“What We Do Today is History Tomorrow” Networking

"Art is Business"

March in the San Joaquin Valley has been an awesome experience, and the women artists I have visited in their studios, galleries, and/or museums have been a soul experience. V. Gregory Melancon, Executive Director of the African American Historical and Cultural Museum of the San Joaquin Valley, paid homage to Women in Fresno, California, by featuring the artworks of Julia Brown and the AFRO Awards this March.

I curated the State Community College District “Wall of Honor” – dedication 2012 Inductee Ceroasetta Simba- nearly 50 attendees applauded the work of the Fresno City College English Professor as her photo was added to the Wall of Honor for her outstanding achievements. The Wall of Honor is sponsored by the State Center Community College District. Inductees have either attended or worked for the State Center Community College District, including Reedley CollegeMadera, Oakhurst, and Willow International Centers.

Featured Artist: Mrs. Julia Brown, of Fresno, California, Links CA opening reception-Eighty-Two (82), her first exhibition I was honored to curate, this week Mrs. Brown and I will be meeting for lunch, where I will be able to record a more in-depth interview of her commentary as an artist, and collector. Mrs. Julia Brown was also honored during the A.F.R.O. Awards “Aspiring Females Reaching Others was held on March 15th, 2012. Honoring women who give back to their communities, this was the second award ceremony, and plans for it to be an annual event are in the making.

On the road- this past weekend, touring Sacramento’s African-American Art and Culture-

As the Director of Research and Development, I made the recommendation for V. Gregory and Shonna McDaniel’s (Executive Director of Sojourner Truth Multicultural Art Museum) to attend the Creating and Funding Preservation Projects to Enhance Collection Care on March 23rdin, in Sacramento. This project is funded by the IMLS- (Institute of Museums and Library Services), both museums operate in the San Joaquin Valley and are relatively new to museum practice; neither museum has a preservation or disaster preparedness and response plan for their museums. It is important also to position each organization to join other organizations through partnerships, collaborations, and sharing of exhibitions. To also join and participate in the discussion on a state and national level. The California Association of Museums and the American Association offer workshops and professional development opportunities for museum stewards.

The first stop on our tour was Friday night; we visited SojournerTruth MulticulturalArt Museum, and took a mural tour of the collection at the Florin Road Business Incubator, where SOJO is housed. Shonna has outgrown her space and is seeking a building; she is working on partnering with the Sacramento Unified School District and Regional Occupation Training to open a space for arts education in South Sacramento that would offer: Theater, Dance, Music, Mural Studio, gallery exhibition space, and home to her museum archives. Which is ambitious, but she is being supported by many people who respect and honor her contribution to the arts in Sacramento. She is one of the few art organizations that outreach to the schools and has partnered with Libraries to bring programming in City, State, and Government budget cuts.

African Royalty & Mudcloth Madness

March 5-April 17, 2011

African Royalty is an exhibition of original watercolors by featured artist Mary Marshall (1934-2007).
Mudcloth Madness is a contemporary art exhibit using ancient African fabric as an inspiration tool to create.

On Saturday, we visited the KUUMBA COLLECTIVE Art Gallery & Gift Shop on Del Paso Blvd. “Mud Cloth Madness,” organized by the Kuumba Collective and presented by the Crocker Art Museum, explores how mud cloth, a hand-woven and hand-dyed textile developed by the Bande people of Mali, West Africa, has inspired local artists in an array of mediums. From wearable art to quilts to decorative arts, Mud Cloth Madness offers a contemporary twist on a traditional symbol of African culture.

The exhibition will open at the African American Museum and Library of Oakland. The Sacramento African American Art Collective would like to extend an invitation for you to attend the second "Family And Those we Love" event to be held on Sunday, March 25, 2012, from 3:00PM-6:00PM hosted by: Kuumba Art Collective Art Gallery, located at 1001 Del Paso Blvd. Ste. 1., Sacramento, CA 95815. So come out and meet and greet the artists who participated in the First "Family and Those We Love" Art Event at the State Capital from February 20 - March 1, 2012. It is SAAAC's sincere hope that you will be able to attend this exciting event. The African American Museum and Library at Oakland is dedicated to discovering, preserving, interpreting, and sharing African Americans' historical and cultural experiences in California and the West for present and future generations.

Iris Tea Garden Gifts, Fine Teas and Tea Accessories, Iris J. Dimond, was our host. She has a wonderful collection of teapots, and tea accessories, amongst hand-crafted ceramics. She is also an adjunct professor of ceramics at Consumers River College.

The Brickhouse Gallery & Arts Complex has new management with an off-the-grid
approach to the arts. The streamlined and uncluttered venue has a rustic charm that will
focus on the work of established and promising new artists in Northern California.

The Brick House Art Studio, In the 1930s, Charles D. Soracco acquired property at the corner of 36th street, 4th Avenue, and Broadway. It had a number of existing commercial structures on it, which were incorporated into Soracco Sheet Metal. There Mr. Soracco fabricated gutters, downspouts, sinks, and HVAC ductwork. He built the brick house and shop building and lived with his family adjacent to this work. His family continued the business until 2002.  Upcoming events, Open MIC, presented by Blacktasitic.net, is the kick-off for National Poetry Month in April. The promoters hope to cross the pollinate in Fresno with the AAHCM.

The Evolve Gallery is new to the landscape of Oak Park, owned by Brady Charles Blakeley and his wife, A. Michelle Blakeley. Evolve The Gallery- presented The Charles Bibbs Experience in March, and in January, presented Ali: The Greatest A fine Art Tribute to Muhammad Ali. In our conversation, the AAHCM will submit a proposal to host the traveling exhibition this Fall of 2012.

Evolve the Gallery is a private fine art gallery redefining the role a gallery plays in broadening the art experience for patrons and the community.
“It only takes a moment to understand how pivotally art is linked to culture, learning, community, or conflict. As the art world continues to evolve, art increases its capacity to educate, open dialogue, be therapeutic and enhance environments. Art transcends political, ethnic, gender, and religious boundaries and penetrates cultures in a non-intrusive or aggressive way, which gives it the power to break down boundaries and strengthen intercultural understanding. Our exhibitions are smart, creative, poignant and meant to give way to valuable dialogues, collaborations and cultural development that might not otherwise take place.”     A. Michelle Blakeley

Historic Oak Park, Central Oak Park Walking Tour
Women Civic’s Improvement Club
OakPark Community Center
McClatchy Park
McGeorge Law School
OakPark Soul Food Restaurant– Obama Campaign Headquarters

The African American Historical and Cultural Museum of the San Joaquin Valley was founded in 1986 by retired Fresno City police officer sergeant Jack Kelley. It is the only non-profit educational facility of its kind. The museum houses hundreds of historical photographs, artifacts, am memorabilia dating back to the 1880s, which documents the numerous contributions of local African Americans to the San Joaquin Valley, America, and Internationally. Pictorial exhibits profiling African-Americans who have excelled in government, politics, art, education, religion, health, business, law, medicine, sports, agriculture, and the work of local African American artists are prominently displayed for educational tours.

The museum is located at 1857 Fulton Street, Fresno, for more information: 559-268-7102.