FROM THE DIRECTOR...
The start of 2013 augured well for CAAM with a full a slate of events, programs and celebrations. During the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend celebration of January 19th, CAAM hosted more than 2,000 visitors. This year’s festivities included a special Inauguration Breakfast for CAAM’s members and friends who came to watch President Barack Obama assume his second term in office. Through the spirit of children, we also celebrated Dr. King’s vision with The Dream @ 50 Exhibition and Award Ceremony which featured the art of students from the LA Unified School District. January was a month full of worldwide history-in-the-making.
In February, we celebrated Black History Month looking back to honor the achievements of those upon whose shoulders we stand. In the shadow of the 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation Hari Jones, Curator of the African American Civil War Museum, helped to set the record straight with a well-attended and engaging lecture. We reached across the sea to exhibit the creativity of British micro-sculptor Willard Wigan who, when an impressionable young student, was told he’d never amount to anything. Encouraged by his mother to “make it smaller,” Wigan’s microscopic art continues to amaze, garnering global attention and collection by art aficionados.
This spring CAAM will mount an ambitious exhibition of the art of Afro-Cuban artist Manuel Mendive. Colorful dreamscapes and Dalí-esque paintings are infused with the Yoruba tradition and the vibrant colors of Mendive’s island homeland. The work is thought-provoking as well as visually appealing, and certain to engage the spirit. This career retrospective charts Mendive’s development as one of Cuba’s major artistic voices, even though lesser known here in the United States. We are honored to have been selected by the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) to lead the collaborative organization and presentation of Manuel Mendive’s art to the citizens of our city. Without the hard work of CAAM’s Program Manager, Mar Hollingsworth, and the scholastic diligence of guest curator and Cuban Art Historian Bárbaro Martínez-Ruiz, this exhibition could not have happened. Thank you!
We’ve also started planning our annual Gala, An Artful Evening at CAAM, which is slated this year for October 12th. Stay tuned for updates and the announcement of our 2013 Honorees.
In the meantime, I have every confidence that CAAM will continue to experience significant growth as a major cultural institution in the months ahead. Fueled by our desire to share the rich and textured history of the African Diaspora, we continue to dream Big Dreams that touch us as Americans and relate to our global connections. We all know that African American history is America’s history. We also wisely understand the value of sharing that voice and knowing how deeply we are all interconnected. We’re committed to providing our members, visitors and community partners with a unique point-of-view that blends the global with the local, the historic with present-day concerns, and all within a place where art can inspire and speak to our diverse and multi-faceted relationships.
To you, our members, we will always owe our greatest gratitude for your faithful and stalwart support of CAAM. Please continue to share your donations and renew your memberships, and feel confident that our goal is to serve you. The California African American Museum is your museum.