Arthur Mitchell: a trailblazing exhibition for a trailblazing leader in American Dance

These are the last few days to see the Arthur Mitchell exhibition — closes March 11th!

mitchell illustration detail of Michael D. Harris’s “Aspirations + Inspiration” (1985)

A detail of Michael D. Harris’s “Aspirations + Inspiration” (1985), from the exhibition “Arthur Miller: Harlem’s Ballet Trailblazer.” Credit: Arthur Mitchell Collection, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University

The highly anticipated exhibition, Arthur Mitchell: Harlem’s Ballet Trailblazer, launches January 12, 2018 with a reception at The Wallach Art Gallery at the Lenfest Center for the Arts.

“I am a political activist through dance.”

Curated by Lynn Garafola, Professor Emerita of Dance, Barnard College, the exhibition celebrates the life and accomplishments Arthur Mitchell, the New York City Ballet’s first African American star, and the founder and longtime director of the Dance Theater of Harlem.

colorful puzzle of dancers, historic landmarks

A eight-foot-long Dance Theatre of Harlem puzzle, created by Frank Bara in 1991.

Harlem’s Ballet Trailblazer will feature objects from Mitchell’s archive, including the telegram from Lincoln Kirstein to Mitchell inviting him to join the New York City Ballet, photographs of Mitchell and fellow dancers by Anthony Crickmay, Peter Basch, Martha Swope and Antony Armstrong-Jones (Lord Snowdon), and an eight-foot-long Dance Theatre of Harlem puzzle, created by Frank Bara in 1991, that chronicles the first two decades of the company’s history with illustrative detail of its artists, heroes and friends. Dancer Charmaine Hunter’s costume and headpiece designed by Geoffrey Holder for Firebird (1982), one of Dance Theatre of Harlem’s signature works, will be on view, as well as performance footage from the New York Public Library’s Jerome Robbins Dance Division and elsewhere.

Read more about Mr. Mitchell, the exhibition and his lasting dance legacy in The New York Times, “Arthur Mitchell, Ballet’s ‘Grandfather of Diversity” (January 5, 2018).

Please join us on Friday, January 12th from 6 to 8pm to mark the achievements of a legendary figure in dance history and the donation of his archives with the RBML. No booking necessary.