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Romare Bearden Beat of a Different Drum Exhibit

“As a featured event of the Romare Bearden: Beat of a Different Drum exhibition, the Arts Council will host a discussion on collecting African-American art. Learn the in’s and out’s of “collecting Black art” – from getting started to designing a collection that has meaning for the collector. This program will feature distinguished panelists Jerald L. Melberg, of the Jerald Melberg Gallery, and artist and Fayetteville State University professor Dwight Smith. The event will be facilitated by Calvin Mims. (This event has been rescheduled for February 20, from the original date of January 23, due to inclement weather.)”


Watercolors from noted artist Romare Bearden’s only published children’s book Li’l  Dan, The Drummer Boy: A Civil War Story are a featured component of the next show at the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County.  The exhibition includes 26 original watercolors from the book and text panels with audio narration by Maya Angelou.

Li’l  Dan, the Drummer Boy: A Civil War Story was published posthumously in September of 2003. The book tells the story of Li’l Dan, a slave on a Southern plantation. He loves to play his drum. When a company of Union soldiers announces the slaves have been set free, Dan has no place to go, so he follows the soldiers, who make him their mascot. When Confederate soldiers attack, Dan discovers that he is the only one that can save his friends.

The free exhibition is open from January 22 through March 5, 2016  during regular gallery hours. An array of dynamic programming is planned around this exhibit, including a lecture by Diedra Harris-Kelly, Co-Director of the Romare Bearden Foundation in New York City, performance of an original play entitled The Color of Courage, lectures and music programs from the Fayetteville State University Fine Arts Department and a drum workshop for youth. Several historical components will be included in the display, including an original Civil War drum, a reproduction Union Soldier’s Uniform, a southern Civil War-era female outfit, a bayonet and an original painting of the Fayetteville arsenal before it was destroyed in 1865.

“This exhibition and related programming offers a fitting celebration of  an artist hailed as one of the most creative and original visual artists of the twentieth century, Romare Bearden,” says Mary Kinney, Director of Marketing at the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County. “Additionally, we’re proud that the exhibit ties together many cultural components – Civil War and African-American history, visual arts and theater.”

Martin Luther King, Jr. Worship Service

Martin Luther King, Jr. Worship Service, Sunday, Jan. 17, 6 p.m., Mount Zion Baptist Church,  47 Eagle St., Asheville

The Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance of Asheville and Buncombe County will host its annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Worship Service Sunday. The event will feature guest minister William Dwight McKissic, senior pastor at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas. The Rev. Keith Ogden of Hill Street Baptist Church and the Rev. John H. Grant of Mount Zion Baptist Church will also speak. The service begins at 6 p.m. at Mount Zion.

The 35th Annual Prayer Breakfast

The MLK Association of Asheville and Buncombe County will observe the 35th annual Prayer Breakfast Saturday with a gala celebration at the Crowne Plaza Resort Conference Center at 8:30 a.m. Asheville native Rodney Johnson, a retired college basketball coach, will be the keynote speaker. Advance tickets are no longer available, however some will be available at the door on a first-come, first-serve basis. Tickets are $30 each.

Tour the Cumberland County African-American Heritage Trail

The Cumberland County’s African-American Heritage Trail provides a historical glimpse into the lives of African-Americans who resided in Cumberland County from the Revolutionary War era through the early 20th century.


Vandorn Hinnant: Explorer of Form and the Beauty of Number

A solo exhibition that features 55 original works of art created by Vandon Hinnant between 1989 and 2014.

Vandorn Hinnant is painter, sculptor, poet, and educational consultant who resides in Durham, NC. He received a BA in Art Design from North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro NC, and studied sculpture at UNC-Greensboro. His works of art are in private collections in Africa, North America, and Europe, and in public collections across North America.

He leads hands-on experiential workshops on “The Geometry of Art and Life” for learners of all ages. He is co-author (with Robert L. Powell, Sr and Jr) of the book: “The Rest Of Euclid“; a definitive treatise on the long overlooked implications of proposition one in Volume One of “Euclid’s Elements“.

He has served as guest curator of exhibitions, as juror of many fine art competitions, and guest lectured at colleges and universities. He serves as an independent  arts educational consultant working with both youth and adult learners. Currently the artist is developing sculpture maquettes (models) to be fabricated into permanent materials.

Romare Bearden Park — Charlotte, NC

In honor of Black History Month in North Carolina, I’m going to kick things off with Romare Bearden Park located in Uptown Charlotte. (Not to worry, Handmade NC will be sharing more about the life and works of Mr. Bearden later this month.) This 5.4 acre public park is named in honor of Charlotte born artist, Romare Bearden, and opened August 2013.

When life has been hectic, Bearden park is a spot I find myself at time and time again. Always changing, I like sit and study the sections while I host an internal debate on which pieces of Bearden’s work are represented in different sections as I stroll or sit on one of the many benches available to visitors. My husband works one block away from this gorgeous spot and it is one of our favorite meeting places for lunch.

Bearden was born in 1911 in his great-grandparents’ house at the corner of Second (now MLK Jr. Boulevard.) and Graham Street in Uptown, a short walk from his namesake park which is based on Bearden’s collages and paintings, a creative music “playground” and a colorful waterfall that has become a popular photo backdrop. Plants and flowers were planned to bring to life the work of Bearden through nature. Among the lush landscaping, you find fitness classes, impromptu jam sessions from local musicians, workday lunch breaks, romantic strolls, planned festivals, and inspiration.

“The park design is based on the work of public artist Norie Sato. Her concepts were inspired by Bearden’s multimedia collages where he used memory, experiences and tradition as the basis of his work. For example, the main pathway that bisects the park from Church Street to the main plaza of the future Charlotte Knights Ballpark is named the Evocative Spine, named as such to represent the way Bearden created his work by ‘evoking’ his childhood memories. Two other features of the park, Madeline’s and Maudell’s gardens, represent how Bearden used the memory of the beautiful garden’s kept by his mother and grandmother to inspire his art.” – Charlotte Center City Partners

Evoking Bearden and his use of memory as triggers for past experience, the elements of the park represents how he worked and the imagery he used to channel the spirit of his life and artwork.

To learn more about Romare Bearden Park and the concepts behind it’s development, please visit the Bearden Foundation.


Romare Bearden Park is located at 300 S. Church Street, Charlotte, NC.

Many thanks to James Willamor, founder of Croquet Records, a nonprofit record label and songwriter incubator focused on developing and recording new and emerging artists in North Carolina, for the stunning images of Romare Bearden Park used in this post.