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Zita Cousens is the owner of the Cousen Rose Gallery located in Oak Bluffs, MA on the famed Circuit Avenue. Ms. Cousens was recently interviewed by the Martha’s Vineyard Magazine. In her article she discusses how Delilah W. Pierce and her dear friend Lois Mailou Jones, artist were among the first exhibitors. Please read her article: Zita Cousens: Her Oak Bluffs gallery is in its thirtieth year and going strong. Delilah held exhibitions their from 1980 to 1992. She was very involved in the Martha’s Vineyard art community, holding exhibitions from 1960 to 1992 at the Cousen Rose and Old Sculpin galleries to name a few. Delilah W. Pierce and her family have vacationed on Martha’s Vineyard for 5 generations.
To view more about Delilah W. Pierce and the history of African Americans on Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket please view: African-Americans on Martha’s Vineyard & Nantucket. The book was authored by Robert C. and Karen E. Hayden, and published by Select Publications and the University of Wisconsin – Madison, 1999.
- Delilah W. Pierce Mentioned In The Dorothy West Martha’s Vineyard
- Delilah W. Pierce Gave A Talk To Harvard Radcliffe Club
- Delilah W. Pierce Illustrates Cottagers Cookbook
- Jessica B. Harris Mentions Delilah W. Pierce In The Martha’s Vineyard Table
In the December 26, 1957 issue of Jet Magazine Delilah W. Pierce helped promote Earl Hooks’ and James A. Porter’s painting and ceramic exhibit at Howard University.
James A. Porter was the head of Howard’s art department at the time and the director of Howard’s art gallery. Mr. Porter would go on to receive the Lady Bird Johnson award for being one of the best art teachers in the nation.
Earl Hooks at the time was a new comer and a teacher in Washington, DC. Mr. Hooks went on to chair the art department at Fisk University.
Click to view Jet Magazine’s article: View Art Exhibit.
The June 12, 1937 issue of The Afro American mentions Delilah W. Pierce as attending the surprise baby shower of Gladys S. Roberts. Delilah was very active in the Phi Delta Kappa Sorority.
Click to view: Ms. Gladys S. Roberts Surprised With Shower.
Delilah W. Pierce is mentioned in the African American Almanac, authored by Lean’tin Bracks. Reviewer Emily Rose Compton-Dzak wrote:
Bracks chronicles the African American experience from the arrival of the first Africans to North America in the early 1600s to the present day. The almanac is organized into 12 chapters: “Africans in America”; “Civil Rights”; “Politics”; “Education”; “Religion”; “Literature”; “Business Entrepreneurs/Media”; “Performing and Visual/Applied Arts”; “Music”; “Science, Technology, Inventors, and Explorers”; “Sports”; and “Military.” Each chapter includes an essay and a collection of “biographies of individuals who have made progress and positive change possible.” Black-and-white photographs and illustrations are found throughout.
Learn more about the: African American Almanac: 400 Years of Triumph, Courage, and Excellence.
Jet Magazine always dedicated a section to activities within the African American community around the country. In 1975 their June edition promoted an exhibit held by Georgette Seabrooke Powell and the DC Art Association. Delilah W. Pierce was one of the exhibitors. This exhibition was held to show the diversity within the African American visual arts community.
The Barnett Aden Gallery, founded in 1943 by James Vernon Herring (1897-1969) and Alonzo Aden (1906-1961), was the first privately owned African American gallery in the United States. It was located in Washington, DC.
Delilah W. Pierce held exhibitions their in 1958, 1959, and 1960 and was actively involved with The Barnett Aden Gallery.
In 1985 Keith Morrison, artist, educator, curator, art critic, and administrator authored: Art in Washington and its Afro-American Presence: 1940-1970. The book was published by the Washington Project for the Arts in 1985. His book, in part, helped to canonize The Barnett Aden Gallery and their important impact on African American artists in the mid to late 20 century. His book is in university libraries throughout the United States and the world.
According to Dr. Janet Gail Abbott and the research compiled in her December 2008 dissertation The Barnett Aden Gallery A Home For Diversity In A Segregated City:
The Barnett Aden…remained the most prominent local throughout the forties…[and] when an early exhibition at the Barnet Aden drew artists and friends from other cities, a local reviewer wrote that “Alma Thomas, Delilah W. Pierce, and Lucille D. Roberts…assisted in receiving the week-end guests….”
Click to learn how you can view Keith Morrison’s book: Art In Washington and Its Afro-American Presence: 1940-1970
Click to visit Keith Morrison’s website: Art In Washington And It’s Afro-American Presence: 1940-1970
Click to read more about Dr. Gail Abbott’s paper: The Barnett Aden Gallery A Home For Diversity In A Segregated City:
Delilah W. Pierce and Alma W. Thomas were dear friends and cohorts. According to family representatives of Ms. Pierce, they recall them attending many luncheons, events, and exhibitions together. Delilah W. Pierce was mentioned in the Alma Thomas papers (1894-2000) as part of her Little Paris Group, 1948, and on her Wikipedia page:
“Thomas and Pierce would drive into the countryside where Thomas would seek inspiration, pulling ideas from the effects of light and atmosphere on rural environments.”
In September of 1998 Alma W. Thomas published: Alma W. Thomas: A Retrospective of the Paintings and included Delilah W. Pierce in the book.
Click to read and (or) download: Alma W. Thomas: A Retrospective of the Paintings
Delilah W. Pierce’s Artwork Featured In Exhibition 1974-75 At the Anacostia Neighborhood Museum-Smithsonian Institution
Delilah W. Pierce led by example and was an advocate for lifting up underserved communities. That’s why she was a fierce supporter of The Anacostia Neighborhood Museum. According to the Smithsonian Institution Archives:
The Anacostia Neighborhood Museum opened on September 15, 1967, in the historic Carver Theater in Anacostia, Washington, DC, as a “store-front museum” to reach underserved communities. In 1987, the museum relocated to a new building at 1901 Fort Place SE, Washington, DC. In 2006, it was renamed the Anacostia Community Museum.
Delilah W. Pierce regularly exhibited from 1968 to 1989 (Click to view Delilah’s list of exhibitions). The program from the 1974-1975 exhibition may be viewed by clicking: Delilah W. Pierce’s Artwork Featured In Exhibition 1974-75 At the Anacostia Neighborhood Museum-Smithsonian Institution.
The Washington Water Color Association is holding its Spring Art Exhibition from March 5 to May 31 2013 at the Woman’s National Democratic Club. Delilah was an active member during her life and regularly exhibited. Delilah W. Pierce served as their Vice President 1974 ‑ 1976, Treasurer 1978 to 1983, Board Member 1974 ‑ 1983, Elected Honorary Member and Exhibits Chairman in 1983.
In 1971 Delilah W. Pierce gave a talk at the Harvard Club of Cape Cod (formerly Harvard Radcliffe Club of Cape Cod) in Hyannis, MA. Jet magazine featured her in their Remembrances From Oak Bluffs section. This was very big news in New England.