- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 27, 2003

“B lues and Dreams,” the 21/2-month citywide celebration of the black experience in Washington, will be buttressed by two high-profile museum exhibitions.

On Sept. 14, the National Gallery of Art will debut “The Art of Romare Bearden,” an exhibition of 130 works by the black artist who was one of the pre-eminent American artists of the 20th century. Fifteen years after his death, he remains a source of pride and inspiration for black artists all over the world.

The exhibition will show off the range and versatility of Mr. Bearden’s career with paintings, drawings and watercolors, monotypes and edition prints, collages, photographs, wood sculpture, designs for record albums, costumes, stage sets and book illustrations. The exhibition coincides with the Simon and Schuster publication of Mr. Bearden’s “Li’l Dan The Drummer Boy, A Civil War Story.”

The American Textile Museum will feature “African-American Quilts from the Robert and Helen Cargo Collection” on Oct. 3. The 20 rare quilts — made mostly in Alabama in the 1970s, but some from the early 1900s — together make up a mosaic of quilt-making styles and traditions from patchwork quilts, to story quilts, strip quilts and quilts with abstract designs.

Mr. Cargo, a professor emeritus at the University of Alabama, and his wife decided to focus on Alabama. His collection now numbers 156 quilts.

Both exhibitions serve as a kind of root and base for the “Blues and Dreams” celebration as well as a catalyst for visitors and residents alike to explore the rich, diverse and layered aspects of the black experience and legacy in Washington.

The two exhibitions will include a large number of activities, special events and programs.

Here’s a sampling:

“The Art of Romare Bearden”

• Panel Discussion: A Bearden Celebration — Members of Spiral, an artists’ group, will discuss their work, the movement and Mr. Bearden. Participants include Emma Amos, Reginald Gammon, Merton Simpson, Richard Mayhew and others. Sept. 14 National Gallery of Art East Building 2-5 p.m. 202/737-4215.

• Romare Bearden Film Program — “The Art of Romare Bearden,” a 30-minute documentary film, will be shown Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays at 11:30 a.m., East Building, large auditorium from Sept. 14 through Jan. 4. 202/842-6799 or 202/842-6176.

• Bearden Community Festival — Art activities, films, storytelling, book displays, food and tours Sept. 20 at the National Gallery between Constitution Avenue and Madison Drive. 202/737-4215.

• Children’s Film Program — “Jazz” and “Duke Ellington,” animated films about jazz, showings scheduled Sept. 20, and Nov. 8, 9, 28 and 29 at 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. Constitution Avenue between 3rd and 9th streets NW. 202/789-4995.

• Oscar Micheaux, filmmaker — showings scheduled Oct. 4 at 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., and Oct. 5 at 4 p.m. Constitution Avenue between 3rd and 9th streets. 202/842-6799 or 202/842-6167.

m Family Weekend: The Art of Romare Bearden — Films storytelling, hands-on activities and live music. Nov. 8, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Nov. 9, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Constitution Avenue between 3rd and 9th streets. 202/842-6880.

The Textile Museum

• My Family Quilt — Quilting demonstrations, readings, and hands-on work making a quilt block for your family. Oct. 4, 1:30 and 2:30 p.m, 2320 S St. NW. 202/667-0441.

• One Artist’s Story — Artist Kyra Hicks talks about how and why she began to create story quilts. Nov. 15, 1:30 p.m., 2320 S St. NW. 202/667-0441, Ext 64.

• Telling Our Story Through Quilts: A Role Model Workshop for High School and College Students — Participants will tour the exhibition and create an autobiographical quilt block with Kyra Hicks. Nov. 15, 1:30-4:30 p.m., 2320 S St. NW. 202/783-7370.

• Educator’s Night — An opportunity for teachers and principals to learn about local resources at seven museums, including the Textile Museum. Oct. 16, 4:30-6:30 p.m., 2320 S St. NW. 202/667-0441.

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