PGAAMCC Curator Introduces 'A Space of Their Own'

PGAAMCC Curator Jon West-Bey introduces 'A Space of Their Own' and exhibition exploring the start of the first five incorporate black townships in Prince George's County and their influence on the region today.

Veterans Day Celebration at North Brentwood

More than 50 invited guests, including state senators Victor Ramirez and Joanne C. Benson, delegates Michael Summers and Jolene Ivey. The Veterans Day program was the first in a series of public programs supporting the PGAAMCC’s next exhibition – A Space of Their Own; A celebration of Prince George’s Historic Black Townships.

Mayors from three of the townships – Petrella Robinson, North Brentwood, James Crudup, Eagle Harbor and Lillie Thompson-Martin, Fairmount Heights – attended the event and served as honorary chairpersons.

The program began with a stirring rendition of the National Anthem by Yolanda Nelson followed by a welcome address from Mayor Robinson. PGAAMCC curator Jon West-Bey gave a brief introduction to “A Space of Their Own.” PGAAMCC Executive Director Dr. Jacqueline F. Brown recognized veterans for their service to America. Brown is married to a veteran and has two sons who have served in the Middle East.

Elder Bernard Blackmon, a former Corporal in the U.S. Marines was the Veterans Day event keynote speaker. Elder Blackmon recounted some of his military experiences, including the rigor of boot camp and the humiliation of his first bald haircut. Notwithstanding the meticulousness the Marines Corps, Elder Blackmon praised his time of military service saying it allowed him to use his GI benefits to buy a house, attend college and move up in the government job environment.

Each luncheon attendee was given a post card to write a personal message to a service member overseas. The Red Cross will help facilitate the mailing of the post cards.

“It’s important for our veterans to know what they have given will never be forgotten,” said Yolonda Evans, PGAAMCC’s Public Programs Coordinator. “This luncheon is an opportunity for our community to come together and honor them for their commitment, their service and our freedom.” - Walter Dozier -

‘Reading, Writing and Racialization:’ Dr. Washington Cherry Lecture

On Saturday, September 17th Dr. Washington Cherry presented an extremely participatory lecture that left everyone wanting to discuss more and ask more questions. The topic that had every ear perked and every brain thinking was: Reading, Writing, and Racialization: The Social Construction of Blackness in a Prince George’s County Middle School.

What is blackness? How do we define blackness? If you speak Spanish can you also be black? Is “blackness” a particular color”? Many of us define blackness differently and perhaps it is an individual decision. But this lecture clearly made everyone think about what it means to be black and its importance. One attendee stated that there is only one race, and that is the human race but does society accept this “one race”?Dr arvenita_Washingon_cherry

What became clear to me is the need for diversity training even among a community like, Prince George’s County which is predominantly African American. Among those who identify themselves as black or African American are Spanish speaking people, French speaking people, and perhaps even those who do not look like what we consider black or African American. It is important to understand and be empathetic to other people and do not jump to conclusions because a person has an accent or because they do not fit in a particular societal “box” neatly. Prior to this lecture, I often thought there was no need to have diversity training among people who look the same but I quickly learned that just because we look alike does not mean we share the same race, language, understanding of culture, or identify with being black.

The Honorable Peggy Magee lecture at PGAAMCC

If you missed the Peggy Magee lecture you missed a real treat! She spoke about how strength and honor and being able to stand up to any challenge has propelled her to success. As a single mom, she had a successful career in the military, as a state’s attorney, as Clerk of the Circuit Court, a Director in county government, and now in private industry as an adjunct Professor and as the Director of Community Relations at Collington. Her story inspired me as well as others.

Ms. Magee attributed much of her ability and steadfastness to her service in the military. She learned how to stand to any challenge and do it with dignity and honor but prior to the military it was clear that her strength was instilled in her by her very strong and capable mother. She had a mother who accepted no boundaries to affording her children the best education and she worked extremely hard as a domestic to accomplish this task. Ms. Magee described her childhood as one of few means, however she treasured such memories as being able to eat tea cakes and drink milk while sitting on the front porch swing in Biloxi, Mississippi.

The military helped Ms. Magee afford her education, both a Bachelor of Science as well as her Juris Doctorate. She served as the First Sergeant for Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base during the Presidency of George Bush and Bill Clinton. She is a well respected leader among her colleagues and peers as well as the Prince George’s County community.

An Homage to African American in the Military Art Workshop

Through collage and photography, workshop participants, paid homage to the many contributions of African American Women who served in the U.S. Military during WWII. The collage consisted of wood, photos, aged U.S. stamps...etc. This project was fun, relaxing, and beautiful when completed.

Chanel Compton Community & Youth Education Coordinator

Howard Unversity’s Upward Bound program Docent Tour—FANSTASTIC!!

Thursday morning, ninety-five high school students enrolled in Howard University's Upward Bound Program, visted our museum.  It was amazing!  Students were moved by the many stories of African Americans who served in the military throughout US history; it was truly a memorable experience!

Students from Howard's Upward Bound Program  view our current exhibition.

"It was great!  Our students really enjoyed themselves !" said Sabrina Johnson, Counselor for Upward Bound At Howard University

Independence Day Celebration—just AMAZING!!

Independence Day Celebration was AMAZING!!! Saturday, July 9th, local residents and youth groups experienced docent led tours, arts and crafts, and painted a mural commemorating Tuskegee Airmen. The day was exciting, fun, and educational.

Fun for kids, fun for all at PGAAMCC 2011 Independence Day Celebration!

2011 PGAAMCC Independence Day Celebration

“The Exhibit was an excellent educational experience for youth. It’s great exposure for youth of all ages; allowing them to stretch their minds educationally and creatively. We would definitely do this again!” Lloyd Cornish Southview Recreation Coordinator

Chanel Compton Community & Youth Education Coordinator Prince George's African American Museum & Cultural Center T: 301-209-0592 F: 301-209-0594

Resonant Forms and Women’s History Month Programs

I want to draw them in. How do you bring in magic and energy into an urban encounter? By elevating consciousness.

–Martha Jackson-Jarvis

On March 19, in celebration of International Women’s History Month, 60+ art enthusiasts, collectors, artists and community folks gathered at the Gateway Arts Center to meet mixed media/ installation artist Martha Jackson-Jarvis for a lively discussion about her past and present work---specifically her current installation project, Message in a Bottle/Scent of Magnolia. This work is featured in the current PGAAMCC and Brentwood Arts Exchange collaborative exhibition, Resonant Forms: Artwork by Alonzo Davis, Martha-Jackson Jarvis, and Frank Smith.

Message in a Bottle/Scent of Magnolia is a sculpture installation project that explores the meaning of courage and necessity as it relates to the cultural environment and landscape environment. It combines disparate materials of stone, concrete, glass, and aluminum in a visual narrative that uses southern landscapes as a metaphor for change, loss, and reclamation of natural history, cultural history, and environmental history. Martha has jettisoned this current body of work into an ongoing project. To learn more visit Jarvis was joined by artist/curator/art Journalist A.M. Weaver, a major voice shaping the discourse and dissemination of information on visual artists of color and women artists. She is currently a consultant for the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and works as an art journalist for publications such as Art South Africa, African Arts, Photo Review, Sculpture Magazine, Art Review/London, and Fiberarts.

Jarvis and Weaver captivated the audience with a soulful and interpretive exploration of Martha’s 30+ years of work. Images were presented featuring the many mediums of her evolution as an artist--- from her childhood in Virginia, where she began sculpting mud, to her subsequent rise as an international artist who now installs large scale permanent work throughout the US and worldwide.

Particularly resonant was Jarvis’s statement that art is as integral to life as the air we breathe and is often compelled by cultural and spiritual influences combined with nature’s expansionary continuum. Her vision and output exemplifies how the alchemy of art, environment, and community inclusivity leads to a fuller realization of the worlds we create and live in: “My current work explores issues of conservation and our relationship to natural materials and landscapes. I draw uncommon analogies between disparate forms, disparate objects and disparate materials to construct a narrative of real and imagined landscapes. My memory and enchantment with nature spring from my encounters in the southern landscape in childhood. I am interested in forces that bind inanimate and animate objects in a matrix of living interdependent forces that influence life and our place on Earth. I explore the energy in materials, their emanating auras, textures, and sources of power. Elements of impermanence and enduring cycles of change are revealed.”

If you haven’t already done so, come see Message in a Bottle/Scent of Magnolia, as part of the Resonant Forms exhibition on view through April 9, at PGAAMCC’s Gallery 110 and the Brentwood Arts Exchange gallery located at the Gateway Arts Center, 3901 Rhode Island Avenue, Brentwood, MD 20722.

By Tonya Jordan PGAAMCC, Community Engagement Manager March 23, 2011

“Enlisted: Five Generations of African Americans From The U.S. Armed Services”

Watch a preview of 'Enlisted: A conversation with Five Generations of African Americans From The U.S. Armed Services".  This inspiring video will featured as apart of our current exhibition: 'Coming Home: How the African American Experience During World War II Shaped the Culture of Prince George's County.'  This exhibition ran from Saturday, May 14th through September 1st, 2011.

Click here to watch more videos from our 'Enlisted' series.