February is Black History Month!
At The Center, we’re all about bringing the community together to discover, create, and celebrate the arts….and this month, we’ll be celebrating the work & achievements of black artists we’ve had the pleasure of hosting at The Center!
Without further ado, here they are:
Grandmaster Flash is an American hip hop legend. The art form as we know it today couldn’t exist without his contributions to it. He is considered to be one of the pioneers of musical techniques that give hip hop its unique sound – cutting, scratching, DJing, and mixing.
Grandmaster Flash and his group, the Furious Five, were are best known for their song The Message (feat. Melle Mel, 1982) – a song that blends Grandmaster Flash’s unique methods with social commentary on the difficult realities of living as an impoverished black person in NYC.
At the time of it’s release, the song was the first of its kind to make such a clear and loud social statement. Nevertheless, its a statement that continues to be made by rappers and hip hop artists still today. Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five were honored to be inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.
Therman Statom, pioneer of the contemporary glass movement, is most notable for his glass installations, life-size constructions, and small-scale glass houses. Dientos de Naturalesa is a glass sculpture reminiscent of the landscape of Escondido, its abstracted imagery references the city’s orange groves. This artwork, housed in the Museum’s permanent collection, is indicative of much of Statom’s work, including spontaneous vibrant colors and blown-glass elements.
Statom was the Museum’s artist in residence for 2006. He was featured in the Museum’s exhibition Through the Looking Glass, which highlighted his impressive life-size glass ladders, chairs, and buildings.
Image credit: Therman Statom, Dientos de Naturalesa
Photo credit: Therman Statom by Denise Kang
For 30 years and counting, En Vogue has achieved this pinnacle on nothing but pure talent. En Vogue has sold more than 30 million records worldwide to date, and are often considered one of the best female vocal groups of all time.
Their first big single, Hold On from their debut album “Born to Sing” took the world by storm, not just because of the groups tremendous vocal power and ability, but also for representing black women in the R&B community.
The Center hosted En Vogue at the Drive-In at Cal State San Marcos on November 22, 2020 – just after they performed at the 2020 Billboard Music Awards to celebrate the group’s 30th anniversary.
American treasure and guitar legend, Buddy Guy is here to remind us that the blues are alive and well!
At eighty-four years old, this Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee has left his mark on the industry through his historic sound and influence on guitarists like Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and John Mayor. His music style takes a unique spin on soul, rock and free jazz while remaining true to the heart of the blues.
Buddy Guy grew up in Louisiana where he crafted his very first instrument through stripping wires out of mosquito screens and stringing them tightly between two cans – the beginning of a long, successful career. Years later, Guy’s talent was discovered by Muddy Waters after performing at a club in Chicago.
Guy has been ranked on Rolling Stone magazine’s “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time,” and recently won the 2019 Grammy for Best Traditional Blues Album which features Mick Jagger, James Bay, Keith Richards, and Jeff Beck.
Johnny Coleman is a critically acclaimed artist known for his powerful installations, including one housed in the Museum’s very own permanent collection!
Stories Not Yet Spoken: Memory of Gasping was created for the Museum’s exhibition California: A Second Glance. This installation includes the elements that are trademarks of the artist’s work: intimacy, metaphor, and memories. The piece is based on Coleman’s years spent in the California orange groves, making visible both the beauty and the struggle for survival that permeated that existence.
Image Caption: Johnny Coleman, Stories Not Yet Spoken: Memory of Gasping, 1999
Photo: Johnny Coleman by John Seyfried
About the California Center for the Arts, Escondido
A 501(c)3 charitable organization, the Center’s creation was sparked by a civic vision—one that recognized the vital role that the arts play in strengthening and uniting the community. Our commitment to enriching lives and improving access to the arts, especially for low-income individuals and families, is exemplified through our extensive educational programming and robust series of free community events. The Center is guided by an enthusiastic Board of Trustees and passionate staff who are dedicated to furthering arts education and access, and to creating programs that provide cultural enrichment for residents of North County and beyond.
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