Monday, July 2, 2012

For The Love of Literacy: @TheWrightMuseum's July 2012 eZine

» President's Message
» Blue Star Museums
» 2012 Wright Benefit Gala: For The Love of Literacy
» 20th Annual Concert of Colors
» Jerry Pinkney Celebrity Children's Book Fair
» 30th Annual African World Festival
» 8th Biennial Awards for Excellence Legacy Dinner
» Voices of the Civil War
» Current Exhibitions
» Upcoming Events
» You May Have Missed...
» Become a Member Today!

President's Message, July 2012
Juanita Moore, President & CEO

It's our pleasure to announce that the 30th annual African World Festival is coming home to the Museum that birthed it: the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History!  This August 17 through 19, attendees will experience a proud, new tradition – the color, vibrancy, and cultural pride of AWF, all on our very own doorstep.

The decision to move the Festival was not made lightly.  A major factor was that Hart Plaza simply could not provide some of the necessary amenities it had in the past.  We are confident that we made the right move; after all, for many years Midtown Detroit has been home for traditions such as Noel Night, Dally in the Alley, and the Festival of the Arts.  In fact, Midtown's long history of supporting successful events is matched in this case with the expertise of AWF director Njia Kai, who's worked on many of Midtown's events as well as others throughout the City. 

More importantly, though, the move allows us to easily overcome one of our previous marketing challenges – connecting African World Festival with The Wright Museum in the minds of festival attendees.  This year, there will be no mistaking the connection, as the cultural celebration extends outwards from the Museum to the surrounding area.  Stay tuned for updates on the 30th annual African World Festival – a proud, new tradition in Midtown Detroit!

Witness: The Art of Jerry Pinkney
We're delighted with our newest exhibition,
Witness: The Art of Jerry Pinkney, organized by the Norman Rockwell Museum and featuring over 140 works by this critically and popularly acclaimed illustrator of children's books.  His imaginative watercolors come alive, on the walls, in strategically placed storybooks, and in animated format on iPads integrated into the exhibit.  The stories themselves will jump off the pages and into the hearts and minds of children of all ages this July at the Jerry Pinkney Celebrity Children's Book Fair.  On Saturday and Sunday, July 28 and 29, Mr. Pinkney, his wife and noted storyteller and writer Gloria Jean Pinkney, and other authors will be showcased at this fun-filled event featuring arts and crafts, book giveaways, appearances by characters from the stories themselves, and so much more!  It will be a fabulous chance to meet and hear from Jerry Pinkney, experience the Children's Discovery Room, and most importantly, instill a love for the written word in young and old alike.

As you may have heard, needed operational support from the City of Detroit continues to be diminished for The Wright Museum (which is, in fact, city-owned) and other deserving cultural institutions.  It is during these tough times that everyone is called upon to help secure the future of this museum – a place that sparks creativity in the minds of our children and helps us reconnect with a pride and legacy that has sometimes been forgotten.  

We appreciate how many of you have stepped up to support the work of the Museum.  We thank Jon Barfield and Vivian Carpenter, who recently hosted a fundraiser that raised $100,000.  We appreciate their leadership, and are grateful to everyone who supported the event. 

We ask that you think about what you can do to help the Museum to fulfill its mission and service to the Community – and we will work to insure that the service we provide is, and will continue to be, worthy of that support.  From upcoming exhibits such as Visions of Our 44th President and Inspired Minds: African Americans in Science and Technology, to programs like the Financial Literacy Project and Camp Africa summer camps, to the ongoing Voices of the Civil War online video series, our work continues undaunted, and unabated.

The Museum is an oasis in the sweltering summer of our hectic, everyday lives.  Whether visiting and attending events, volunteering, or becoming a member or donor, there are many ways, and so many more reasons, to "dive in!"  Talk to us about how you can be a part of the mission and magic that is the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. 

Please click here to

Click here to download the July Member Newsletter

Blue Star Museums

Now through 9/3/2012
The Wright Museum has joined 1,800 other American cultural institutions in offering free admission to active-duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces from Memorial Day through Labor Day 2012.  Blue Star Museums, a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts,
Blue Star Families, and the Department of Defense, is in its third year; active-duty U.S. military personnel with ID and up to five of their family members get into The Wright Museum free as a thank-you for their service and sacrifice and to support military families on a tight budget.  Museums in all 50 states are taking part this year; click here to learn more...

2012 Wright Benefit Gala: For The Love of Literacy

Saturday 9/8 at 7 pm
First Lady of the City of Detroit Yvette Bing and Co-Chairs Jo Coleman, Jennifer Fischer, Cynthia Ford and Kim Reuss present the return of The Wright Gala this September 8 at 7 pm.  Attendees can expect a sumptuous feast for the senses, including fine dining, international entertainment, and... the unexpected!  Proceeds benefit The Wright Museum and support its programs including the presentation of the
Witness: The Art of Jerry Pinkney exhibit and this summer's literacy programming.  Tickets start at $250 and can be purchased online by clicking here, by phone at (800) 838-3006, or at the Museum's Information Desk.  For sponsorship, please call (313) 494-5853 or click here to email
Click here to learn more...

20th Annual Concert of Colors Opening Night

Thursday 7/12 at 6:30 pm
For the second year, The Wright Museum kicks off this "Motor City Throwdown!"  Cultures Collide with MIKE-E & AfroFlow + Friends in the Museum's General Motors Theater... if you were there last year, you know to get there early because the house was packed!  Attendees will also be able to experience our newest exhibit,
Witness: The Art of Jerry Pinkney, as a part of this free event.  Concert of Colors doesn't begin and end at the Museum, though - a special Tune-Up event takes place Saturday, July 7 @ New Center Park featuring Meshell Ndegeocello and Sin Hielo, and the concert continues Friday, July 13 @ Detroit Institute of Arts and Saturday & Sunday, July 14 & 15 @ Max M. Fisher Music Center with a host of musical artists including George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic! Click here to learn more...

Jerry Pinkney Celebrity Children's Book Fair

Saturday 7/28 from 9 am - 5 pm
Sunday 7/29 from 1 - 5 pm
The Art of Jerry Pinkney comes alive this July at this fantastic, fun-filled weekend event!  Meet and hear from the award-winning, critically and popularly acclaimed children's book illustrator, Jerry Pinkney, his wife and noted storyteller and writer Gloria Jean Pinkney, and other artists and authors.  Arts and crafts, book giveaways, storytelling, appearances by storybook characters and more will bring the written word to life, and fill the air with imagination and wonder - don't miss this FREE weekend of activities!  PLEASE NOTE:
Witness: The Art of Jerry Pinkney and other Museum exhibits are free with Museum admission.  Click here to learn more...

30th Annual African World Festival

Friday - Sunday, August 17 - 19 at the Museum!
African World Festival comes home to a proud, new tradition at The Wright Museum!  SPONSORS: Support Michigan's largest African American cultural celebration and reach an audience of over 150,000!  VENDORS: Showcase your ethnic cuisine, imports, fine arts and crafts, textiles, fashions, books and more in our International Marketplace!  VOLUNTEERS: Share your time and talents and play an important role in this annual event!  For more information, please email or call (313) 494-5824

Click here to download the 2012 Vendor Application.

8th Biennial Awards for Excellence Legacy Dinner

Saturday 9/22 at 5 pm
Sponsored by The Friends Committee of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, this dinner celebration honors the legacy of Museum founder Dr. Charles H. Wright by recognizing members of the local community who exemplify excellence in their fields of endeavor.  The ceremony will also include a "Where Are They Now" recognition of individuals delivered by Dr. Wright between 1953 and 1985 - if you are one of Dr. Wright's "babies" and would like to be included in the souvenir booklet, please provide your name, career, and baby and/or current photo to Will Cooper at or Stephanie Wright-Griggs at  Doors open for the Legacy Dinner at 5 pm, with cocktails at 5:30 pm followed by dinner, awards presentation, and afterglow.  Jerome Clark is the featured entertainer.  Tickets are $60 and can be purchased from The Wright Museum Gift Shop at (313) 494-5873, Brunette Vinson at (313) 865-3929 or any Friends Committee member.

Voices of the Civil War Episode 6, "Overwhelming Numbers and Resources"

Wednesday 7/18 online at
The Voices of the Civil War is a five-year film series dedicated to celebrating and commemorating the Civil War over the course of the sesquicentennial.  Each month, new episodes cover pertinent topics that follow the monthly events and issues as they unfolded for African Americans during the Civil War.  In Episode 6, "Overwhelming Numbers and Resources," we look at the difference between the North and the South in regards to manpower and resources.  Why was the Confederate army, representing territories with less than half the population of the North, confident they could win the Civil War?  We encourage your feedback and commentary through our Voices of the Civil War blog, where you can view new and previous episodes at

Current Exhibitions

Witness: The Art of Jerry Pinkney
Through September 9,
This retrospective exhibition traces illustrator Jerry Pinkney's 50-year career producing some of the most highly acclaimed children's books of our time.  A popular and critically acclaimed artist, Jerry Pinkney was recently presented with the prestigious Caldecott Medal, awarded to the illustrator of the most distinguished American picture book for children that year.  The recipient of five Caldecott Honor Medals, five Coretta Scott King Awards, four Coretta Scott King Honor Awards, and a lifetime achievement award from the Society of Illustrators in New York, the artist has also served on the Board of the National Endowment for the Arts, and on the National Postal Service's Citizen Stamp Advisory Council.  "Witness: The Art of Jerry Pinkney" has been organized by the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
Click here to learn more..

Moving to His Own Beat - Fela: The Man, The Movement, The Music
Through November, 2012
Created in partnership with Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts, this exhibit examines the life of Nigerian superstar Fela Kuti in the realms of music, culture, and politics, and preludes the arrival of the off-Broadway smash musical, Fela!, in February, 2012.  Fela's undying passion for African peoples, understanding of the power of art and politics, and unyielding struggle against the colonial forces in Nigeria during the 1950s and 1960s, solidified his legacy as a shimmering agent of change against the status quo.  He spoke out against the ruling government, returned to African traditions that had been interrupted during Colonialism, and brilliantly used his music as a medium for social change.  Always pushing the envelope, Fela infused traditional African highlife music with classical jazz and funk, which evolved into a unique sound that he called, "Afrobeat."  The powerful music and social commentary found throughout his vast catalogue of recordings is indicative of his desire to help end oppression among African peoples everywhere.  Click here to learn more...

The Chris Webber Collection: Exceptional People During Extraordinary Times, 1755 - Present
Through November, 2012
Chris Webber, Detroit native, National Basketball Association All-Star player (retired) and NBA announcer, collects rare artifacts that illuminate the lives and legacies of African American greats such as Phillis Wheatley, the first African American author; Rosa Parks , mother of the modern civil rights movement; civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and many others.  Viewers get a glimpse of their heritage and learn about a different facet of Chris Webber, basketball player, philanthropist, and collector of African American history.  Click here to learn more...

Great American Artists - Part II: The Branches
Through September 2, 2012
This yearlong exhibition features the works of a consortium of Detroit artists in a three-part series subtitled, "Roots, Branches, and Seeds." During the past several years, each artist has collaborated to complete a portrait of a group member and to document each other's studio processes, techniques and themes. This cooperative provides the group a means of documenting and preserving each artist's image and their careers.  Exhibiting second are Christopher Batten, Halima Cassels and Senghor Reid who form the "Branches" of the group. They have used inspiration derived from the "Roots" to create murals, installations and large figurative works worldwide. Their work explores environmental issues and the communities in which they live.  Click here to learn more...

Upcoming Events
7/4 from 9 am - 5 pm: MUSEUM CLOSED

7/8 from 1 - 5 pm: Charter One Free Family Second Sunday
Click here to learn more...

7/8 @ 5 pm: Hustle For History Weekly Dance Lessons ($) | Ford Freedom Rotunda
Click here to learn more...

7/12 @ 6:30 pm: 20th Annual Concert of Colors Opening Night | General Motors Theater
Click here to learn more...

7/15 @ 5 pm: Hustle For History Weekly Dance Lessons ($) | Ford Freedom Rotunda
Click here to learn more...

7/18 online at Voices of the Civil War Episode 6: "Overwhelming Numbers and Resources"
Click here to learn more...

7/18 @ 6 pm: Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) Monthly Meeting | Classrooms
Click here to learn more...
7/22 @ 5 pm: Hustle For History ($) | Ford Freedom Rotunda
Click here to learn more...

7/29 from 1 - 5 pm: Jerry Pinkney Celebrity Children's Book Fair
Click here to learn more...

7/29 @ 5 pm: Hustle For History ($) | Ford Freedom Rotunda
Click here to learn more...

To see all upcoming events, please click here!

PLEASE NOTE: metered parking on Warren and Farnsworth
is now being enforced until 10 pm Monday through Saturday. 

There is free parking on Brush Street, and the Cultural Center parking lot
is $5 before 4 pm and $3 afterwards.

Museum programming is sponsored in part by the generous support
of our community partners:

You May Have Missed, "Top 10 Things To Do In Detroit, Michigan"

The Detroit News, "Taste of riverside artwork to come"

Detroit Performs, "Witness the Power of Imagination"

CNN, "Detroit vs. Philadelphia: Explore Detroit beyond the headlines"

Become a Member Today

Members of the Charles H. Wright Museum enjoy benefits such as:
• Free admission to the museum
• Free guest pass(es)
• Invitations to Members' Only previews
• Free subscription to the quarterly membership newsletter, The Wright Times
• 10% discount in the museum store
• Special pricing on select museum events
• 20% off meals at
Union Street Restaurant

Tues. - Sat., 9 am - 5 pm
Sunday, 1 - 5 pm
Monday - Closed
Adults (13 - 61) $8
Seniors (62 +) & Youth (3 - 12) $5
Free for members & children under 3

Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
315 East Warren Avenue
Detroit, Michigan 48201-1443
Click here for a Google Map

General Info - (313) 494-5800
Group Tours and Reservations - (313) 494-5808
Facility Rental - (313) 494-5801

Become A Member | Donate | Museum Brochure

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