Monday, February 29, 2016

Happy 31st (or 124th) Birthday Augusta Savage!

Augusta Savage, a Leap Year baby, was one of the most influential figures in the Harlem Renaissance era.
I found more information on Augusta Savage ever believed possible. The extent of insatiable knowledge still has yet to fulfill craving to learn extent of what can be true satisfaction. A void still sits, waiting.
Schomburg Center research stretched out my lids and sockets. Filled my heart and mind with impressive events making up Augusta's tragic history. Apparently not only are most of Augusta's sculptures housed in the center's distinguished collection, she has kept a scrapbook-- a scrapbook! I cannot wait to see her writings, her rare, candid photographs. To think, all of this time, Google, the brick wall end. It's beyond usual scoping, beyond traditional art history books always filled with missing anecdotes one doesn't realize is needed.
I created an installation that opened today called Augusta Savage's 31st (or 124th Who's Really Counting) Birthday Party and runs to next Wednesday.  It is purely conceptual celebration comprised of typewritten biographical text on drawing paper, Pan-African ribbon colors attached to miniature pale and brown clothespins, and small red balloons.
Wonderfully engaging, gratifying discussions with surprise visitors and fellow friends who bore seeds growing in thought process this afternoon. Thank you to everyone who came and will come inside the party to learn about Augusta Savage, right on this final day of Black History Month and on the eve of Women's History Month.....

It was very quiet vigil as students and faculty ushered into the space, reading lines and blocks of text.
The ribbon at times hid text, making viewers interact if inkling curiosity became too great.
Awed joy upon witnessing individuals move along the timeline, finishing the unfinished narrative.

After two straight years of putting up with my constant writing desires, the borrowed typewriter friend decided to take immediate hiatus right at the tale end of Augusta's life. The plan is to purchase new ink cartridge and write more and more. Augusta's story is far from finished here.
Lift Every Voice and Sing, otherwise known as the National Black Anthem and the bust of James Weldon Johnson, writer of the song written as poetry, inspired Augusta and was in turn inspired by her.
Top 7 Augusta Savage New Discoveries:

1.) Augusta is accepted over 142 other girls at Cooper Union. She completes the four-year program in three years.
2.) She received a Julius Rosenwald Fellowship to study in France for two years and then received a grant by the Carnegie Foundation to travel to Belgium and Germany for an additional eight months.
3.) She studied at The Académie de la Grande Chaumière, showcased at the Salon d'Automne, two Salons, and often received high honorable praises.
4.) She has shown her work alongside Henry Ossawa Tanner and Meta Warrick Fuller twice.
5.) August Rodin, Solon Borglum (Art Academy of Cincinnati alum!), and Charles Despiau (to whom she studied with in France) admired her talent.
6.) Having always had a natural inclination to teach art, she started her own school, Savage School of Arts and Crafts in Harlem, with her own funds. Eventually Carnegie Foundation and WPA aide in her endeavors. She cared a lot about her students, getting them into shows and exhibits, especially abstract painters Norman Lewis and Gwendolyn Knight (soon-to-be Jacob Lawrence's wife), and incredible draftsman, Ernest Crichlow.
7.) She is the first black woman to be elected in the National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors.

What an amazing human, an excellent artist and a profoundly progressive spirit!
Augusta Savage is the definition of a true heroine. Gone but never ever forgotten. 

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