Worcester Art Museum Celebrates Black History Month with A Quilt of Stories: a Celebration of African-American Culture

WORCESTER, MASS., JANUARY 15, 1999 - The Worcester Art Museum invites you to joinin its sixth annual Black History Month celebration on Sunday, February 14, 1999, beginning at1:00 p.m. Designed to honor the richness of the African-American cultural experience in ourcommunity, events include a reception, a screening of the winning "I Have a Dream" video essays, apresentation on African-American literature, and storytelling. The program is open to the public andfree with Museum admission. The day starts at 1:00 p.m. with a reception and screening of videosproduced by Worcester youth.

Sponsored by the Martin Luther King Jr., Birthday/Black History Month Committee, the essaycontest is open to all Worcester public schools. The purpose of the videos is to encourage studentsto share Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s message about non-violence and racial justice in a formatthat is pertinent to today's world. The videos are each about 10 minutes long, and are written,produced, and filmed by the students. This year's winners are Mrs. Kathleen Bisson's 8th gradeclass at Burncoat School and Mr. Mark Aucoin's 6th grade class at Thorndyke Road School. The videoswill play continuously at the Worcester Art Museum during the month of February.

At 1:40 p.m, a scholar from Clark University will give a presentation on African-Americanliterature. For the remainder of the afternoon, members of the Worcester community will create aquilt of stories relating to Dr. King's message by telling stories about family pride, diversity,African culture, and African-American culture. Some of the guest storytellers are:

  • Antonella Doucette, Worcester Art Museum Trustee
  • Gloria Hall, Charles Houston Cultural Project, Inc.
  • Fran Manocchio, Executive Director of ACCORD
  • Raymond Mariano, Mayor of Worcester
  • Ruth Ann Melancon, Principal of Elm Park Community School
  • Maria Rosado-Oakley, Campfire Boys and Girls
  • Dolly Vazquez, Centros Las Americas
  • Richard Ward, Greater Worcester Community Foundation
  • Member of the Second Baptist Church

In addition, visitors will receive quilt templates and be encouraged to create their own culturalquilts by finding a wide variety of images located throughout the Worcester Art Museum. Participantswill also have the opportunity to take a self-guided tour of African-American paintings andsculpture on view in the Museum, some of which are on loan from the private collection of BostonianJohn P. Axelrod.

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.