TAM sets '30 Americans' send-off

The nationally acclaimed exhibition “30 Americans” made its West Coast debut at Tacoma Art Museum in September, 2016 and has been widely appreciated by local visitors. Enjoy a free day to see it before it leaves Tacoma. Celebrate the positive impact of this exhibition at a festival on Sunday, Jan. 8, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Participants can help make a collaborative mural, take part in dance, hear spoken word, tour “30 Americans” and TAM’s other exhibitions, and more.

“The 30 Americans Advisory Committee selected all of our fabulous participants for the festival program. It is community-driven through and through. Visitors can interact with unique activities and amazing local performing and visual artists. It is a terrific opportunity to see ’30 Americans’ before the exhibition leaves the West Coast,” said Britt Board, Associate Director of Education and Community Engagement.

A festival highlight will be “Bebop in Basquiat,” an original live musical performance by the Steve Griggs Ensemble. Listen to dynamic renditions of the jazz that inspired artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, including compositions by Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, and Miles Davis. The band will introduce tunes with biographies and references to Basquiat’s paintings. The Steve Griggs Ensemble has created original site-specific programs of jazz and stories that have twice won the ASCAP/CMA award for Adventurous Programming in Contemporary Music. They have performed at the historic Panama Hotel, Seattle Art Museum, Seattle Asian Art Museum, Bumbershoot, Jazz Alley, Vashon Island Allied Arts, and Bainbridge Island Museum of Art.

Spoken word has been very popular with TAM visitors. The festival provides another opportunity to hear relevant, powerful performances in the galleries by Seattle writer Georgia McDade and poet Jacqueline Ware, both members of the African American Writers Alliance. Listen to their tag team poetry performance while you wander through the “30 Americans” galleries.

Painter and dancer Barbi Leifert will facilitate an art-making activity inspired by dance. “When I began seriously painting and showing my work in galleries, I returned to dance as the theme of my pieces. It is what I know; dance is universal, everyone can relate to it and there is a dancer inside each of us. The African American community’s contributions to dance, art and music are a triumph we have all enjoyed,” she said. Leifert’s project will be followed by a dance-along with Chris Daigre, a major force in the Seattle dance scene, with music created by African American musicians.

Visitors can make transformational masks at the Breaking Stereotypes/Redefining Identity workshop led by Beverly Naidus and Carol Rashawnna Williams. They’ll talk about how media and institutions can shape stereotypical thinking. Workshop participants will explore the stereotypes they’ve encountered, then envision new ways of thinking about identity through the mask making process. Pre-registration for this workshop is encouraged.

Shurvon Haynes of Shurvon Shaynlincia Fashion and Fine Arts Designs will lead a collaborative mural project in the TAM Studio. Haynes is a visual artist whose style varies according to supplies and mood as she makes collage assemblage paintings.

The last day to see “30 Americans” is Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017. For more information, visit online:


– Tacoma Art Museum