About this project
Your contribution will be used to create a video documentary to inspire U.S. and European museums to host the Beauford Delaney: Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color exhibition in 2017.
Let's Keep the Momentum Going!
We've raised $5000 in less than three weeks and are sure that we can make the video documentary to support the marketing proposal for the exhibition. THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
I’ve already begun consulting with documentary filmmakers regarding the editing process. Based on their input, I now realize that the number of hours of work to prepare the documentation required to guide the editor in his or her work is much more than anticipated.
If we are able to get a second pair of eyes to look at the raw video clips to make notations of content, key personalities, and times for each event, we’ll be able to get the video made even more quickly!
To cover the cost of this additional labor, we’re aiming to raise $1250. And we’re already off to a great start!
Please pledge and help us reach this stretch goal!
Who was Beauford Delaney?
Beauford Delaney (1901 - 1979) was a consummate artist and a warm-hearted man. He was a great teacher and a great listener. He was psychologically troubled, yet a profound inspiration to many. His life and his talent were gifts to the world.
1953 - Photo by Carl Van Vechten
Born in Knoxville, Tennessee, Delaney was an exceptional modernist painter. He spent the last 26 years of his life in Paris, France, where he produced many of the most powerful abstract expressionist and figurative works of his career. He died a pauper and was buried in an unmarked grave in a cemetery outside the city.
James Baldwin owed a great deal to his friendship with Beauford Delaney. In The Price of the Ticket, Baldwin pays tribute to this man, whose unshakable example of “courage and integrity, humility and passion” gave him the strength to survive and the ability to hope for a future.
Delaney’s work is found in the collections of some of the most prestigious museums in the U.S.:
- Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
- Museum of Modern Art, New York
- Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
- Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago
- National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC
- Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC.
The French government owns Delaney paintings, as does the Centre Pompidou, France’s National Contemporary Art Museum. But the artist’s work has yet to achieve the widespread international acclaim that it deserves.
Why am I passionate about the life and art of Beauford Delaney?
Monique and Beauford's Untitled (1957) Oil on canvas
at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, France
Photo © Discover Paris!
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator
For over six years, I have worked tirelessly to preserve and increase awareness of Beauford Delaney’s legacy. I first learned about him in 2009, when I was researching an article about African-American gravesites in and around Paris.
Through information provided by a few of Beauford's personal friends (none of whom lived in France), I discovered that he was buried in an unmarked grave in a cemetery outside of Paris.
Because the concession (a sort of "lease") on the grave had gone unpaid for over 25 years, Beauford's remains were scheduled to be exhumed and either placed in a common grave or cremated and scattered in a garden at the cemetery. When I reported this information to his friends, they asked if they could pay the money to keep the grave intact.
After much bureaucratic wrangling, the Paris cemetery system exceptionally agreed to allow Beauford's friends to pay the "back rent" for the concession. I submitted the money on their behalf.
Overjoyed by this accomplishment, Beauford's friends decided that they wanted to place a tombstone at the gravesite and they asked me to investigate the cost and the administrative procedures required. By this time, I was no longer researching an article, but rather, working with people who were passionately trying to honor the memory of a dear friend.
These friends of Beauford infused me with their passion and I founded the French non-profit association called Les Amis de Beauford Delaney (Friends of Beauford Delaney) to raise money to place a tombstone at his gravesite. Les Amis raised the money required and the stone was laid in 2010.
To raise awareness of Beauford's story in support of the fundraising effort, I began blogging about him. I soon found that to be able to understand the man, I needed to understand his art. This is where my passion for Beauford's work began. I continue to write about his life and art today.
In 2015, Les Amis de Beauford Delaney succeeded in having two commemorative plaques installed in the Paris neighborhood where Beauford lived and worked.
But since 2013, I have felt that the ultimate tribute to Beauford would be to mount an exhibition of his work in Paris. With the help of many partners, I was able to organize Beauford Delaney: Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color in 2016.
Catalog cover for Beauford Delaney: Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color
A groundbreaking exhibition of works from private collections!
Hosted by Columbia Global Centers | Paris (Columbia University’s Paris facility), Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color consisted of over 40 paintings and works on paper from private collections in the Paris area. Most of them had never been seen by the general public prior to this show.
The exhibition was originally scheduled for February 4-29, 2016. Due to the overwhelmingly positive response it generated, Columbia Global Centers asked us to extend through March 15, 2016!
Where are we going from here?
On the heels of this success, we intend to take the show to museums in the U.S. and Europe to further extend its remarkable impact. To encourage museums to host it, we’re creating a video documentary that presents the artist, the works displayed, and the accompanying educational and cultural programming (see the section on the exhibition's impact below).
We'll use the hours of video footage and hundreds of photographs from the eight events that we hosted during the exhibition to create the documentary.
And we need your help to do it!
Why does this exhibition have such tremendous and far-reaching impact?
The exhibition was the inaugural event for my U.S. non-profit organization called Wells International Foundation (WIF). It integrated three of WIF’s six Strategic Focus Areas – the arts, study abroad, and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) education, with the intent to:
- preserve and increase awareness of the Beauford Delaney’s legacy
- showcase the work of a group of study abroad students that unites art with technology
- champion the STEM to STEAM movement by demonstrating how Art supports education in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
In partnership with Blippar for Education (an Augmented Reality technology company) and Professor Bryan Carter of the University of Arizona, WIF invited six U of A students to Paris to create a digital application for the exhibition, which they uploaded to Blippar's online platform. Five of the students had never traveled abroad before so the trip was especially enriching for them.
University of Arizona Students, Professor Bryan Carter (far right), and Monique (front left)
The group worked brilliantly as a team during a single session that took place just two days prior to the opening reception, recording video augments for 20 of the works that were part of the exhibition. On opening night, they proudly demonstrated their work and spent the evening helping the attendees with smart phones download the app and “blipp” paintings. Some 300 persons attended the event.
“Blipping” a painting
Because Blippar works with images as well as the original works, persons who have access to the exhibition catalog can also benefit from the app. It is an innovation that embodies a unique and valuable marriage between art and technology. The catalog is bilingual English/French, which makes it valuable for language arts as well!
The Global Educator Program (GEP), produced by J Rêve International in partnership with the Wells International Foundation and Les Amis de Beauford Delaney, was also an integral part of the Beauford Delaney: Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color exhibition. GEP is an ongoing initiative to equip teachers with the global competencies and connections necessary to bring an international arts perspective to their schools.
For this second edition of the Global Educator Program, seven teachers from the U.S. arrived in Paris to pursue professional development training in STEAM education. Their program featured Delaney’s work as the primary artistic focus.
“Selfie” of Global Educator Program “Meet and Greet” Participants; J Rêve International founder Jacqueline Cofield (front row, far right), and Monique Y. Wells (front row, second from left) © J Rêve International
Educators were introduced to Blippar’s Augmented Reality technology via Webinar with the company’s Head of Education Community Projects. They then experienced the technology firsthand by accessing the augments recorded by the University of Arizona students. They have taken exhibition catalogs home to their school districts so they can demonstrate to their colleagues how Blippar works and consider how they can use the technology for projects in their classrooms.
What will the money be used for?
We intend to raise $5000 to support the post-production of the documentary and to cover the cost of a brokering service to introduce the exhibition to up to five U.S. and European museums.
- $1500: producer
- $1350: editing rough cuts
- $900: editing final version
- $550: formatting, rendering, uploading
- $700: brokering service
When will all this happen?
Ideally, the first showing of the itinerant exhibition will take place during Spring-Summer 2017. Believe it or not, this does not leave us much time! We need to have the video ready by July 2016 to maximally accommodate the work of the brokering service.
What you'll get when you support our cause
All reward levels: A preview of the video before we make it available to the public.
$5 My thank you and a handsome B&W photo portrait of Beauford Delaney (jpg image) taken by Carl Van Vechten a few weeks before he set sail for France in 1953. I love this photo – it is one of the best I’ve ever seen of him!
$10 My personalized thank you and a collage (jpg image) of two portraits and two abstracts from the Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color exhibition. This will illustrate the versatility of style and the broad palette that make Beauford’s work so unique.
$25 My personalized thank you and a jpg image of the signature abstract painting from the Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color exhibition. This painting is the focus of a feature article about the exhibition written by a U.S. journalist who attended the last day of the show.
$50 Portrait Beauford Delaney greeting card. One of Beauford’s dearest friends, James LeGros, honored Beauford by painting a beautiful portrait of him. This has been reproduced as a semi-glossy, 5”x7” color greeting card for mailing or gift giving. I will personally insert a Beauford Delaney quote in this card for you.
$100 Two packages of 10 full-color note cards display images of two vibrant paintings from Beauford’s New York years. They are presented with envelopes in a decorative folio. You can keep both packs or keep one and share one!
$250 Digital photo album (jpg format) of Beauford Delaney’s favorite Paris haunts. Many of these sites are located along the route of the commemorative walking tour that I created for the Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color exhibition. You’ll also receive a 5”x7” card of James LeGros’ portrait of Beauford, in which I’ll include a special Delaney quote about Paris.
$500 Full-color catalog from the Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color exhibition. This catalog is one-of-a-kind in the world – when you download the free Blippar app and scan the 20 “blippable” images of works from the exhibition with your smart device, you will access a video that provides details about the works or spoken word poetry inspired by them. The images are indicated by the orange Blippar icon.
To my knowledge, no other catalog is enhanced by this technology! Only 25 available.
$1000 Special private visit to see the Montparnasse locations where we had two Beauford Delaney plaques installed in 2015. Both of these sites are stops on the commemorative walking tour that I created for the Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color exhibition. After I share the stories behind the plaques with you, I’ll treat you to a sit-down lunch in the neighborhood! Will take place within one year of the project funding. Only 3 available. Travel to Paris not included.
I’m Monique Y. Wells:
- Founder and CEO of the Wells International Foundation (WIF), a U.S. non-profit organization
- President of Les Amis de Beauford Delaney, a French non-profit association
- Creator/organizer of Beauford Delaney: Resonance of Form and Vibration of Color
Monique Y. Wells and Laurence Choko
Join me and curator Laurence Choko in taking this amazing exhibition on the road! Help us create a video that will inspire and motivate museums on both sides of the Atlantic to host this show.
Please give generously and share the link to this page to help us reach our goal!
Risks and challenges
We believe that there is minimal risk associated with completing our project. All the pertinent video and photo files are securely backed up - it's simply a matter of assembling them into documentary form. The only potential problems that might arise are artistic differences between us and our video editor or scheduling conflicts that might require us to postpone the release of the video.
Because we want to use the documentary to encourage museums to host the Beauford Delaney exhibition beginning in 2017, we have every interest in finishing the project quickly.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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