March has been a VERY busy time. This past week I presented the “Marian Anderson” performance (I wrote and directed) at the Waxter Center and it went over like gangbusters.
Laura Sligh was Marian, accompanied by (once again!) Chris Henry (my super-duper deluxe piano player from the Welch Library.)
Not the best pics — but the performance by Laura (standing & sitting) was ASTOUNDING. She did six (count ’em, 6) song by Marian, and the script had a few amusing moments. It focused on the denial by the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) of Marian’s request to sing at Constitution Hall. It created quite a brou-haha, at the time. And brought all sorts of allies (Eleanor Roosevelt, Walter White, Howard University) to Marian’s side. Marian’s life as a trailblazer was so amazing that, as I told the audience in post-performance comments, “tribute must be paid”. Not surprisingly a few “Amens” accompanied my comment.
Less than an hour later I was at a Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance Brown Bag Lunch, one of three panelists, who talked about Arts and Healing. More than a few sparks flew at this event, because, in more than a few cases — someone in the audience and on the panel, had experience dealing with an extreme personal loss. There were a few tears shed as people shared remembrances. The conversation on how the arts attempts to “rescue” (my words) those who’ve suffered was, in fact, a very
healing process, in and of itself. I heard someone relate how they’d recently listened to a monologue by a girl who’d been abducted into the slave trade, and that sparked something in me. I want to get involved with that. I can only imagine how it must feel to reflect on that — writing something that gives a glimpse into that fascinates me to no end. There were many art therapists who came, and I of course relayed my personal loss (son Charles) and my work with the Telling Project. I give great thanks to
Jeannie Howe, Director of GBCA (and recently appointed Secretary of the recently revived Callaway Garrison Improvement Association, CGIA — Yours Truly is President) for the for the invite.
A couple days later I was a member of the NEW DAY CAMPAIGN planning session, hosted and founded by Peter Bruun. One of Peter’s assistants worked on this drawing, that actually outlines the goals we’re hoping to achieve, during the entire two hour meeting. The campaign breaks down how — starting in the fall — we’re concentrating on Performance/Sharing/Readings/Exhibits/Speakers to bring attention to how the various artistic expressions work to challenge stigma associated with existing behavioral conditions.
Again, more exciting stuff that I can’t wait to get started on — AFTER I’VE SPENT THIS SUMMER DOING SOME SERIOUS BIKE RIDING. Last summer I was consumed with “Telling,” and didn’t have time to smell the roses on two wheels. This summer will be different. Especially since this past winter it was so ARCTIC that I couldn’t do that riding I wanted. This summer it’s, as they say, “not going down like that”.