The Chairs & Audacious Artist Series:
Inspired by Lorraine’s quote “I suppose I think that the highest gift that man has is art, and I am audacious enough to think of myself as an artist,”
the Audacious Artist Series includes contributions from many artists.
Listen to, view, and watch these offerings with original music by Queen Drea by clicking the buttons below.
The installation is activated with multiple performance events and community engagement activities from partner organizations. All events will take place by To Sit Awhile in the Pillsbury House + Theatre’s parking lot located at 3519 Chicago Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55407.
August 26, 6:00PM: Gifted & Black with Free Black Dirt
Come take up space and luxuriate in summer sweetness. Be serenaded in Poeticisms and song and surrender to Black joy.
August 27, 11:00AM: Black Women Speak
Hansberry passed at the tender age of 34 due to pancreatic cancer. We will assess how to preserve our health and learn simple healing tools for self-preservation.
September 1 & 8, 11:00AM: Million Artist Movement
Community singing for children and families with Jayanthi. Come to learn protest songs and the Black tradition of singing together. Families will receive a coloring songbook at the events.
September 3, 2:00PM: Elder Storytelling with In Black Ink
Can we sit a while with elder storytellers reflecting on the impact of witnessing the magic of A Raisin in the Sun and the themes that came up in the play related to wealth-building, housing, and intergenerational trauma/healing?.
September 10, 3:00PM: “Letters for Lorraine” Youth Creative Writing Workshop with The Minnesota African American Heritage Museum and Gallery
Youth will write short pieces exploring and expressing the themes highlighted in Lorraine Hansberry’s work such as Black liberation, racial justice, gender equality and civil rights.
ABOUT THE LORRAINE HANSBERRY INITIATIVE AND ‘TO SIT AWHILE’:
Created by famed sculptor Alison Saar as part of the Lorraine Hansberry Initiative, To Sit Awhile is an installation that features five chairs representing different aspects of Lorraine Hansberry’s too-short life and under-recognized legacy as a playwright, journalist, and civil rights activist for Black, female and queer voices, inviting community members to “never be afraid to sit a while and think”.
The installation comes to Pillsbury House + Theatre after its launch in New York City’s Times Square and will be activated with multiple performance events and community engagement activities. To Sit Awhile is installed in PH+T’s parking lot just south of its building on Chicago Avenue where audiences last summer heralded What to Send Up When it Goes Down and solidified the parking lot as an open and inviting programming space. To Sit Awhile will also visit Washington D.C., Atlanta, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Chicago after its time in Minneapolis.
The Lorraine Hansberry Initiative is a project by The Lillys, an organization dedicated to celebrating, supporting, and advocating for women theater artists by promoting gender parity at all levels of theatrical production. The Initiative aims to keep the current national conversation about race, justice, and economic equality going by honoring Lorraine Hansberry and add to the growing movement to honor women and people of color with physical monuments, as well as alleviate the financial inequality that discourages women and non-binary playwrights of color from pursuing graduate degrees in their chosen art form. Find more information here.
ABOUT ALISON SAAR:
Alison Saar is a contemporary American artist who addresses ideas of race, gender, culture, spirituality, and humanity through her figurative sculptures and paintings. “The pieces always feel like children to me, in that they have their own personalities and their own needs and desires, and their own abilities,” Saar has said about her life-sized artworks. Often commissioned for public installations, one of his best-known works is the fantastical Spring (2011), a bronze sculpture of a young woman with tree roots growing out of her hair and butterflies adorning their branches. Born on February 5, 1956 in Los Angeles, CA, Saar earned a BA from Scripps College in 1978 and an MFA three years later from the Otis Art Institute (now Otis College of Art and Design). Though primarily a sculptor employing a variety of materials—wood, glass, metal, and found objects—the artist also creates prints and illustrations that explore themes similar to those expressed by her three-dimensional bodies. A recipient of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and Joan Mitchell Foundation Fellowships, Saar currently lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. Her work can be found in the collections of the Walker Institute in Minneapolis, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, and the High Museum in Atlanta, among others.
STAFF & CREW:
Signe V. Harriday – Artistic Producing Director
Noel Raymond – Managing Producing Director
Ayaan Natala – Community Engager and Researcher
Elizabeth MacNally – Production Manager
Elise Gumm – Marketing & Communications Manager
Aimee K. Bryant – Audacious Artist Cohort Director
Christopher Heilman – Exhibit and Environmental Designer
Queen Drea – Composer
Peter Morrow – Sound Engineering/Producing
Katie Deutsch – Technical Coordinator
Claudia Errikson – TARC Step Up Coordinator
Jay Peña, Zora Hankin, Elie Pitman, Kayla (Kendreanna) Williams, Windy/Patxeng Vang – TARC Step-Up Youth