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Augusta Savage: A Woman of Her Word

Jeffreen M. Hayes, executive director, Threewalls

An outstanding sculptor associated with the intellectual and cultural awakening known as the Harlem Renaissance, Augusta Savage (1892-1962) overcame poverty, racism, and sexual discrimination in pursuit of her goals. Creating new visions of black identity in her work, she was also an activist, campaigning for equal rights for African Americans in the arts. The traveling exhibition Augusta Savage: Renaissance Woman and its accompanying catalog is the first to reassess Savage’s contributions to art and cultural history in light of 21st-century attention to the concept of the artist-activist. The exhibition viewing dates are as follows: the Cummer Museum of Art, October 12, 2018-April 7, 2019; the New York Historical Society, May 3–July 28, 2019; the Palmer Museum of Art, Pennsylvania State University, August 24–December 8, 2019; and the Dixon Gallery and Gardens, January 19–March 22, 2020. The groundbreaking catalog features illustrations of more than 40 works by Savage, her students, and her contemporaries, archival letters, rarely seen photographs, and an extensive bibliography and essays by Kirsten Pai Buick, Bridget R. Cooks, and Howard Dodson. In celebration of the Washington, DC, book launch on June 23, 2019, exhibition organizer Jeffreen M. Hayes discusses the life, work, and lasting legacy of Savage as an artist and a community builder. This program was proposed and made possible by Darryl Atwell.