PGAAMCC Welcomes New Artist-in-Residence Vanessa R. Williams

PGAAMCC Welcomes New Artist-in-Residence

Vanessa R. Williams

Article By Khadija Pounsel

 “This is where I live, where I feel safe, comfortable, free to do what I want within reason, not rushed, not forced. I can just be me in an artist’s capacity,” says Vanessa R. Williams of her new post as artist-in-residence of the Prince George’s African American Museum and Cultural Center (PGAAMCC) in North Brentwood, MD. As she sits before an easel painting the finishing strokes of a portrait of the late South African president Nelson Mandela, the Prince George’s County resident is in her element. “I just like making art. If someone wants to come and sit and watch, that’s great.” And watch they do – students and adults alike approach to watch and ask her questions.

Holding conversations is just what the Howard University graduate, children’s book illustrator, and former elementary school art teacher envisions for the residency. “I want it to be meaningful. I see children and students here. It is a place where I can share my love of reading aloud. It’s a welcoming place. In the same vein I was welcomed here.”

“I have two ways to speak: singing or drawing/painting.”  As a gospel singer, Williams has toured with Richard Smallwood and Vision and the Black church figures prominently in her work. Having painted for 25 years, Williams wrestled with having enough creative confidence to think her paintings worthy of display. That all changed when she came to an Art of Business event at PGAAMCC. The exhibition Catharsis: Spirit Leaves a Mark, running through the Fall at PGAAMCC, features her vibrant work in all its glory: Black women, Black church, music, and African symbols. “The opening of Catharsis was really special. Prince George’s County is home to some really great, alive, contributing people,” says Williams before she names some of the Prince George’s County residents who attended the opening, including composer and pianist Richard Smallwood, piano manufacturer Warren Shadd, music director Vince Evans, and songwriter Raymond Reeder.

Of PGAAMCC, Williams is clear – “I felt at home immediately. I am determined that people know it's here. I want it to be a place where people know doors are open to listen, create, study. It is my hope that it becomes a home for other people. I want the next artist to know if you are a resident, native of Prince George’s County, we want to see you or hear from you.”

 

Catharsis: Spirit Leaves a Mark on view through Fall 2019 at PGAAMCC.


PGAAMCC Welcomes New Cultural Ambassador Vance “Head-Roc” Levy

PGAAMCC Welcomes New Cultural Ambassador Vance “Head-Roc” Levy

Article by Khadija Pounsel

“Our lives have value,” says Vance “Head-Roc” Levy on a hot and humid August day in North Brentwood, MD. The genre-crossing 20-year music veteran with his entrepreneurial approach (he executive produced all 6 of his solo albums) who continues to work with his critically acclaimed award-winning funk/rock/soul band GODISHEUS (gotta-see-us) has stepped into a new role −  Cultural Ambassador for Prince George’s African American Museum and Cultural Center (PGAAMCC) in North Brentwood, MD.

Head-Roc speaks warmly of his ties to Prince George’s County: his family was a part of the exodus of African Americans who moved from Washington, DC to Prince George’s County in the early 1980s; he attended Prince George’s County schools, and has lived in Hillcrest Heights, Marlow Heights and Temple Hills. “I began to understand and connect the national significance of local Black history, anchored on our educational development, with much happening along the Route 1 Corridor. Included in that education is learning that PGAAMCC’s existence was championed by the late Honorable Gwendolyn Britt,” the mother of his fellow Infinite Loop member John Britt.

Inspired by the work of the late senator, “The Route 1 Corridor is where I’ve been led to be active in my arts and social engagement pursuits. I have been meditating on a way to become more involved along the Gateway Arts District,” says the Crossland High School graduate. “I even share the same barber with some proud and involved citizens of North Brentwood – often engaging them in discussions on how to create/attract more attention to the cultural corridor and business that will benefit the community.”

As PGAAMCC kicks off a 10th anniversary campaign, Vance is joining the momentum to launch a new cultural offering - Underground Railroad: Bazaar Under the Stars. The endeavor he is spearheading will bring a festive spirit of shopping, celebration and diaspora vibes, featuring a curated selection of vendors, food, and crafts in the museum’s outdoor pavilion (3rd Fridays throughout the fall 2019). The event name nods to Route 1 as a historic North/South route pathway and to the railroad that runs just behind the museum. Underground Railroad: Bazaar Under the Stars Designed to be a vibrant and lively destination where people can pick up a bite to eat, enjoy a bit of retail therapy, and jump start the weekend with neighbors, future friends and fellow County residents. Most importantly the event will feature a ‘community spotlight’, with neighborhood living legends and local icons, nominated by their community, being honored for their contributions. “I am optimistic and dedicated to the work necessary that will attract an increased and sustained interest in the cultural and artistic excellence of Black Americans with roots and of contribution to Prince George’s County, Maryland.”

 

For more information on upcoming PGAAMCC 10th anniversary

www.pgaamcc.org/10th

 


Juneteenth More than A Month Festival! Thank you for supporting PGAAMCC!

Over the course of our 4 day innaugural #MoreThanAMonth Juneteenth festival, approximately 1000 people joined in the festivities as our grassroots outreach grows and cultural programming expands. Thank you for choosing to celebrate Juneteenth with PGAAMCC. In the footsteps of our great heroes that paved the way we honored their legacy and dedication to uplifting our Black communities. We sang, we danced, we cried, we uplifted and we shared. We are 'A Home for Black Excellence'. Our More Than a Month Festival highlighted the brilliance, talent and creativity of our African American community in Prince George's County and the DMV. Special thanks to our program partners; Jess Be Creative, Creators Coallition, Onustees, participating artists, and our vendors. See more pictures here.

UStreet to the Cotton Club x Black Culture Panel Discussion

We brought the U Street to the Cotton Cub to Prince George’s County. Local talents, Krislynn Perry, Nigel Rowe and Reenie Codelka on piano played hit tunes, such as: Minnie The Moocher, I've Got The World on A String, Stormy Weather, Ain't Misbehavin' & More!

We also enjoyed a panel discussion on the importance of Black holidays and Black traditions, Black education and its connection to our tradition, history, and liberation, educational equity in schools. The ‘For the Culture’ conversation moderated by Tamara Jade with Andre Taylor, Elena Branker, Jahari Shelton, Marcus Cook, Jessica Randolph, Billy Sanders & Tony Keith.

The Observable Universe

Our Observable Universe panel discussion, moderated by Sinatra Smith, was an intimate conversation about time travel, returning to the motherland and Black music as a connective force across time and space. In this disucssion we collectively illustrated an alternate universe, how we would function, what parts of our culture we would bring, which parts would be left out, and why.

We also enjoyed the DMV Youth Art Pop Up gallery 'Voices' with EYL 365 Project teaching artists, students and collaborative projects. ‘Voices’ displayed work from “Enjoy Your Life” (EYL) 365, a grass-roots art project whose mission is to engage youth by exploring the creative process as they grow to understand society, their roles within it, and their capacity to change society through civic youth engagement, advocacy and arts initiatives. The artwork centered on mental health, community, social, and economic empowerment and self reflection.

Summer Solstice Fashion Show

Thursday was a day of Black beauty, creativity and expression.  Our fashion show featured artist Quest Skinner who brought vibrant, colorful, decadent, and transformative designs to PGAMCC. Her style is “influenced by seeing ourselves as a full spectrum of colors, shapes, and spirits. The clothing collection is West African, Apache, and modern infused fabrics with lines that flatter all shapes and sizes”.

We were so happy to have dancers in our space. We enjoyed a performance by Alexis Miller with dancers Faith Kelly, Jasmine Ventura, and Marya Wallace from Dance Institute of Washington. They performed to a song remixed to Maya Angelou’s Ain’t I A Woman that empowered our audience’s.

Block Party

Photos by: Rodney Norman of @laphoric

Our culminating event was our Block Party. Program partners Onustees, Jess Be Creative and Creators Coalition brought dynamic performances and panelists to our space. We had workshops and incredible vendors. PGAAMCC was buzzing with activity. Inside our gallery we had a pop-up exhibition by EYL 365 and our Community Treasure Chest. Community Treasure Chest will continue all summer, register HERE. Outside we had fun for all ages with a Dino sprinkler, jump ropes, double dutch, sidewalk chalk, bouncing balls, face painting and the I'm Bookd Box mobile book store. We were so honored to close out the day with a special performance by Mosaic Theater Singers hailing from Detroit Michigan. They graced our space with vibrant songs of Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, gospel, African hymns and hit music from every genre influenced by the African Diaspora. Black History and culture never looked so good at PGAAMCC.

Thank you so much for being a supporter. We are excited to bring more dynamic programming to Prince George's County, illuminate, inspire and empower audiences. Stay tuned for more!

We want to hear your ideas as we work to constantly shape the museum to meet your needs and interests. We are 'A Home for Black Excellence' and your feedback is welcomed. This survey will take approximately 5 minutes.

Click here to take the survey!

 


Do More 24! May 22-23rd 24-Hour Fundraiser for Community Treasure Chest Initiative

DONATE TODAY

Do More 24 Fundraiser for ‘Community Treasure Chest Oral Histories Initiative’

North Brentwood, MD (May 22, 2019) -  Wednesday, May 22-23rd Prince George’s African American Museum and Cultural Center (PGAAMCC) is asking for your generous support. Do More 24 is the DMV's largest annual 24-hour online fundraiser to donate to charities and contribute to communities. Our goal is to raise $4519 by May 24th and we need your help! Make a donation to PGAAMCC today to help us continue preserving the rich history and culture in Prince George's County through our Community Treasure Chest Oral Histories Initiative.

 

We are launching Community Treasure Chest initiative to highlight the rich undiscovered history in our backyards. In an effort to use our momentum to support our mission, this initiative will allow residents to explore their own shared histories and increase the Museum’s community engagement. Community Treasure Chest creates an opportunity for senior citizens to honor their family heirlooms and share the accompanying oral histories. PGAAMCC will host these Antique Roadshow styled events at malls, senior centers, and other community spaces so that residents can bring their personal objects to be recorded and preserved, and possibly archived. Participant will have the opportunity to tour the museum’s archives and artifacts.

 

It is our mission to preserve the local histories of the families that have lived and contributed to the Prince George’s County community. The oral histories are an opportunity to document individual and collective histories and inspire innovative ways to highlight and honor the joy, resilience, and triumph of African Americans in Prince George’s County. This initiative is the first step in digitizing and expanding our permanent archival collection.

 

Through the Do More 24 Campaign we are asking supporters to donate to our mission, our work and our commitment to the African American community in Prince George’s County.

 

We want to hear YOUR stories and uncover hidden histories. How did your family come to settle here? What treasures did they leave? Share them with us!

Community Treasure Chest will occur in the following towns throughout the County: North Brentwood, Glenarden, Beltsville, Landover, Fairmount Heights, Greenbelt, Bowie, Upper Marlboro, Suitland, Accokeek, Oxon Hill, Brandywine, Aquasco, and Eagle Harbor.

 

Prince George’s African American Museum and Cultural Center is a rich and celebrated treasure of the Gateway Arts District and model for cultural origination, brining attention, prestige, and business development to the local North Brentwood, Prince George’s County Community. Through public events and exhibitions PGAAMCC explores the Black experience within a variety of contexts – history, arts and culture, ethnicity, religion, spirituality, faith, folk tradition and customs. We appreciate your support during this pivotal point of the Museum’s success.

 

The Prince George’s African American Museum and Cultural Center is recognized nationally and internationally for its innovative approach to the documentation, interpretation, preservation, and presentation of local and regional African American history, art, and culture. PGAAMCC is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10am-5pm.  Admission to the museum is free. For more information, call (301) 809-0440, email programs@pgaamcc.org, or visit the Museum’s website at www.pgaamcc.org.

 

DONATE TODAY


PG Power Moves! Press Release

PG Power Moves!

Event Date: Friday, March 22, 2019 / 5:30-8:30-pm
Location: 4519 Rhode Island Ave. North Brentwood, MD 20722
Website: pgaamcc.org/supportus

On March 22, 2019, PGAAMCC launched its first PG Power Moves! Program, honoring Pastor Omo Ghandi-Olaoye of Jesus House DC. In celebration of Women’s History Month, Pastor Omo was the recipient of a PG Power Mover Award, for her dedication to serving women as the founder of Jesus House Women’s Ministries of Jesus House DC. Pastor Omo’s ministry addresses pertinent issues of womanhood from birth to old age and their outreach provides services and resources for over 5,000 women locally. Pastor Omo was given a certificate, an original piece of art by Quest Skinner, and a space grant to host a community event for her ministry. A local DJ provided entertainment for the evening and PGAAMCC’s galleries were filled with over 55 guests from the Jesus House DC congregation and neighboring communities. For many, it was their first time entering our space. The PGAAMCC staff were welcoming and visitors meandered through the space observing the contemporary art and historical archives. Pastor Omo arrived to music, a red carpet, and a cameraman. The staff made collages of Pastor Omo, her family, and the congregation, with the goal of ensuring she felt honored and the members of her ministry welcomed her with dance.

All enjoyed the space, and took time indulging the artwork talking, and communing with one another. In addition to the two art exhibitions: Protest Garden and Soul Illuminance: A Retrospective of Quest Skinner, the night highlighted artist Kayode Malomo. Over a dozen of his pieces were on display, decorating the main convening gallery. art appreciation and art patronage is part of the unique value proposition of PG Power Moves and all are encourage to buy, behold and celebrate the featured artist works on display in our silent auction.

After Executive Director, Monica O. Montgomery offered a warm welcome, Pastor Omo Ghandi-Olaoye gave a keynote speech describing her dedication to women and the extensive ways she serves and centers women in the local community. The environment was electric. Volunteers connected with guests at the membership table and guests stopped to pick up fliers and hear more about our upcoming programming. This event was a beautiful way to honor Pastor Omo and welcome the congregation of Jesus House DC to PGAAMCC. Thanks to all who came to support and honor Pastor Omo Ghandi-Olaoye’s community impact.


HEALING | MINDFULNESS | JOY | JUSTICE

 

Through song and storytelling Dr. Michelle Chatman takes us on an ancestral journey and shares her practices in mindfulness. DC born and Prince George’s County resident, Chatman has ventured to Gambia, West Africa where her contemplative work has inspired practice of present-moment, non-judgmental awareness, and promotion of overall well-being. African descendants have long held mindful cultural practices to sustain us through challenges and triumph. She brings to light the daily practices and routines that could enhance the way we interact and excel in every-day life. Her song and stories captivate the spirit of West Africa and a transformative journey in mindfulness.

Click here to watch Chatman’s performance.

“I visited The Gambia, West Africa, for the first time in my mid-twenties while in college. I had only been on a plane once and had never traveled outside of the US. A self-proclaimed Pan Africanist, I couldn’t wait to go back to “The Motherland” and reclaim my ancestral heritage while working with youth and schools throughout the country. The six-week trip was deeply transformative. I was able to witness the majestic beauty along with the painful inequity of that country. I still speak of the experience as if it were yesterday. I began to learn how to really listen, still myself, and embrace the living all around me. I’ve been back to The Gambia several times since that initial visit and in other ways, have deepened my connection to the Motherland. At 30 years old, I was initiated into a West African priesthood whose teachings are a major part of my life. In this presentation, I will share insights from my “African journeys” and how they have liberated my being and brought me home.”

 

This Easter Sunday 2-5pm Scholar, Anthropologist, Researcher, and Professor, Michelle Chatman Ph.D. will explore Black Mindfulness: Cultural Practices for Healing, Joy, and Justice. In this experiential lecture, Dr. Michelle Chatman will share stories, songs, and the science of mindfulness; inviting us to return to the wisdom long held by our elders and ancestors.

 

Come break bread with us. Buy one ticket and bring a friend for FREE!


Holiday Party Celebrates Black History

The Prince George's Sentinel highlights the importance of PGAAMCC community impact at the annual 2018 Holiday Party. Featuring some very talented artists including poetry performances by Patrick Washington, Prince George's County Youth Poet Laureate Michaela Lacy, vocalist Tamara Jade, and special guest author Theresa Gibson. The story includes quotes from our new Executive Director Mrs. Monica O. Montgomery, who shared the Creative Expansion Plan for 2019. Read full article here.


Continue to Share Our Stories: Support Us Today

We see you and want to thank you for your continued support and active participation this year. This year has been full of exciting programs and exhibitions that we hope you have enjoyed. As we prepare ourselves for the new year we want to make sure we can count on your participation and support for another year. We are asking our members to give a little more!

How can you participate?
We want to hear from you, let us know how we can better serve you and continue growing our strong community base.

How can you support?
We have 270 members to date. If each member gave a donation of $50 we would be able to reach our goal this year.

There are only 2 months left to reach our goal! I hope you will make a gift to PGAAMCC today to help us educate our community about the rich history and culture in Prince George’s County.

Your support will allow us to continue offering free education and outreach programs, including:

  • Our Cultural Education Passport Program that helps provide a fuller, more complex narrative and images about the African American experience and community for children and youth.
  • Art & History Exhibitions tell the stories of the diverse experiences of the County’s African American communities and aim to reflect the broad spectrum of social and cultural activities.
  • Special Programs bring together diverse groups of people to create new approaches to cultural understanding.
  • General Operations support our staff and administrative success.

You can make the difference for so many influential teachers, artists, and thousands of students. Please make your gift today!

Thank you,

-PGAAMCC Staff

For any questions about the Community Investment Tax Credit Program please reach out to
Zena Wubneh at zwubneh@pgaamcc.org


PGAAMCC on NBC4: The Importance of Black Art

NBC News4's Molette Green spoke with local artists from our current exhibition, Preston Sampson,  Chanel Compton, PGAAMCC board member  and Executive Director of the Banneker-Douglass Museum and Will Watson, an MFA candidate from the Maryland Institute College of Art to discuss the importance of black

art.https://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/News4-Your-Sunday-The-Importance-of-Black-Art_Washington-DC-477850103.html


Washington CityPaper: 'A Museum Goes Beyond Its Walls to Teach Prince George’s County’s Rich History'

PGAAMCC was featured in Washington CityPaper, article by Laura Irene.

Through its education efforts and programming, the Prince George’s African American Museum and Cultural Center strives to be a pillar in its community.