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African American Museum toasts the arts

February 24, 2009 |  6:30 am

Viverbrasil The California African American Museum in Exposition Park is gearing up for a high-energy celebration of the arts this weekend. Visual art, music, dance, theater and poetry will be featured in a melange of sights and sounds designed to welcome a broad spectrum of the community as well as thousands of out-of-town artists, curators and educators who are coming to Los Angeles for the annual conference of the College Art Assn.

The festivities will begin Friday night with "Quiet as Kept: Change," a multimedia tribute to African American women artists, written and directed by Ulysses Johnson, an artist who lives in Inglewood. Described as an "artistic smorgasbord," Jenkins' production will be mostly staged outside on the sculpture court.

Works by video artists Barbara McCullough and Pamela Z will be projected in the museum's lobby. Matthew Thomas will make a sand painting while a video camera rolls and images of the work-in-progress appear on a nearby wall. Performing artists scheduled to participate include Viver Brazil, an L.A.-based Brazilian dance company; Nobuko Miyamoto of the Great Leap, an Asian American group dedicated to improving race relations; and Bay Area jazz guitarist Calvin Keyes. Jenkins will recite his poetry.

Several exhibitions will be on view in the museum's galleries throughout the weekend. One of them, "A Dream Realized," features photographic images of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and President Obama. Another show, "Of Tulips and Shadows: The Visual Metaphors of Dewey Crumpler," surveys paintings, sculptures and installations by a Bay Area artist.

— Suzanne Muchnic

Photo: Laila Abdullah of Viver Brazil. Credit: Jorge Vismara