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DC Phillips Collection : Jacob Lawrence

The Phillips Collection Museum in Washington, DC is now hosting an exhibition of the full works of The Migration Series by artist Jacob Lawrence. The exhibit features the entire 60-painting series by Lawrence depicting the movement of African Americans from the South to states up North.

The poignancy of the work still reaches audiences today, especially in the MidAtlantic. The region is home to several legendary civil rights activists and abolitionists, like Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman who are both from Maryland, and includes some of the major areas to which African Americans migrated, comprising parts of Pennsylvania and New York.

Because the paintings themselves are organized as one might compile the pages of a book, when you visit the exhibit, you are really going in to “read” about American history. Even with little knowledge of the U.S. black experience, museum goers of every culture will find something they can relate to. Whether your family history hails of Irish migration during the potato famine, European migration during the World Wars, or today’s Mexican migration to the U.S, all encompass the themes of hope and the pursuit of a better life, which were the impetus for African Americans’ own migration in the U.S. from the South to the North.

The exhibit runs now through October 26, 2008. Admission is just $12 and may be purchased either at the Phillips Collection museum or online via Ticketmaster.

When planning your visit, try to go on Thursday or Sunday. At 6pm and 7pm on Thursdays, the Phillips Collection museum hosts discussions with artists and scholars about featured works. In the month of May, the museum focuses on the Jacob Lawrence Migration Series exhibit. This will be a great time to get an in depth look at the story and technique behind Lawrence’s work.

On Sundays, the Phillips Collection museum hosts an afternoon classical music concert series. Recent performances have included solo cellists, violinists, and flutists as well as ensemble works. The focus tends to remain on the highly popular string instruments, however. For more creative works, visit the Kennedy Center.

Both the weekday evening discussions and the Sunday concert series are included with the $12 admission price to the Jacob Lawrence exhibit, making it a very good deal. It’s an excellent option for those looking to get the most of their dollars and their days.


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