MIAMI, Fla. – The Hampton Art Lovers are showcasing selections from the personal art collection of acclaimed American poet, storyteller, activist and autobiographer Maya Angelou starting July 11 at the Historic Ward Rooming House, 249 NW 9th St., Miami.
In addition, the Art Lovers organization is presenting “FrancoFiles: A Visual Exploration of the Negritude in New Orleans, Haiti, and Senegal,” an exhibition of fine art photographs by Brooklyn photographer Phillip Shung.
Each exhibition runs through Sept. 3.
The Southeast Overtown Park West Community Redevelopment CRA(SEOPW) is the sponsor for the show. RSVP at eventbrite.com/o/hamptonart-lovers-18084178283.
The venue, the Historic Ward Rooming House, built in 1925 by Shaddrack and Victoria Ward, served as a home for both blacks and Native Americans who needed a safe place to sleep at night. It was designated a historic site by the City of Miami in 2006, and fully restored in 2010. It now serves as a gallery and event space.
Built in the era of Overtown’s historic heyday, when it was known as “Colored Town,” and one of the few remaining buildings of its time, the Ward Rooming House stands as a tribute to the history of the oldest historic black community in Miami.
It is where “The Art of a Caged Bird Singing: The Personal Art Collection of Maya Angelou,” will showcase the artwork that adorned her home and inspired her poetry.
Original lithographs from the illustrations in Dr. Angelou’s book, “Our Grand Mothers” by John Biggers, and various selections by Dean Mitchell who illustrated Angelou’s book, “Music, Rivers Deep in My Soul,” will be a part of the Angelou exhibition.
Also, select drawings/paintings by Tom Feelings, an artist Angelou befriended for many years. Each of Feeling’s selections included in this exhibit was lovingly inscribed and personalized for Ms. Angelou.
Brooklyn photographer Phillip Shung has traveled extensively to discover the “connections” across the French colonies and the human capital that was plundered in the creation of the francophone world.
“Historically referred to as “Harlem of the South,” Overtown was once renowned as the center of black culture and entertainment for the South, reflecting the energy of the community that found expression in the many cultural forms that existed there such as theatre, music, art, and food,” said Neil Shriver, executive director for the SEOPW CRA.
“In furtherance of the implementation of the Historic Overtown Culture and Entertainment Master Plan, this exhibit is a preview of Overtown once again becoming a global destination of unique culture, history, and entertainment.”
The Hampton Art Lovers’ mission is to inspire the individual and collective appreciation of African-American Fine Art. The group seeks to honor the heart and soul of artists and make their work discoverable by all art lovers – from novice to expert.
Darryl Neverson, co-founder of Hampton Art Lovers, said the organization “is honored to showcase the artwork that adorned Maya Angelou’s home and inspired her poetry, including, Langston Hughes’ Sunrise is Coming After Awhile. Poems Selected by Maya Angelou. Silkscreens by Phoebe Beasley.
“And what a treat to be able to add in the works of photographer Phillip Shung” said Neverson. “The French colonial influence is explored through the lens of the exceptional eye of Shung. Art aficionados will see how Senegal, Haiti, and New Orleans share a culture, people, and food that are connected in distinct ways.”
For other information about Hampton Art Lovers visit hamptonartlovers.com.