Noted African-American Artist Joins Worcester Youth To Celebrate Black History Month at Worcester Art Museum

WORCESTER, MASS, JANUARY 14, 2000 - Join in the Worcester Art Museum's annual celebration of Black History Month by meeting renowned African-American artist Faith Ringgold, and hearing winning poetry produced for the Martin Luther King, Jr., Birthday/Black History Month Committee's "I Have a Dream" Essay Contest, on Sunday, February 6. All events are free with Museum admission.

The celebration starts at 1:00pm with the presentation of poetry by students who have been inspired by the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., followed by a reception honoring the students. After the ceremony, you'll have an opportunity to meet Ringgold at a book signing, where a number of her books will be available for purchase. You'll also be able to see Ringgold's story quilt, Picasso's Studio, which the Worcester Art Museum recently acquired. In addition, you'll be invited to view works of art by African-American artists on a guided tour with Docent Pat Peterson.

Two years ago, David R. Brigham, curator of American Art at the Worcester Art Museum, spoke about the Museum's aspirations of expanding its African-American art collection through gifts, purchases and/or loans from private collectors. Since that time, the Museum has displayed works of art by significant African-American artists such as Charles Alston, Eldzier Cortor, Hale Woodruff and others, on loan from Bostonian John Axelrod.

"I am delighted with John Axelrod's continuing generosity to the Museum," Brigham says. "In addition to the works already on loan, he has allowed us to borrow an important painting by Archibald Motley and a sculpture by Richmond Barthé. Those works and the Museum's recent purchases of paintings and sculpture by Beauford Delaney, Melvin Edwards, and Faith Ringgold now enrich our American galleries."

In Worcester's Tuckerman Hall at 7:00pm, Ringgold will inspire you to spread your wings when she reveals the unusual path her life and work have followed during the past three decades. Her lecture, Faith Ringgold, More Than 30 Years Making Art, will chronicle the wide range of work she has produced during her career. Like the Museum's other Black History Month events, Ringgold's lecture at Tuckerman Hall is free of charge.

A painter, mixed media sculptor, performance artist, and writer, Ringgold has received more than 75 awards and exhibited around the world. Her recent work includes a series of painted story quilts in which she attempts to rewrite African-American art history.

Ringgold's lecture and book signing are supported by the Robert and Amelia Hutchinson Haley Lecture Fund. Books for sale are provided courtesy of Tatnuck Bookseller.

Ringgold will remain in Worcester on February 7 for a visit with public school children in the morning and an informal visit with children at the Worcester Public Library in the afternoon. These visits were coordinated by the Worcester Art Museum's Ad Hoc African-American Advisory Group and supported by Allmerica Financial, Greater Worcester Community Foundation, Worcester State College, Worcester Public Library, and the Worcester Public Schools.

Museum Background

Opened to the public in 1898, the Worcester Art Museum is the second largest art museum in New England. Its exceptional 35,000-piece collection of paintings, sculpture, decorative arts, photography, prints and drawings is displayed in 36 galleries and spans 5,000 years of art and culture, ranging from Egyptian antiquities and Roman mosaics to Impressionist paintings and contemporary art. Throughout its first century, the Worcester Art Museum proved itself a pioneer: the first American museum to purchase work by Claude Monet (1910) and Paul Gauguin (1921); the first museum to bring a medieval building to America (1927); a sponsor of the first major excavation at Antioch, one of the four great cities of ancient Rome (1932); the first museum to create an Art All-State program for high school artists (1987); the originator of the first exhibition of Dutch master Judith Leyster (1993); and the first museum to focus its contemporary art programs on art of the last 10 years (1998). The Museum's hours are: Wednesday through Sunday, 11am-5pm, and Saturday 10am-5pm. Admission: FREE for members; Non-members: $8 Adults; $6 Seniors and full-time college students with current ID; FREE for youth 17 and under; FREE for everyone Saturday mornings 10am-noon sponsored by The TJX Companies and Massachusetts Electric Company. For more information, call (508) 799-4406 or visit the Museum at 55 Salisbury Street in Worcester.