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Chazen Launches ART•SPIN Initiative

Madison, Wisconsin—The Chazen Museum of Art is pleased to announce ART•SPIN its new community outreach initiative to further expand the museum’s offerings and community access to arts programming. ART•SPIN events will be presented with support from area businesses and highlight area artists, musicians, and performers. Many of these special events will be organized in conjunction with a major exhibition, thus informing the visual art on display with performing arts and hands-on activities. ART•SPIN events will be free of charge.

The inaugural ART•SPIN event will be a Community Celebration offered in conjunction with the exhibition Romare Bearden: A Black Odyssey on October 5, 2013, 12:30–4 p.m. Performances and activities will explore themes of African American history and the universal search for home. Performers include Sadarri and Company Storytellers, Anthony Lamarr and Meghan Rose, the Boys and Girls Club Black Star Drumline, and Limanya African Drum and Dance. There will be hand-on make and take activities organized by the Wisconsin Union Craft Shop, henna tattoos by Celebration Studios, face painting, docent tours of the exhibition, and other games and activities. A complete schedule will be available at

In addition, the museum will offer an ART•SPIN afternoon on Sunday, October 26. Leotha Stanley, music director of the Mt. Zion Church Choir, will present “Leotha Stanley and Friends: Music with a Message” from 12:30 to 1. Then animator Odalo Wasikhongo will lead a flip-book animation workshop inspired by the themes of Romare Bearden’s works.

About the Exhibition
In 1977, Romare Bearden created a series of collages and watercolors based on Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey. Rich in symbolism and allegorical content, Bearden’s Odyssey series bridged classical mythology and African American culture. The series conveyed timelessness and the universality of the human condition, but was displayed for only two months in New York City before the works went to private collections and public art museums. An exhibition from the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) represents the first full-scale presentation of these works outside of New York City. Romare Bearden: A Black Odyssey will be on view at the Chazen August 31–November 24, 2013. The museum will also organize extensive educational and community programming in conjunction with the exhibition.

The Smithsonian exhibition features approximately 50 works, including the original collages as well as watercolors, line drawings, and additional compositions relating to Bearden’s interest in classical themes. The exhibition examines his motivations in creating these works within the context of the Odyssey series and his overall body of work.

For additional exhibition-related programming please visit

Romare Bearden: A Black Odyssey is curated by renowned English and jazz scholar Robert G. O’Meally, the Zora Neale Hurston Professor of English and Comparative Literature and founder and former director of the Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia University. A fully illustrated companion book, written by curator O’Meally, is available for purchase. The book features full-color images of Bearden’s work and an essay by O’Meally.

Romare Bearden: A Black Odyssey is organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service in cooperation with the Romare Bearden Foundation and Estate and DC Moore Gallery. The exhibition and its related educational resources are supported by a grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. © Romare Bearden Foundation / Licensed by VAGA, New York.

The seven-city national tour began at the Reynolda House Museum of American Art in Winston-Salem, N.C., in October 2012, and travels through 2014 to Memphis Brooks Museum of Art (Memphis, Tenn.), Amon Carter Museum of American Art (Fort Worth, Tex.), Chazen Museum of Art, Michael C. Carlos Museum (Atlanta, Ga.), Currier Museum of Art (Manchester, N.H), and the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery (New York, N.Y.). Romare Bearden: A Black Odyssey and its related educational resources are supported by a grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.

Generous local support for this exhibition has been provided by the Chazen Museum of Art Council, Dane Arts, and the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts.