The African American Cultural Committee is a group of dedicated artists, community leaders, and volunteers who are engaged in the life of the Montclair Art Museum. Our mission is to sustain and maintain the legacy of artists of the African Diaspora. In its advocacy role, the AACC is a bridge between the Museum and various communities by forging meaningful connections through outreach and programs, shared values and vision on a local and international level.
William W. May
Thursday, February 2, 7 p.m.
Photo Biographies: Telling Our Story
Free First Thursday Night
The Museum’s African American Cultural Committee hosted a discussion, “Photo Biographies: Telling Our Story.” They viewed early photographs of African American individuals who were part of the Great Migration and heard from their descendants in a dynamic panel discussion. The Great Migration began around 1916 as African Americans moved north to take advantage of higher wages and better living conditions, but many found jobs in factories, slaughterhouses, and foundries, where the work was grueling and often dangerous. “It’s an American question and we can only answer partially. Engagement and investigation in celebration of Black history was in part the quest of the iconic American question, ‘Where are your people from?’ This exercise is part of the answer,” said panelist Shirley A. R. Lewis, PhD. This program is a partnership with the Montclair YMCA.
Thursday, February 9, 7 p.m.
10th Annual AACC Film Forum: Step by Step, The Story of Harlem Prep
FREE; RSVP harlemprepmam.eventbrite.com
The Montclair Art Museum’s African American Cultural Committee (AACC) Film Forum celebrated the 50th Anniversary of The Harlem Preparatory School, or “Harlem Prep,” with a screening of the documentary “Step by Step” and panel discussion including the founders’ daughter Casey Carpenter. Started in 1967, Harlem Prep was a pioneering experiment intended to turn high school dropouts into college graduates. The only high school in Central Harlem at the time, the school’s constant financial struggles and diverse population did not hinder it. “Step by Step” chronicles the teaching methods and unique culture that enabled the school to wildly exceed its goals, graduating 1,170 students in seven years.
Noise/Funk—20 Years Later
A Conversation with Savion Glover and Reg E. Gaines
Thursday, October 20, 7 p.m.
More than 250 guests joined MAM for this sold out conversation with Savion Glover and Reg E. Gaines! We flashed back to 1995, when Bring in ‘Da Noise Bring in ‘Da Funk was winning Tony Awards and mesmerizing audiences, showcasing its original blend of dance/music/poetry. With an all-Black Creative Team and Black producer, Noise/Funk probably had more freedom to tell a genuinely Black story than any musical in Broadway history. Two of the show collaborators, Tap Dancer/Choreographer Savion Glover and poet Reg E. Gaines, took a look back at Noise/Funk, and opened up the floor for discussion about their journeys thus far. This event was sponsored by MAM’s African American Cultural Committee (AACC).
30th Annual Julia Norton Babson Memorial Lecture
Janet Taylor Pickett: The Matisse Series
A Private Conversation Made Public
Artist Janet Taylor Pickett, MAM’s chief curator Gail Stavitsky, and independent curator Kathy Imlay of Imlay Gallery discussed Janet’s unique fusion of imagery, process, and inspiration in her current MAM exhibition, Janet Taylor Pickett: The Matisse Series. A reception with the artist followed the conversation, hosted by MAM's African American Cultural Committee.
AACC Trip to Procession: The Art of Norman Lewis
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts
The AACC toured Procession: The Art of Norman Lewis at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. This exhibition is the first comprehensive museum overview of Norman Lewis: a pivotal figure in American art, a participant in the Harlem art community, an innovator of Abstract Expressionism, and a politically-conscious activist.
9th Annual Montclair African American Film Forum
Feauting Nefertite Nguvu's I Want You
Richard Wesley, Montclair resident and Playwriting/Screenwriting Professor at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, interviewed emerging New York filmmaker and School of Visual Arts Outstanding Screenplay award winner Nefertite Nguvu. MAM screened Nefertite’s uniquely stylized black-and-white romance I Want You followed by a Q&A and reception. This event was sponsored by MAM’s African American Cultural Committee (AACC)
Heart of the Shore: Panel Discussion with Filmmaker Cliff Charles and Guests
October 27, 2015
MAM's African American Cultural Committee presented segments of the documentary Heart of the Shore directed by Cliff Charles. A panel including filmmaker Cliff Charles and those featured in the documentary was moderated by Charisse Jones, USA Today national correspondent. For more information on Heart of the Shore, please visit heartoftheshoremovie.com.
AACC Cuban Art Exhibition
June 4, 2015
At Free First Thursday Night, members of MAM's African American Cultural Committee will display art collected during their recent trip to Cuba.
Conversation and Book Signing: Benilde Little
Welcome to My Breakdown
April 21, 2015
Benilde Little, bestselling author of Good Hair and The Itch, will discuss her first book of nonfiction Welcome to My Breakdown in conversation with Gabrielle Glaser, award-winning journalist and author. Powerful, relatable, and ultimately redemptive, Welcome to My Breakdown is a remarkable memoir about the power within us all to rise from despair and to feel hope and joy again. Both speakers are residents of Montclair. Books will be available for signing after the conversation.
8th Annual Montclair African American Film Forum
Featuring Siji and Elder's Corner
February 19, 2015
The Film Forum features films by independent African American filmmakers who bring to the big screen a look at the African Diaspora through a variety of entertaining and provocative genres. MAM and our African American Cultural Committee presented a special musical performance by Siji accompanied by brief selections from the Elder’s Corner documentary, followed by a Q&A session with the artist.
AACC Trip to Cuba