Thursday, January 24, 2013

Joyce the Art Critic? Spelman College's Museum Wants Your Reflections on Their Collection

MarĂ­a Magdalena Campos-Pons discussing "Dreaming of An Island" 

I had the most amazing experience today. I got a call from Anne Collins Smith, curator of  collections for the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, the only museum in the United States dedicated to visual art made by and about women of the African Diaspora. Anne was reminding me of my interest in participating in "Multiple Choice: Perspectives on the Spelman College Collection," the museum's upcoming community-curated exhibition of their permanent collection.

Basically I will be able to provide my reflections on a piece of art that touches me - and my commentary will be part of this exhibit of works by luminaries like Faith Ringgold, Jacob Lawrence, Elizabeth Catlett, Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons and Hale Woodruff. Being shown breathtaking art in a private tour today and having Anne tell me such interesting stories behind the creation of some of the works and how they became part of the Museum's collection was more than I'd expected. As a storyteller, I was moved to awe.

When you work someplace where you encounter such greatness, important history, and inspiration on a regular basis, you can - unbelievably to some - take it for granted. You can forget what is right outside your office, a few steps away from your desk. The stories I'm privy to at Spelman - from the driven students to the renowned guests and pioneering elders - are without a doubt the best benefit of my work here. I'm so glad Anne called to remind me because participating in this exhibition is a soul-feeding opportunity I did not want to miss.

I won't divulge to you which piece of art was my match to provide reflections. That will definitely be in a later blog post. But I did want to encourage you - anyone reading Enjoyceinglife - that you, too, can participate in this amazing endeavor. You don't have to be in Atlanta. The museum is inviting students, faculty, staff, friends of the museum, alumnae, and anyone who may be interested to participate. But time is running short. If you're interested please contact Anne Collins Smith, at 404-270-5604 or annesmith@spelman.edu.

LaTanya Richardson Jackson in August's Wilson's "Jo Turner's Come and Gone."

On another Spelman note, I had a fantastic conversation yesterday with Spelman alumna LaTanya Richardson Jackson, a veteran of the stage and screen who will be directing August Wilson's "Two Trains Running" via Kenny Leon's True Colors Theatre Company at the Southwest Arts Center in Atlanta, Feb. 12 - Mar. 10. Our discussion was so entertaining. I learned a great deal about her path to theatrical success. And we talked about everything from her time on Spelman's stage and her Broadway debut - ironically in August Wilson's "Jo Turner's Come and Gone" - to her passionate thoughts on her husband Samuel Jackson's role in "Django Unchained." I was not ready for her fire. But I was energized afterwards. Stay tuned for more about our conversation in an upcoming issue of Inside Spelman, the digital publication I edit for the college.

Keep Enjoyceinglife! It's grand.

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