NEW YORK, NY (May 13, 2004)

The Romare Bearden Foundation announced today the Romare Bearden Homecoming Celebration, a seven-month, multidisciplinary schedule of programs and events designed to explore the breadth of artist Romare Bearden’s personal, creative and intellectual achievements. The Celebration was launched with a special press announcement and luncheon hosted at the historic Apollo Theater in Harlem, where the acclaimed artist once had a studio.

“New York was Romare Bearden’s home, a place he considered vital to his creativity and from which he took artistic and spiritual inspiration,” said Tallal ELBoushi, chairman of the board of the Romare Bearden Foundation. “For 14 years, the Foundation has worked to advance this great artist’s legacy. On the occasion of his nationally touring retrospective exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the board of directors and staff of the Foundation are delighted to be joined by the Celebration steering committee, which includes our institutional partners, and Altria Group, in presenting these programs and events that will deepen public appreciation of Bearden’s art and life.”

Continuing its nearly 50-year history of support of the arts, and in tribute to the legacy of a great American artist, Altria Group, Inc. announced its lead sponsorship of the celebration, with a $150,000 grant. The cultural media sponsors for the event are Museums New York magazine and Museums

“The Altria family of companies is proud to help bring to New York an exciting array of public programs that honor the enormous contributions of an artist of the stature of Romare Bearden,” said A. Shuanise Washington, vice president, Government Affairs, Policy and Outreach for Altria Group, Inc. “Our commitment to, and support of, the arts date back more than four decades. At Altria Group, Inc. we believe the arts challenge us to explore new and diverse perspectives by inspiring dialogue and debate. We also believe that artists are among the most significant innovators of our time, and we look to them for inspiration and commentary on an ever-changing world. Bearden was certainly such an artist,” Washington added.

The Romare Bearden Homecoming Celebration is being held in timing with the traveling exhibition, The Art of Romare Bearden, which opens at the Whitney Museum of American Art in October. The exhibition, organized by the National Gallery of Art, is considered the most comprehensive retrospective of Bearden’s work ever mounted.

Taking place from September 2004 through March of 2005, the citywide celebration will encompass exhibitions, gallery tours and performances examining Bearden’s paintings, collages and tapestries, as well as engaging educational symposiums, panel discussions, walking tours of Harlem, jazz concerts and dance performances. Among the Foundation’s institutional partners are the Apollo Theater, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Bronx Museum of the Arts, the Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia University, the Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning, Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Snug Harbor Cultural Center, the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Society for the Preservation of Weeksville and Bedford-Stuyvesant History and the Whitney Museum of American Art, among other institutions. As a kick-off to the celebration, Jazzmobile will conclude its season in September, Bearden’s birthday month, with a Birthday Party for Romare Bearden, a multi-generational jazz performance staged on Jazzmobile’s Float at Grant’s Tomb.

About Romare Bearden

Romare Bearden (1911-1988) is widely acknowledged as one of the most talented and original visual artists of the 20th century. He was also recognized for his wide range of personal and scholarly interests in jazz, dance, history, literature and world arts. Born in Charlotte, North Carolina and raised in Harlem, New York, Bearden attended New York University and studied at the Arts Students League. In 1969 he founded the Cinque Gallery with Norman Lewis and Ernest Crichlow to provide a space for young minority painters and curators to display their work and gain experience in the art world. This preeminent artist was elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1972.

About the Romare Bearden Foundation

The Romare Bearden was established in 1990 as a nonprofit organization by the estate of Romare Bearden to preserve and perpetuate the legacy of this preeminent American artist. The Foundation realizes its mission by: preserving a collection of Bearden’s artworks and extensive archives of books, articles, letters, photographs and other materials; hosting, supporting and presenting scholarly and public programs, including symposia, panel presentations and school-based programs featuring Bearden’s art and life; and providing support for and encouraging museum exhibitions and new scholarly research on Bearden and his contributions to twentieth-century art. For more information about the Foundation, visit”

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