In addition, The Rutgers Club is hosting Rutgers alum and artist Alonzo Adams and musicians from the Hub City Jazz Festival for an event Saturday afternoon
The Zimmerli Art Museum is involved in two events this week at Rutgers University–New Brunswick celebrating Black History Month.
On Thursday, the Zimmerli hosts SparkNight, a free monthly art party that will include tours of exhibitions featuring works by Alonzo Adams, a Rutgers alumnus; Didier William, a Rutgers assistant professor of expanded print at the Mason Gross School of the Arts; and the late Paul Gardère, a Haitian American mixed-media artist.
“We are thrilled to welcome visitors for our first SparkNight of 2024, celebrating the start of Black History Month,” said Zimmerli Director Maura Reilly. “The evening’s programming and activities will inspire visitors to explore the entire museum with friends and family, while also engaging with the Zimmerli’s exhibitions that showcase the work of Black artists.”
SparkNight, which also will feature step and stroll performances by Zone de Oriente and Sigma Lambda Gamma, an interactive art making workshop, raffles and music by The IZM (a music artist, producer and DJ), is set from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 1, at the Zimmerli, 71 Hamilton St., New Brunswick. Complimentary light refreshments will be available at the event, which is free and open to the public.
In addition to SparkNight, The Rutgers Club is collaborating with the Zimmerli and Hub City Jazz to present another Black History Month celebration, The Griot and Jazz, on Saturday, Feb. 3, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
The event will feature Adams and musicians from the Hub City Jazz Festival, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Organizers said the event will include a brief tour of the Zimmerli followed by a reception at The Rutgers Club, 85 Avenue E, Piscataway.
Born in Harlem, New York, and raised in Plainfield, Adams earned his bachelor of fine arts degree from Mason Gross in 1984. He was one of the first inductees of the Rutgers African-American Alumni Alliance Hall of Fame in 2004. The artist – whose exhibition at the Zimmerli, Alonzo Adams: A Griot’s Vision, runs through Sunday, Feb. 25 – discussed the upcoming Black History Month events, fellow griots (storytellers) who inspire him and what he’s been working on lately.
What does it mean to be a part of these events celebrating Black history month?
It is a great time to see friends and fellowship with the community, to share my artistry and my journey.
Who are some of your favorite Black artists in the U.S.?
My life was impacted by Charles White. Upon seeing his work in 1979, it changed my world. I was also inspired by Henry Ossawa Tanner, Edward Bannister, Aaron Douglas and Romare Bearden.
What have you been working on lately?
A few new series are in the pipeline. Finishing the Code Blue series. Working on Back In The Day series.
What stirs your artistic fire?
Life and travel fuel the fire and feed the soul.
Author, poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou was a mentor. What advice did she give you back in the day?
“Go out in the world. Soak it up like a sponge. Return to the studio and wring it out.”
You’ve maintained strong ties with your alma mater. Why is that important?
My years at Rutgers were the beginning of my life-learning years, my growing years. The time I spent there makes me smile. When I can inspire and give back, I do.