Victor Valley Museum exhibit showcases African American art as June 19 approaches


A new multimedia exhibition featuring works by African American artists in recognition of Juneteenth – which celebrates the effective end of slavery in the United States – opened this week at the Victor Valley Museum.

“Wade in the Water: Art and Quilt” exhibit brings together 25 black artists from across the country with paintings, photographs, mixed media, dolls and quilts that derive “from African American spirituals containing messages of freedom “San Bernardino County officials said. .

“We are thrilled to host this show of exceptional artists during the month of June, and in honor of the federal – and now county – Juneteenth holiday,” said county museum director Melissa Russo, in a press release. “The museum is a space for community interaction with history, and what deep stories these artists share through their works!”

Celebrated on June 19, June 19 marks the day federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1865 to ensure that slaves there were freed.

Although the Confederacy had surrendered in the Civil War two months earlier, and the Emancipation Proclamation freeing slaves in the Confederate States had been signed 2.5 years earlier, slavery had remained intact in Texas until what U.S. General Gordon Granger gives his order on state soil, according to History. .com.

General Order Number 3 said in part: “The people of Texas are hereby informed that, pursuant to a proclamation of the Executive Branch of the United States, all slaves are free.”

Slavery was not completely abolished in all states until the passage of the 13th Amendment in December 1865.

Juneteenth was first recognized as a national holiday in 2021 with President Joe Biden signing into law.

In May, the County Board of Supervisors also declared June 19 a holiday and said it encouraged “all county residents to take time on this day to reflect on the freedoms we enjoy and how each of us can practice and promote equity for all. .”

"ghanaian village," a painting by artist Sadie Patterson on display at "Wade in the Water: Art and Quilt Exhibit" at the Victor Valley Museum in Apple Valley.

Theresa Polley-Shellcroft, an educator and artist with over 50 years of experience, curated the artwork for the Victor Valley exhibit.

Sadie Patterson, a 99-year-old artist from the High Desert, will be at a reception held from 1 to 2:30 p.m. June 12 at the Apple Valley Museum.

In 2017, Patterson received a lifetime achievement award from the Dreamers, Visionaries and Leaders Project, a nonprofit organization that recognizes and celebrates multicultural contributions made to American history.

“I’m very grateful and flattered by all the attention I received from everyone today,” Patterson said at the time. “I’ve painted and drawn all my life and it’s an honor to see so many people interested in art.”

The exhibit will be on display at the Victor Valley Museum through June 30. Another art installation that museum visitors might be interested in highlights African Americans who settled in a desolate part of the Mojave Desert.

The museum is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Thursday and at 11873 Apple Valley Road in Apple Valley.

Daily Press journalist Martin Estacio can be reached at 760-955-5358 or ME [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @DP_mestacio.


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