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Arts Council of Princeton presents a Community Celebration in Honor of Paul Robeson

originally published: 03/19/2024

Arts Council of Princeton presents a Community Celebration in Honor of Paul Robeson

(PRINCETON, NJ) -- The Arts Council of Princeton (ACP) will host a community celebration in honor of Paul Robeson's 126th Birthday on Tuesday, April 9. This multi-media celebration will honor the legacy of Paul Robeson, Princeton's "native son" and scholar, all American athlete, artist, and activist. This event is free and open to all ages, presented in partnership with the Witherspoon Jackson Historical and Cultural Society (WJHCS).

Beginning at 5:30pm, the program will feature a presentation on ACP’s current Anne Reeves Artist-in-Residence Ryan Stark Lilienthal, who unearthed what we now call Robeson Clay during the renovation of the Paul Robeson House of Princeton. Lilienthal, working with ACP Executive Director and ceramicist Adam Welch, conducted microscopic analysis, plasticity, shrinkage, and porosity tests to determine all aspects of its nature. Testing in the ACP’s ceramic studios found the clay to be a spectacular material, non-porous at high temperatures with a deep color we associate with earth. This naturally occurring, dark burning stoneware was then used to create tiles, then imprinted with Robeson’s words with custom 3D-printed stamps created by Lilienthal. He will present the results of this project and answer questions from attendees. This project was held in collaboration with the Paul Robeson House of Princeton.

Following the Robeson Clay presentation, Shirley Satterfield, local historian, will address Robeson’s early life in the Witherspoon-Jackson Neighborhood.

Arts Council of Princeton presents a Community Celebration in Honor of Paul Robeson

Flamenco Dancer and Choreographer Lisa Botalico will present a new work inspired by Robeson’s speech in support of the resistance against the rise of Fascism during the Spanish Civil War, titled The Artist Must Take Sides. Botalico will perform dances set to Robeson’s recordings of Spanish Civil War resistance songs which he sang during his trip to Spain in 1938 after the bombing of Guernica, raising funds to support the resistance movement. The program also includes dramatic Flamenco dance works inspired by Picasso’s famous painting, Guernica, and the song Anda Jaleo, performed by the great Spanish poet and composer, Frederico Garcia Lorca, who was killed during the Spanish Civil War.

The evening will culminate with celebratory birthday cupcakes donated by The Gingered Peach.



 
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Tuesday, April 9, 5:30pm-7:30pm. Free. Space is limited; seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Arts Council of Princeton, 102 Witherspoon Street, Princeton.

The Arts Council of Princeton, a non-profit organization founded in 1967, fulfills its mission of building community through the arts by presenting a wide range of programs including public art projects, exhibitions, performances, free community cultural events, and studio-based classes and workshops. Arts Council of Princeton programs are designed to be high-quality, engaging, affordable and accessible for the diverse population in the greater Princeton region.


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