Museum event seeks donations to preserve artwork


TUSKEGEE, Alabama (March 28, 2013) — During Founder’s Day weekend activities, the Legacy Museum will showcase their newest exhibition during a donor reception and tour. The facility hopes to gain support to fund continued preservation of fragile artwork in their collection during the April 6 event on the museum’s patio from 2-4 p.m.

E. Bruce Phillips 

James Adair

Floyd Coleman
The Legacy Museum is currently displaying new work from three black artists, including that of a professor at the university. The exhibition, ABC Expressions, features art by James Adair, E. Bruce Phillips, Jr., and Floyd Coleman. The exhibition pieces celebrate black culture while promoting racial empowerment and making statements on society’s issues. Adair and Phillips will be present at the reception.

The event will also introduce the museum’s “Friends of the Museum” donor program. For a gift of $250 and an annual fee of $65, lifetime members can help support the museum and develop a close relationship with its activities and plans. The donation package includes several specialty museum items such as a lapel pin and newsletter.

The curator, Jontyle Robinson, said funds are needed for general museum upkeep and preservation of the artwork. Among its collection are exhibits about the United States Public Health Service Untreated Syphilis Study in Tuskegee, Ala., and 20 historical dioramas that were crafted for the American Negro Exposition that were given to the university in 1940. According to Robinson, “the dioramas portray the contributions of people of the African diaspora to world civilizations over 7,000 years.” The dioramas are among the works in need of aid. She said the estimated cost to restore the pieces is $500,000 to $600,000.

“Because the Legacy Museum’s permanent collection is made up of artifacts and artworks that are as old as Tuskegee University, these items are our first priority,” Robinson said. “We have already done some conservation and preservation. However, there is so much more to do. Conservation and preservation of the collection are our major priorities.”

Tuskegee professor part of exhibition

E. Bruce Phillips, Jr., is an assistant professor of art at Tuskegee University. In addition to teaching art appreciation, he also teaches a course entitled, “Black Aesthetic and Art and Children.” He is described as an activist artist who uses his work to celebrate experiences and challenge social norms. He is a mixed media artist who specializes in collages utilizing found objects.

“I’ve always been a person that collected things and when I started doing this type of work, it gave me a voice to use these things,” Phillips said. “The heritage of it, I look at how we as a people take something that may not mean something to someone else and make it yours.”

He has 11 pieces on display at the university. One of his pieces on exhibit, “The Power of Reading” is a mixed media presentation on paper created in 2010. From his personal collection, this work is a powerful representation of the benefits of reading.


Power of Reading by Phillips

Red Line 1967 by Coleman

Mask by Adair
“I specifically picked that piece for the university to put that message out there, especially to our students,” Phillips said. “We try to express the importance of that to our students.”

Rallying cry

James Adair was the first black person to open a gallery in downtown Atlanta during the height of the Civil Rights Movement. Convinced that economic agency can be part of an artist’s success, he was influenced by social realism and the intellectualism of numerous artists, including Romare Bearden, Henry O. Tanner, and Hale Woodruff. One of Adair’s pieces, “Mask” is a large oil on canvas painting of a black mask created in 1984. It is described as a “mastery of format and space.”According to the description, “The joy of Adair's work is the illusionary space or the 2 dimensional or 3 dimensional planes that pivots back and forth between positive and negative spaces.”

Floyd Coleman, a seasoned and respected nationally recognized scholar is an advocate for black empowerment through art and education. He started the James A. Porter Colloquium in 1990, which is the foremost academic exchange for innovative dialogue and perspectives in the United States on black American art.Coleman is an Alabama native and Art Department Chairman Emeritus and Art Professor Emeritus at Howard University. He has donated three of his ABC Expressions pieces to the museum’s permanent collection.

On display is one of Coleman’s pieces from 1971, “Brothers.” It is a mixed media presentation utilizing acrylic, wood and Plexiglas. The two portraits of his sons are a double-entendre which serves as a rallying cry to black men and women to work toward racial empowerment.

ABC Expressions will be on display indefinitely. The museum is regularly open Monday -Friday from 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. To arrange a tour, please call 334-725-2342 or 334-727-8888. A $3 donation is requested.

What: The Legacy Museum Donor Reception and Tour
When: Saturday, April 6
Time: 2-4 p.m.
Where: The Legacy Museum patio
Details: There will also be a raffle and door prizes
Cost: Donation of any amount
Contact: 334-725-2342 or 334-727-8888

© 2013 Tuskegee University

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