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The Renderings exhibition produced with the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas in February through April 2009 was one of several aspects of the ongoing African American Legacy Project (AALP) begun at California State University Monterey Bay in 2007 with the Carrie Mae Weems residency. AALP is a partnership between CSUMB’s Visual and Public Art department, the Music and Performing Arts department and the National Steinbeck Center.  Through community gatherings and early interviews we have begun a focus on the history and contributions of the African American community of the Central Coast.  This exhibition was a beginning story of the rich community and its roots in early California. This is an on-going exploration of archival materials, interviews, memorabilia and student artwork touching on areas of the military presence, the educational leadership, the historic church community and issues of desegregation and housing. 
AALP Soundtrack concept and artwork by VPA student Rachel Zwolenkiewicz

Click on each thumbnail below to see a larger pop-up image:
To initiate the exhibit we hosted Recordings, a conference on the African American presence in California and the Americas with a focus on our own regional history followed by a celebration of Black arts and culture. The conference was opened by the keynote of Dr. Quintard Taylor who spoke on the "The African American Search for the California Dream". This informative Keynote was followed by a series of panel discussions including, "The African Diaspora in the New World and the African American” with CSUMB faculty. The second panel,Memories and Reflections” moderated by Dr. John Berteaux and panelists and local participants Mrs. Helen Rucker, Mrs. Mae Johnson, and Mrs. Jannie Williams. The event also included a presentation on Centennial First Baptist Church of Pacific Grove by Reverend Nance and Mrs. Jackie Craghead. The day ended with a closing poem by Ms. Asya Guillory. The following day the National Steinbeck Center and the AALP hosted a vibrant dance performance by a West African dance troupe. We could not do this work without the partnership with National Steinbeck Center and especially Deborah Silguero and Colleen Bailey

The Renderings exhibition was on display at the National Steinbeck Center from Feb. 6-April 12, 2009. CSUMB students in the Digital Public Art Lab led by Professor Angelica Muro produced the exhibition artwork. Work by CSU Monterey Bay students focused on local African American history. The archival portraits on the home page of this web site were produced for the CSUMB 2008 Day of the Dead event honoring the African American history of California.

As a work in progress AALP will change as more interviews are completed and memorabilia collected. The continuing interviews will also provide materials for a virtual archive at CSUMB and will be edited to create a comprehensive video of the project. Research and scholarship will deepen the AALP and in the following year a more detailed exhibition of early California African American history will be presented through collaboration with leading regional history organizations.

African American Legacy Project
Acts of Reclamation • Reciprocal University for the Arts Project • Made possible with a grant from the Nathan Cummings Foundation
Project Directors: Amalia Mesa-Bains & Richard Bains • Project Coordinator: Normi Burke
Visual and Public ArtMusic and Performing Arts  • California State University, Monterey Bay 
Building 71   100 Campus Center   Seaside, CA   93955   (831) 582-3005
w e b w e r k : a r t h u r
visual and public art - csu monterey bay music and performing arts - csu monterey bay the national steinbeck center - salinas, ca the nathan cummings foundation