Palm Springs Art Museum to host Black History Month programming in February

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The Palm Springs Art Museum will celebrate Black History Month in February featuring a student performance, a concert, a historical conversation and presentation and public talk with a local artist.

Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Adam Lerner told The Desert Sun the plan for Black History Month was proposed by Manager of School and Community Programs Hilary Roberts.

"I thought it was a great idea and it coincides with my vision of having deep relationships with communities, and doing public programs that connect us to various communities," Lerner said.

The Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Springs, Calif., will feature programming during February in observance of Black History Month.
The Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Springs, Calif., will feature programming during February in observance of Black History Month.

On Feb. 3, the James O. Jessie Desert Highland Unity Center Drill Team and Drum Squad will kick things off at an opening reception, celebrating Black artists on view and highlights from the museum collection.

Local R&B and smooth jazz band The E&J Movement will perform on Feb. 10. The band will play Motown classics and share the history of the songs. Some of the band's members performed and took part in the recording sessions with many artists on the legendary Detroit R&B label.

Palm Springs Historical Society Director of Education and Associate Curator Renee Brown will present a timeline and historical perspective of decisions made by federal, state and local governments, and the Cahuilla Indians, on the development of the City of Palm Springs on Feb. 17.

On Feb. 24, Desert Hot Springs artist Deborah McDuff Williams will do a public talk titled "People Who Filled Their Seats" on Black American historical figures who paved the way for those who "filled important seats" in Black history. Her work will also be on display on the main level of the museum.

The events are part of the museum's Free Thursday Nights program, which is supported by the City of Palm Springs, but all visitors must make a reservation online at psmuseum.org. Proof of vaccination is required for all patrons.

Palm Springs Art Museum Executive Director and CEO Adam Lerner, left, and Annenberg Theater Committee co-chair David Zippel converse about plans for the future of the Palm Springs Art Museum inside the Annenberg Theater in Palm Springs, Calif., on December 6, 2021.
Palm Springs Art Museum Executive Director and CEO Adam Lerner, left, and Annenberg Theater Committee co-chair David Zippel converse about plans for the future of the Palm Springs Art Museum inside the Annenberg Theater in Palm Springs, Calif., on December 6, 2021.

Lerner, who assumed his position with the museum last summer, did a presentation for donors at the Annenberg Theater last December. He shared plans for future programming, which includes an upcoming exhibition by Howard Smith, a Black U.S. Army veteran and artist who lived and worked in Finland.

During a Q&A with patrons, he was asked if there's an outreach strategy to attract new members of the community and he replied the target audience is current residents in the Coachella Valley, including those who are "underrepresented."

"I come to this from a place of privilege, we need to be humble and reach out to audiences that are less privileged," Lerner said. "That's one part of us that currently lives here. But there's also the second part, which is 'What is the valley becoming?' I feel like that's very important to me as well."

Desert Sun reporter Brian Blueskye covers arts and entertainment. He can be reached at brian.blueskye@desertsun.com or on Twitter at @bblueskye. Support local news, subscribe to The Desert Sun.

This article originally appeared on Palm Springs Desert Sun: Palm Springs Art Museum to host Black History Month programming in February

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