In celebration of the Allentown Art Museum’s recent acquisition of The Piano Lesson (Homage to Mary Lou) by Romare Bearden, author and scholar Robert O’Meally will lead a Dynamic Conversation about the layers of history and culture represented in this artwork. The talk will take place on Saturday, February 24, beginning at 2 p.m. in the Museum’s auditorium. Admission to the Museum and to the Conversation is free, but please take a moment to let us know you are coming by REGISTERING HERE. Members, you are invited to attend a special meet and greet with Robert O’Meally before the event, REGISTER HERE.

Robert O’Meally

Born in Charlotte, North Carolina, Romare Bearden grew up in New York City and Pittsburgh. He began his artistic career creating scenes of the American South and is probably best known for his photomontage compositions made from torn images from popular magazines and assembled into visually powerful statements on African American life.

Bearden dedicated the print The Piano Lesson (1984) to Mary Lou Williams (1910-1981), a jazz pianist, composer, and arranger. The print was commissioned by the Nanette Bearden Contemporary Dance Foundation, an organization founded by Bearden’s wife that supported the work of dancers, choreographers, and theater artists of color. Learn more about the print by CLICKING HERE.

Robert G. O’Meally is the Zora Neale Hurston Professor of English at Columbia University, where he has served on the faculty for more than thirty years. Director Emeritus of Columbia’s Center for Jazz Studies, O’Meally is the author of Lady Day: The Many Faces of Billie Holiday and Romare Bearden: A Black Odyssey, and editor of The Romare Bearden Reader and Living With Music: The Jazz Writings of Ralph Ellison. For his production of a Smithsonian CD set called The Jazz Singers, he was nominated for a Grammy Award. He has held Guggenheim and Cullman Fellowships, among others. His new books are The Romare Bearden Reader and Antagonistic Cooperation: Collage, Jazz, and American Fiction According to his sons, Mr. O’Meally plays soprano saxophone “for his own amazement.”