Selected African American Artists-1859 to the Present, a set of five teaching posters exploring important and instructive works of art dating from the Civil War to the dawn of the Civil Rights movement, will be introduced during a multi-media reception for educators at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Wednesday, December 1, 1999, from 4:00 to 6:30 p.m. To be distributed free of charge to all Philadelphia public and parochial schools, the poster set was made possible by generous grants from The Delphi Project Foundation (funded by Reliance Standard Life Insurance and the Delphi Financial Group), and developed by the Museum's Division of Education.
Engagingly visual and laminated for durability, the new poster set showcases work in the Museum's collections by both well-known and anonymous African American artists. Illustrated are ceramic Face Jugs and an impressive Storage Jar made by enslaved African Americans prior to the Civil War, a vibrant early 20th-century quilt by Marie Hensley, Henry O. Tanner's celebrated painting of The Annunciation (1898), Mr. Prejudice (1943) by Horace Pippin, and Beauford Delaney's striking Portrait of James Baldwin (1945). On the reverse of each poster, enlightening background materials -- including maps, hands-on learning activities, and related information on other contemporary African American artists--are designed for use by teachers and students.
To accompany the reception for teachers on December 1, the Arpeggio Jazz Ensemble will perform musical selections evoking the powerful images of the poster set. Among the highlights will be the debut of "Another Blues Country," an original composition by the Ensemble's Warren L. Oree, inspired by the remarkable life and accomplishments of James Baldwin.
Selected African American Artists -- 1859 to the Present is one of four innovative projects and programs sponsored at the Museum by The Delphi Project Foundation. These ambitious efforts strengthen and expand the Museum's longstanding efforts in outreach to Philadelphia public schools, introducing children from schools in the city's most impoverished areas to the Museum's collections in creative ways. In addition to the Selected African American Artists poster set, the initiatives include:
- After-School Museum Clubs
Middle-school students spend after-school hours in the Museum's galleries and studios with guidance from Museum staff. The Clubs expose students to art and acquaint them with career opportunities at the Museum. This 20-week program culminates with student exhibitions at both the Museum and the respective schools.
- Inner Visions
This program for middle-school students encourages creativity and familiarity with African American, Latino, and Asian art through a varied program of instruction in art history, Museum visits and studio projects. Inner Visions concludes with student exhibitions and receptions for their parents.
- Art Futures
Practicing, professional artists work in conjunction with art faculty at public middle schools. Together the artist and teacher develop a unique arts education program for students.
With an extensive history of support for educational and cultural causes in Philadelphia, the Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company (RSL) has built a productive partnership with the Museum's Division of Education. The Company and the Museum have long been neighbors on Philadelphia's Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and the Museum recently announced its commitment to acquire the landmark RSL Building that, like the Museum, was designed by the architectural firm of Zantzinger, Borie, and Medary, and built in the late 1920s.