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13 October 2014

Augusta Savage (1892 - 1962) : The Harp

Ever hear the expression "one thing leads to another".

Well I'd like to elaborate.
  • One GOOD thing leads to another.
Worked that way for me!

Published an article about the African-American harpist Jeff Majors who was asked to perform at the funeral of Coretta Scott King.

Oprah was so moved she invited him to come on her TV show.

Here is the link to my article about Mr. Majors:

Harp Music: Sacred, Classical, Jazz or Gospel?

Now a well-known and much appreciated African-American artist/composer/harpist, Jeff Majors followed his dream. Literally. He actually had a dream about playing the harp and decided he would learn.He was taught by the late Alice Coltrane (1937 -2007), jazz pianist and harpist, and the spouse of the legendary John Coltrane (1926 -1967).Once he mastered the instrument, he set out to share his musical gift with others.

Writing about the contributions of this extraordinary harpist is the "One GOOD thing" that led to "another".  The "another" is accidentally discovering an African-American artist I had never heard of: Augusta Savage (1892 - 1962).  What's the connection?

Augusta Savage, sculpting - NARA - 559182
Augusta Savage, sculpting - NARA - 559182 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This remarkable artist was commissioned to create a sculpture for the New York World's Fair in 1939.   Her magnificent work was called "The Harp".  It was exhibited.  It received much acclaim.  But what happened after that is sinful.  Her work was destroyed!!!  The word used in the article was "demolished".  I had to read it several times because I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me.  Inside my mind there was no corner where piercing screams could not be heard.
NO!  NO! NO!!!

Oh well!  At least there are pictures.

Here is the link to the article I found accidentally about Ms. Savage:  American Art Today: "The Harp" by Augusta Savage.

The Harp by Augusta Savage

'The Harp' by Augusta Savage - 1939 New York World's Fair - Community Interests Zone

Instead of being discouraged, Ms. Savage continued her artistic pursuits and was an active participant in the Harlem Renaissance, a cultural movement during the 1920s and 30s where many black artists - painters poets, sculptors, musicians, actors, etc. - used their talents and creativity to be reborn.  America is blessed by this "blossoming" as it has been called.  Any nation that allows its citizens the freedom to express their hearts and minds by using their individual God-given gifts to benefit a greater good can not help but reap the bounty.

Previously published at Black Art in America on June 5, 2013

In Her Hands: The Story of Sculptor Augusta Savage

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