Tuesday, October 13, 2009
The Allentown Art Museum | A Force for Change: African American Art
The Allentown Art Museum will host A Force for Change: African American Art
Allentown , Pa. – On September 13, 2009 the Allentown Art Museum will present A Force for Change: African American Art and The Julius Rosenwald Fund. This exhibition of African American art is the first to explore the legacy of The Julius Rosenwald Fund, created in 1917 by Chicago businessman and philanthropist Julius Rosenwald, who fostered black leadership through the arts, literature and scholarship. The exhibition will feature more than 60 paintings, sculptures, and works on paper by over 20 of the artists who were recipients of Rosenwald fellowships during the Fund’s most active years (1928–1948), a watershed period for the advancement of African American art and culture. The exhibition will be on view in the museum’s Kress Gallery from September 13, 2009 through January 10, 2010.
The exhibition will feature more than 60 paintings, sculptures, and works on paper by over 20 of the artists who were recipients of Rosenwald fellowships during the Fund’s most active years (1928–1948), a watershed period for the advancement of African American art and culture. The exhibition will be on view in the museum’s Kress Gallery from September 13, 2009 – January 10, 2010. Special exhibition admission price is $7 (plus museum admission) and also includes New Visions: Black and White Photography in Contemporary Art , a special exhibition in the Rodale Gallery.
Artists represented in the exhibition are among the foremost of their era, including Elizabeth Catlett, Aaron Douglas, Katherine Dunham, Jacob Lawrence, Gordon Parks, Rose Piper and Augusta Savage, among others. With support from The Rosenwald Fund, these talented and multifaceted artists explored through their work the experiences of African Americans in a time of rapid social change and modern instability. Predominate themes encompass the gulf between North and South, urban and rural, and a search for a lost black past—in some cases, the search for a black essence.
An accompanying publication connects the artists’ works to the goals and achievements of The Rosenwald Fund and also emphasizes how the foundation encouraged the black “Chicago Renaissance” of the 1930s and 1940s. This exhibition has been made possible by a generous grant from the Terra Foundation for American Art. Major support for this project has also been provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, Righteous Persons Foundation, and the Judith Rothschild Foundation.
Julius Rosenwald: Innovator in Business and Philanthropy
Talk and Book Signing / Sunday, September 13 at 1 p.m.
Peter M. Ascoli, the grandson of Julius Rosenwald and author of the biography Julius Rosenwald: The Man Who Built Sears, Roebuck and Advanced the Cause of Black Education in the American South , will give personal insight into Rosenwald, a Chicago businessman who helped to foster black leadership through the arts, literature, and scholarship. Rosenwald, an unconventional philanthropist who believed firmly in the philosophy of “Give While You Live,” established The Rosenwald Fund in 1917 with the goals of supporting education for blacks in the rural South, finding ways to provide affordable health care for average Americans (Blue Cross Blue Shield was established as a result of some of the Fund’s activities), improving race relations, and providing fellowships to gifted African Americans in a variety of fields. Many of the artists who received fellowships went on to long and distinguished careers, and fine examples of their work may be seen in A Force for Change: African American Art and The Julius Rosenwald Fund . Limited quantities of Ascoli’s book will be available for purchase at the event and a book signing is scheduled to follow the talk. The talk is free to all museum visitors and will be held in the museum auditorium.
The Allentown Art Museum will feature the work of some of the finest African American artists of the mid-20th century and of modern and contemporary American photographers in the exhibitions A Force for Change: African American Art and The Julius Rosenwald Fund from September 13, 2009 - January 10, 2010 and New Visions: Black and White Photography in Contemporary Art from August 29, 2009 - January 10, 2010 . For more information visit www.allentownartmuseum.org .