FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
GREENSBURG, Pennsylvania (March 22, 2022) – The Westmoreland Museum of American Art welcomes historian, writer and lecturer Erica Armstrong Dunbar on April 21 and award-winning chef, author and raconteur Alexander Smalls on April 23. Both the lecture and culinary experience are accompanying programs to the featured exhibition Stephen Towns: Declaration & Resistance, which is on view at The Westmoreland through May 8, 2022.
On Thursday, April 21, from 7-8:30 PM, the Museum will host An Evening with Erica Armstrong Dunbar, who is the Charles & Mary Beard Professor of History at Rutgers University. During the event, Dunbar will present her research and documentation of African American history and discuss her award-winning book Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge. Judge is also the subject of two story quilts by Visual Artist Stephen Towns, Ona Judge Escapes (2021) and Ona Judge and Her Family (2021), in Declaration & Resistance. Towns and Kilolo Luckett, Guest Curator of the exhibition, will attend Dunbar’s presentation and contribute to the discussion. Following the program, Dunbar will be available to autograph books. Dunbar’s Never Caught and the young readers’ edition can be purchased in-person or online at The Westmoreland’s Museum Shop by clicking here. Ticket prices for the event are $10 for members of the Museum and $15 for non-members. Tickets can be purchased online at thewestmoreland.org/events or by calling 1.888.718.4253.
On Saturday, April 23, from 6-8 PM, the Museum will present the Stephen Towns: Declaration & Resistance Dinner with James Beard Award-winning Chef Alexander Smalls, who was the visionary co-owner of renowned NYC restaurants The Cecil and Minton’s and author of several cookbooks, including Between Harlem and Heaven (2018). Chef Smalls will curate the menu with recipes from Meals, Music, and Muses: Recipes from My African American Kitchen (2020), his latest heritage cookbook marrying music and food while examining the history of food and its impact on the South. Chef Jackie Page of Love Rocks Café, a black and woman-owned business in McKees Rocks, PA, will cater the dinner. The dinner will be accompanied by a presentation by Chef Smalls who will discuss Africa’s global culinary influence, and Towns and Luckett will also be in attendance. Ticket prices for the culinary experience are $50 for members of the Museum and $60 for non-members. Tickets can be purchased online at thewestmoreland.org/events or by calling 1.888.718.4253.
“These upcoming events are wonderful complements to the powerful exhibition Declaration & Resistance and feature exceptional presenters that share a special tie with Stephen Towns and his work,” said Erica Nuckles, Director of Learning, Engagement, and Partnerships at the Museum. “We look forward to hearing Erica discuss her research and book Never Caught and to dining with Chef Alexander this April!”
Stephen Towns: Declaration & Resistance is generously supported by Eden Hall Foundation; The Heinz Endowments; the Hillman Exhibition Fund of The Westmoreland Museum of American Art; Arts, Equity, & Education Fund; the National Endowment for the Arts; and De Buck Gallery. Additional funding provided in part by a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Recreation and Conservation, Environmental Stewardship Fund, administered by the Rivers of Steel Heritage Corporation.
About Erica Armstrong Dunbar
Erica Armstrong Dunbar is the Charles and Mary Beard Professor of History at Rutgers University where she studies and teaches African American, United States, and women’s and gender history, specializing in the late 18th-century and 19th-century history. She is the author of the critically acclaimed books: A Fragile Freedom: African American Women and Emancipation in the Antebellum City (2008), the first book chronicling the lives of African American women in the North during the early years of the republic; Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge (2017), a 2017 finalist for the National Book Award in nonfiction and winner of the 2018 Frederick Douglass Book Award; and She Came to Slay: The Life and Times of Harriet Tubman (2019). She is also the National Director of the Association of Black Women Historians and co-executive producer of the HBO series The Gilded Age.
About Alexander Smalls
Chef Smalls was the visionary co-owner of renowned restaurants The Cecil, NYC’s first Afro-Asian-American restaurant, and Minton’s, a critically acclaimed jazz club serving Low Country cuisine. He is also the author of several cookbooks: Grace the Table: Stories and Recipes from My Southern Revival (1997), a memoir cookbook featuring his journey from his hometown of Spartanburg, South Carolina, to Europe and Manhattan; Between Harlem and Heaven: Afro-Asian-American Cooking for Big Nights, Weeknights, and Every Day (2018), winner of the 2019 James Beard Award for Best American Cookbook; and most recently, Meals, Music, and Muses: Recipes from My African American Kitchen (2020), a tribute to his South Carolina heritage and the music that inspired him, which received immediate acclaim. Chef Smalls has also made numerous media appearances, including on The Chew with Carla Hall and repeat features as a celebrity chef judge on Top Chef.
About The Westmoreland Museum of American Art
Western Pennsylvania’s only museum dedicated to American art, The Westmoreland Museum of American Art in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, is a place to share meaningful cultural experiences that open the door to new ideas, perspectives and possibilities. The Westmoreland’s extraordinary permanent collection with its strong focus on the art and artists of Southwestern Pennsylvania is complemented by an impressive temporary exhibition schedule featuring both nationally traveling exhibitions and those organized by the Museum. Additionally, The Westmoreland presents a full slate of community-oriented programming as well as special events. More information is available at thewestmoreland.org and on the Museum’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram profiles.
General admission to the Museum is free with advance online registration recommended. The Museum’s operating hours are Wednesday-Sunday, 10am-5pm. One can find information on registering for a visit at thewestmoreland.org/visit.