A Celebratory Week to Remember

Well it was a fun, celebratory week to remember — one for the recollection record books!

Easter Sunday started it off — after a month of prep with finally getting a new garage roof completed. We still have some refinement to do so I’ll have to post a picture later. My Clivia plant, also known as a Kaffir Lily, seemed to be waiting to bloom on this special occasion. How appropriate and really beautiful this African plant is. My father-in-law gave it to me with multiple “babies” as offshoots that I divided and gave to my sister and sons. I’m waiting to hear if theirs’ bloomed.

Kaffir Lily blooms on Art Is Everywhere

Other plants that are flourishing are on our roof. The two types of butter/bib and arugula lettuce are three times the size of this now and nearly ready to harvest. Snap beans, beets and cauliflower seeds are coming along. I’ll need to replant the carrots though.

Rooftop Garden GlowPear Containers on AIE

You can read more about these hydroponic GlowPear planters on Houzz, where we purchased a second one.

My husband was able to get tickets through his office to the National Museum of African American History & Culture (NMAAHC), which is near impossible since they are sold out already through July. There was a special viewing between 8 – 10 am midweek and I took my friend Liza. Although we needed Peter with us to enter, he decided not to attend in order for us to be able to when security discovered my miniature pairing knife in my purse that I had forgotten all about. Ugh!! They wouldn’t let me leave it with them so Peter took it back to his car and missed the museum opportunity but he’ll get more tickets. He also had a meeting that was going to shorten his time anyway and you really need a full day, as we discovered, to take it all in. We didn’t return home until 4:30. It took over 7 hours to go through at a leisurely pace, which you need to do to be able to read and process all the info. Fortunately, I had cleared my work calendar in advance. There is a tremendous amount to cover and the museum does a good job of showing viewers the progression of the African American history through three sub-terrain, what I call the “oppressive” concourses that move through the start of Slavery to Freedom > Defending Freedom and Segregation > Changing America 1968 & Beyond. Although there is still a sense of uncertainty at the end of the exhibit, one leaves with a positive appreciation of the African American history and all its accomplishments as well as the strength of the American Spirit.

The African American experience is the lens through which we understand what it is to be an American. — Lonnie Bunch (Founding Director)

NMAAHC museum building on AIE

NMAAHC museum

The first sense one has upon entering the museum is from the exterior grill work that suppresses the light, yet fills the space with ornamentation. It is supposed to recall the grill work in New Orleans that was made by slave labor and you do get a sense, especially in the lower galleries, of being in a cargo hold of a slave ship with only one way up and out.

NMAAHC grill work on Art Is Everywhere

You start at the bottom and walk through each concourse and move onto the next via ramps. There are no elevators or restrooms on any of these floors. If the intent was to be somewhat uncomfortable, then it works. There are, however, plenty of places to sit and rest, watch a movie, reflect or just take a break. I had to use the restroom and needed to walk all the way up while Liza rested. There was a placard at the top warning that once you exited you could not re-enter. I had to flag someone down to ask them if I could come back in. Although it wasn’t a problem, I can’t imagine the planners didn’t think this common occurrence through. It must happen a lot. There were hoards of people in line a this point and we were only half way through the exhibit. I hustled back to get a move on before it became crowded. It was starting to on the third concourse, especially when we visited the Emmett Till Memorial, where no pictures were allowed. This was a horrible event about a 14 year old African American boy who was lynched simply because some “white” folk were looking to make examples of blacks. The outcome is what sparked insurgence, uprising and riots, along with the tragic death of Martin Luther King. However, the final part of the main exhibit shows the progression of the African Americans to assimilate within the middle class, become major TV and music celebrities. In fact, America has a lot to be thankful for with their cultural contribution.

Colonial Slavery figures on Art Is Everywhere

Prominent Colonial historical figures including Thomas Jefferson and Mum Bet, who sued the State of Massachusetts to win her freedom and consequently abolished slavery in MA

Ashley's Sack 1 NMAAHC on AIE

This story is pretty heartbreaking. There were many that were but this one spoke to me.

Ashley's Sack 2 NMAAHC on AIE

It was interesting to note that at the very start of the Slave Trade, which was sparked by the sugar trade, Creole Africans were wealthy diplomats and highly sought after for their language capabilities and cultural knowledge.

Concourse 3 - 2 NMAAHC on AIE

Moving from Concourse 3 to 2

slave and free houses at NMAAHC on Art Is Everywhere

Juxtaposition between Slave House on lower Concourse 3 and Freed Slave’s own home on upper Concourse 2

Stereotypes at NMAAHC on AIE

Stereotypes in toys and paraphenalia

Segregated clinic hours at NMAAHC on AIE

These segregated clinic hours are hard to believe in this current time

Maple Leaf Rag on AIE

My parents used to dance to the Maple Leaf Rag

Angola guard station_interactive bar at NMAAHC on AIE

Angola Prison Guard Station and the Interactive “Segregation Bar” where you can follow a movement as if you’re a member

Soul Train on Art Is Everywhere

1968 & Beyond brings up Soul Train, which was big part of my childhood

Assimilating into Middle America on Art Is Everywhere

Assimilating into Middle America

Another Rat Pack Digs on Art Is Everywhere

The other Rat Pack Digs in Chicago

Foxy Brown and Sly and Family Stone on AIE

Foxy Brown movies still play on TV and notice Sly & Family Stone written on his piano keys

Main NMAAHC exhibit end on AIE

Main exhibit ends with highlights from the 2000’s like Hurricane Katrina and the Obama Administration, how could we forget.

We decided to break for lunch. The food at the Sweet Home Cafe was excellent! You could choose which regional fare you wanted to try. Of course I went right for the Creole Southern Duck / Andouille Sausage Gumbo but then changed my mind at the last-minute to get the Shrimp and Grits because the shrimp were gigantic! The meal was delicious and a generous portion! The dining hall was in the shape of the “ark” or museum Congo ship, yet each layer had vines growing in the indented, internal troughs. The back walls were mirrored to make the space look twice as large as what we thought it could hold. We didn’t wait around for that test because the buses of people were now streaming in.

Panoramic Mall view from the top of NMAAHC on AIE

Panoramic Mall view from the top

Looking down on the Gift Shop on AIE

Looking down on the Gift Shop

Reproductions of Mary Jackson's baskets in the gift shop on AIE

Reproductions of Mary Jackson’s baskets in the gift shop

After a much needed energy refresh, we tackled the top four floors. Similarly to the sub-floors, where you start at the bottom and walk up, we started in reverse at the very top and moved downward. We visited all the floors but only experienced three. There were elevators and escalators and restrooms on all of these. The top floor Culture Galleries was my favorite. It showed the importance of the African American culture in food, music, arts, fashion, and sports. I by-passed the last, but fully savored all the others. I was just as impressed with the exhibition layout as I was with the rich content. The first oval room had double display bays with the interior, bench-seating to the double-sided, wall-alcoves with a musical entertainment-video that changed visuals with the continuous music that wrapped around the top of the room. We moved from here to the Visual Art Gallery with primarily contemporary art (not my thing) to the Musical Achievement wing with Chuck Berry’s car greeting us at the entry. I breezed through the Theatre section and will have to go back.

Food & Culture greet you on the top 4th floor of NMAAHC on AIE

Food & Culture greet you on the top 4th floor. Chef Leah Chase is prominently featured with her Dooky Chase restaurant in New Orleans.

Earth Wind & Fire at NMAAHC on AIE

Earth Wind & Fire is one of my favorite bands highlighted in the Musical component

Allen Toussaint is mentioned in the Jazz sectionAllen Toussaint is mentioned in the Jazz section on AIE

Allen Toussaint is mentioned in the Jazz section

Level 3 housed the Community Galleries, where some of the main exhibit details were further explored. For instance, there was an entire room dedicated to Muhammad Ali, another section to Ben Carson, and another to the Military Experience. Maybe I missed it, but I didn’t see any recognition given to Clarence Thomas but did see Thurgood Marshal and Anita Hill mentioned in regard to the Supreme Court. There were also mini exhibits dedicated to Making a Way Out of No Way with progress in medical, religion and school, etc., highlighted.

We didn’t have enough energy to explore the Explore More Gallery on the 2nd level, which was mainly interactive exhibits. I popped my head in and saw one older white woman, who was the only one dancing to an instructional video by an African American dance troupe. Others were watching and encouraging her as if she was playing “Wei” by herself but doing a pretty good job.

We took an Uber home and had an interesting discussion with our American-Cuban driver, Marisol about the experience. Funny, we missed Oprah by one day, as she was there the next day to screen the Henrietta Lacks movie airing on HBO. I read the book several years ago and am interested to see the movie. It’s definitely a story that needs more exposure.

Earlier in the week, Peter and I celebrated our wedding anniversary by finally visiting the Trump Hotel to see how the Old Post Office was revamped. We had drinks in the main lobby, which is huge but well decorated. The main architecture and iron struts of the original building remained and painted gold. I liked the peacock, teal blue and green velvet seating paired with amber and gold throughout the expansive room. The bar wall was mirrored to the top and filled with clear glass decanters and glasses situated on dark mahogany shelving. Very impressive. Two large TV’s were playing Fox News. We were seated next to what had to be a bevy of beautiful friends of The Real Housewives of DC. No kidding. This was entertaining to say the least.

Trump International Hotel anniversary for drinks on AIE

Trump International Hotel anniversary for drinks. The ladies had left by this point.

Trump Hotel Bar area on Art Is Everywhere

Although the ambience was captivating, the service was off. We had to call someone over after 15 minutes. They gave us water and nuts without napkins and the hostess took our initial order. The place was nearly filled but not that busy. We sampled the signature cocktails, which were unfortunately too expensive at $25 – $29 and actually did not taste very good, which is too bad! We stuck with wine and cheese choices which were good and surprisingly affordable. All in all, it was a different way to celebrate an off-year; even though, there can be some improvements made, especially if you’re expecting the best.

Trump DC Hotel at night on AIE

Trump DC Hotel at night

Meanwhile, the rest of the week was enjoying the gorgeous spring weather. Even the cats seemed to relish this indoors and out.

Cats sleeping on AIE

This picture cracks me up. These cats sleep so differently.

Cats outside on AIE

Ingrid enjoys outside on AIE

Ingrid just turned 1 year old

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Yayoi Kusama’s Love Dots

When I saw the pictures of Yayoi Kusama’s artwork in the paper about her upcoming exhibition at the Hirshhorn museum, I recalled one of the first posts I had written on Art Is Everywhere. It happened to be her polka dot artwork in the art exhibit “Happenings.” She loves dots and uses them with mirrors, along with and on pumpkins. The exhibit is supposed to be a sensory explosion. The Hirshhorn anticipates it being a blockbuster show and is giving out free timed passes. The artist is 87 years old and still causing quite a stir with dots — just in time to enjoy for Valentine’s Day during this month of love.

Yayoi Kusama Hirshhorn exhibit on AIE Yayoi Kusama Obliteration Room on AIE Yayoi Kusama Obliteration of Eternity on AIE Yayoi Kusam Infinity Mirrors on AIE Yayoi Kusama pumpkin sculpture on AIE Yayoi Kusama love dot gourds on Art Is Everywhere

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Venice Biennale 3D Tour

During this hectic holiday time, it’s good to sometimes just take a break.

You can do that with this 3D interactive tour of the Venice Biennale 2016.

Venice Biennale_3D Tour 1 on Art Is Everywhere

Venice Biennale_3D Tour via Venice Design and Interiors 3D.it

The interactive nature of the tour itself is quite fascinating.

It’s like a video game propelling your view through the rooms and especially interesting among the historic backdrop of the Palazzo Michiel in Venice.

Venice Biennale_3D Tour 2 on Art Is Everywhere

Enjoy your holidays and we’ll be back soon.

The Other Zoo News – Washed Ashore

With all the tragic news about Harambe, the silverback gorilla that was shot to save a child at the Cincinnati Zoo, it’s nice to see other positive zoo news.

Washed Ashore is a multi-venue sculpture exhibit that is currently being hosted at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo through September 5, 2016. The large sea-life sculptures are made with plastic and other such trash items that have washed ashore.

What a great and colorful use of everyday, tossed-and-forgotten objects that really validates the statement, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” In this case, artwork that is truly everywhere.

washed-ashore-octopus-_Art Is Everywhere

washed-ashore-shark_Art Is Everywhere washed-ashore-parrotfish_Art Is EverywhereHere’s a little more info about Washed Ashore.org, their other exhibits and educational programs and what you can do with trash that you may find washed ashore on your beach this summer.

Another Type of Glacier Event

Just as the snow from our Snowzilla Blizzard is melting, I read about another type of “big,” snow-related, glacier event (see below). But first, the blizzard snow was beautiful while it lasted. It was especially nice to shut everything down. Everyone enjoyed the welcomed break.

We visited with friends and walked back to take this picture. Although it was 3 am, it could have been any time of the day with everyone hunkering down indoors.

Snowzilla covered street with no cars on Art Is Everywhere

Snow covered street with no cars = beautiful

Snowzilla covered stairs on Art Is Everywere

No where to go but stay inside

Cat views Snowzilla garden on Art Is Everywhere

Ingmar our cat enjoys the view from the warmth

Just as our snow is melting, there is other news about recently restored murals depicting scenes from Glacier Park.

Glacier Lake Mural restoration on Art Is Everywhere

Joe Abbrescia Grinnell restores a Glacier Lake mural. Photo by Patrick Cote Dill via Hockaday Museum

size of Glacier Mural panels on Art Is Everywhere

This shows the large size of the panels via Hockaday Musem

There were originally 51 murals that were commissioned to be painted as large watercolor panels with water-based tempera on canvas and displayed for all visitors to view in the Glacier Park Lodge in 1939. However their recorded history leaves the artist as unknown.

Unfortunately, only 15 have survived. The lodge was restored in the 1950s and the murals no longer fit the decor theme so they were cut from their mountings, rolled up and thrown away! Hard to believe!

Fortunately, 15 of the canvases were saved by Leona and Robert Brown in their East Glacier home and passed down to their granddaughter, Leanne and her husband, Alan Goldhahn. They donated the murals to the Hockaday Museum in 2012. Through the Goldhahn’s generous efforts the murals have been fully restored and are now on display again and serve as a wonderful memory to Leona & Robert Brown, who had the vision to save them in the first place.

Glacier Park Murals 1 via Independent Record helenair.com on Art Is Everywhere

Glacier Park Murals 1 via Independent Record helenair.com

Glacier Park Murals 2 via Independent Record helenair.com on Art Is Everywhere

Glacier Park Murals 2 via Independent Record helenair.com

Glacier Park is truly a stunning place. It stood out among the national parks that we visited during a family road trip across the country around 1975. These gorgeous murals are making me want to return.

Out of 29 Surreal Places in America that you need to see before you die, Glacier Park is #27 on the list.

I’ve been fortunate enough to visit 10 on the list but realize my travel days are just beginning after seeing these and what about outside of the States?! I’m just wondering if I have enough time to fit it all in?

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