. Skinker Blvd
St. Louis, MO 63130
(314) 630-3845

Gallery Reception:
6-9PM Friday August 20th

Aug 21 - Sept 28th
Tues-Sat 11-5

Please visit the Parkway Collection website to view the current exhibit

Brooklyn Loves Michael Jackson Annual Birthday Party, New York, NY

Sunday August 29, 2010
· 12:00pm - 6:00pm

The Nethermead Field - Prospect Park, Brooklyn

Spike Lee presents the 2nd annual "Brooklyn Loves Michael Jackson Birthday Celebration". If you were there last year, you know not to miss the party of the summer. Join Spike and surprise celebrity guests to jam to the magic of Michael's music throughout the day. Bring your family, friends and a pair of comfortable dancing shoes cuz we want to rock with you!


1st video: http:...//

2nd video:

Here's a map to help you get there:

This party is FREE for everybody, and we need your help to spread the word, so please press the 'Share' button (the one under the title) and tell your friends about it! Thanks, and see you in Brooklyn!

For additional updates on the event, follow the 40 Acres Twitter at We will be live tweeting on the day of the event, so be sure to check it out to find out all the action going down. Hashtag is #BKMJ

There will be Handicapped Accessibility. Once you arrive on the Nethermead you will be directed on where to enter. There will also be Portosans that are handicapped ready at each Portosan bank.

We will be documenting Michael Jackson's 52nd Birthday Celebration in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, New York on August 29th, 2010. By your presence in the Prospect Park - Nethermead Field area, you acknowledge that you have been informed that you may be photographed, recorded and videotaped. Further, by your presence there, you grant your permission for your likeness and voice to be included without compensation, credit or other consideration. If you do not wish to be photographed, recorded and videotaped under these conditions, then you should leave the Prospect Park - Nethermead Field area immediately. Thank you for your cooperation.

Brought to you by Spike Lee, 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks, Spike DDB, and The Republic of Brooklyn.

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