For Immediate Release: “The History and the Hair Story: 400 Years Without A Comb”

Escondido, California — :

“The History and the Hair Story: 400 Years Without A Comb”
Curated by Starla Lewis
January 16 – March 6, 2016

Exclusive Media & Member-Only Opening Reception
Friday, January 15, 2016
5:30pm – 7:30pm

Escondido, CA — Wednesday, November 11, 2015 – Opening on January 16, 2016, and stemming through the entire month of February 2016 (Black History Month) until March 6, 2016, the unveiling of “The History and the Hair Story: 400 Years Without A Comb” takes place at The Museum at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido. The exhibition transforms The Museum into a journey through pivotal events in our country’s history. Coinciding with the origin of civilization to the civil rights movement to our present culture, the comb’s untold story takes the spotlight by way of 400 years worth of artifacts, photography, historical accounts, propaganda and more!


“The History and the Hair Story” examines 400 years of changing hairstyles, and corresponding historical and political climates that led to them. The exhibit follows hair trends from Africa, into the slave trade, through the civil rights movement, and to modern times to find that hair, across cultures, is irrepressibly linked to identity and individuality. “The History and the Hair Story” features hair implements, products, advertisements, artifacts, and original artwork and photos. Starla Lewis, Professor of Black History at San Diego Mesa College and frequent guest curator and lecturer at the Women’s Museum of California, curates the exhibition.


Among the local artists who’ve been invited to tell their own Hair story is African American entrepreneur, barber, writer, business owner, self-taught chemist and pioneer in the field of African American hair care, Dr. Willie L. Marrow. He presents his extensive collection showing that old flattening irons and wooden combs tell a crucial story about the black experience, slavery and the economic empowerment of African Americans. Marrow dedicated his life to African American hair care and style through the creation of hair relaxers, chemical-free creams, the Jheri curl (a glossy, loosely curled look popular in the ‘80s), and the Afro pick comb.


Marrow has been featured on magazine covers, as well as in San Diego Daily Transcript, San Diego Union-Tribune, and San Diego Voice & Viewpoint. On the walls of his office, he displays many of these clippings to encourage others that they also can prosper. At the age of 71, Marrow has successfully been able to highlight his life’s journey and the history of hair through long-standing dedication to African American hair.


An exclusive media and members-only Opening Reception will be held at The Museum on Friday, January 15, 2016 from 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm — the evening prior to the public kick-off of the exhibition. Please join curator Starla Lewis and various artists showcasing their works for a special preview of “The History and the Hair Story.” For all media interested in attending the reception, please RSVP directly to Jesse P. Cutler by Tuesday, January 12, 2016 by emailing


The Museum at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido is an inviting 9,000-square-foot exhibition space boasting three galleries, a sculpture court, secure collections storage, and a museum store. During exhibitions, the Museum is open Thursdays – Saturdays (10 am – 4 pm), and Sundays (1 pm – 4 pm). Tickets are $8; members and children under 12 get in free. Senior (60+), military and student discounts are available. For more information, please call (760) 839-4138 or visit:

In honor of Museum Month, the Center Museum will offer 2-for-1 admission up to four people to anyone who has picked-up a Museum Month Pass at a participating San Diego Macy’s store during the month of February 2016. For more information, please call (760) 839-4178 or visit:




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.

You can join this inspiring mission by becoming a donor.  Visit or email to start a conversation about how you or your company can make a difference right here and right now in your arts community.


Media Contact:

Marketing Office |


Back to the news release index

Share This News Release: