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For Immediate Release
College Park, MD August 20, 2015 – Beginning September 27, 2015 Delilah W. Pierce Natural Perspective opens at the University of Maryland University College Arts Program Gallery. The show runs to January 3, 2016. On November 8, 2015, from 3 pm to 5 pm, there will be a panel discussion and reception at the College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center featuring Floyd Coleman, Ph.D., Art Historian, Jerry Langley, Art Collector, Author, Wanda Spence, Great-Niece of Artist, and Myrtis Bedolla, Owner, Galerie Myrtis.
Delilah W. Pierce, born in 1904, 34 years after the American Industrial Revolution (1820-1870), was an African American artist and Washington, DC native who, through her body of work, helped to expand western thought about what African American art and subject matter was at the time. Delilah captured what was beautiful, simple, and innocent in the world. Her usage of figurative to abstract subject matter was inspired by her ability to see prosperity and opportunity during Jim Crow and mass lynching. Art critic Judith Means agrees:
“The way she perceives the world, with joy and optimism, and the stunning clarity of her finely-developed aesthetic sense are integral not only to her character but also to the vivid visual textures of her work.”
Join the Arts Program at University of Maryland University College for an art exhibition showcasing the works of Delilah W. Pierce. Delilah W. Pierce also worked in D.C. public schools for more than 25 years to provide artistic training to the next generation of artists.
You are invited to experience the art of Delilah W. Pierce, as well as take a journey through the life and artistic expression of one of Washington, DC’s rediscovered artists, educators, curators, and advocates. To RSVP: www.umuc.edu/artrsvp.
Office of the President
University Arts Program
3501 University Boulevard East, Suite 0144
Adelphi, MD 20783-8000
Delilah W. Pierce is mentioned in Black Women of the Harlem Renaissance Era. In the chapter about close friend, Lois Mailou Jones, artist, it was said that it was her membership in The District of Columbia Art Association (DCAA) that, “provided long-standing bonds with such artists as Delilah W. Pierce, Peter L. Robinson Jr…and Alma Thomas.”
Read more: Black Women of the Harlem Renaissance Era.
Black Women of the Harlem Renaissance was edited by Lean’tin L. Bracks and Jessie Carney Smith. It was published in 2014 by Rowman & Littlefield.
Delilah W. Pierce in Smithsonian Year: Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for the Year Ended September 30
Delilah W. Pierce was very involved with the Smithsonian Institution throughout her life. In 1992 Delilah was published in: Delilah W. Pierce in Smithsonian Year: Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for the Year Ended September 30. The author was the Smithsonian Institution and was published by the Smithsonian Institution Press in 1992.
Known as the Gold Coast, the upper NW Washington, DC neighborhood is well respected for its affluent African American dwellers. Joseph and Delilah W. Pierce were among the select group.
Delilah and her Gold Coast dwellers had a club called The Neighbors and they regularly got together to socialize, especially during the holiday. It was an annual event at Fort McNair. Many in the African American social elite considered The Neighbors holiday party to be the season kickoff event.
Click to read: Bright and Jolly – I’m Cutting Holly By Nikki Nakatani.
Delilah W. Pierce Exhibited At A Tribute For The First African American Painter Of Note – Lois Mailou Jones At Martin Luther King Library, 1979
In February of 1979 Delilah W. Pierce was asked to exhibit at a tribute to artist Lois Mailou Jones (November 3, 1905 – June 9, 1998) held at the Martin Luther King Library in Washington, DC. Lois Mailou Jones and Delilah W. Pierce were more than peers in the visual arts. They both summered and have homes on Martha’s Vineyard Island, and in Washington, DC, they traveled the world together to share their talents with the international community; and were advocates of education, women’s rights, civil rights, and human rights. Ms. Jones is also buried in Oak Bluffs Cemetery (Martha’s Vineyard) where they both remain a fixture in the rich history of that island. Lois Mailou Jones was a leader in expanding black art perceptions, and art perceptions as a whole.
Afro American reporter Charles Hall wrote in his 1979 article:
“More and more, she [Lois Mailou Jones] is being called America’s first black female painter of note. Edmonia Lewis, sculptor, Augusta Savage, sculptor, and Laura Waring, portraitist, were among the women who preceded her and proves their skills in several media.
None, however, dealt exclusively and masterfully with all phases of painting.”
Ms. Jones’ paintings can be found at The Boston Museum of Fine Arts (Boston, MA), Hirshhorn Museum (Washington, DC), and in Dr. Bill Cosby’s private collection to name a few.
- Lois Mailou Jones exhibit features ‘Black Women’ By Charles Hall (Baltimore Afro-American)
- Who is Lois Mailou Jones?
- Delilah W. Pierce Very Much Part Of Black Arts Movement: Expanding Black Identity Perceptions
- Delilah W. Pierce Mentioned In Recent Martha’s Vineyard Magazine Article
- Delilah W Pierce Featured In: Six Washington Masters
- Delilah W. Pierce Featured In The Art of Black American Women
Delilah W. Pierce and her life with Joseph Pierce highlighted in The Afro American’s column Pearlie’s Prattle.
Learn more by reading: Pearlie’s Prattle.
Delilah W. Pierce hosted a planning meeting of the Phi Delta Kappa sorority at her home in the Washington, DC Gold Coast – A nickname for the community of Washington, DC’s African American elite. At the time, the president was Mr. Olivia Henry, educator and fierce advocate for African American young people understanding the importance of education.
Click to view: Mrs. Henry Aids Conclave Plans.
Delilah W. Pierce spent the holiday season attending the conclave of the Phi Delta Kappa Sorority, held in Chicago. It was promoted in The Afro American on January 9, 1937.
Click to view: Delilah W. Pierce Attends Chicago Phi Delta Kappa Conclave.
In the December 19, 1936 Afro American an announcement was published highlighting the marriage of Delilah with Joseph L. Pierce. This was 1930’s African American society at its best. The wedding was performed by the Reverend Walter H. Brooks who was a religious scholar and at the time pastor of the Nineteenth Baptist Church, the first African American Baptist church of Washington, DC.
Click to read the 1936 Afro American Article: Married Saturday.
Delilah W. Pierce & Her Connection To The First African American Admitted To The National Press Club
Reporter Louis Lautier, who, according the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, is known for being an advocate who successfully achieved integrating the Senate and House press galleries in 1947. Mr. Lautier covered the life of Delilah W. Pierce and highlighted her in his Afro American newspaper Capital Spotlight column. At the time Mr. Lautier was working as a freelance journalist. Mr. Lautier referred to Delilah W. Pierce as a “schoolmarm” when he announced her marriage to Joseph L. Pierce. He also followed her work as the president and delegate of the Phi Delta Kappa sorority. Louis Lautier was also the first African American admitted to the National Press Club.
Click image thumbnails below to review his 1936 & 1947 articles: