Bronzeville’s music, history featured in UIC exhibit

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March 12, 2014

Items in the exhibition “Migration and Transformation through the Arts” include a photo of Jimmy Rogers, original member of the Muddy Waters Band, and his guitar. Photo: Chicago Blues Museum

The African-American Cultural Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago will explore the cultural history of Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood in “Migration and Transformation through the Arts: The Soul of Bronzeville,” an exhibition featuring images, memorabilia, film and video footage and displays from the Chicago Blues Museum’s archival collections.


Opening reception: March 14, 6 – 7 p.m.

Exhibition on view: March 17 – Aug. 29, Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.


African-American Cultural Center at UIC

Addams Hall, 2nd Floor

830 S. Halsted St.


“Migration and Transformation through the Arts: The Soul of Bronzeville” highlights the South Side neighborhood as a prolific site for African-American artistic production during the period known as the Great Migration (1916-1970), when African Americans from the rural south began to settle in Chicago’s South Side and West Side neighborhoods in significant numbers. Dubbed the “Black Metropolis” by Works Progress Administration researchers in a 1945 study of race and urban life in America, Bronzeville was an important hub for African-American activists, writers, artists and musicians during the early 20th century.

Installations feature photos, film clips, books and other items that recall the artistic and cultural production from musicians who honed their skills in the neighborhood’s Record Row area — former home to many music studios, labels and distributors — and who performed at the blues and jazz nightclubs in the area’s entertainment district.

Curated by the Chicago Blues Museum’s CEO and founder Gregg Parker and exhibition designer Stefanie Mielke, the exhibition contains memorabilia, photos and performance footage from the original Regal Theater, Savoy Ballroom and Club DeLisa, in addition to photos, footage, magazines, ads, contracts and signs from notable production companies such as Vee-Jay Records. A typical 1950′s “front room” rounds out the  installation.

The exhibit marks the launch of the UIC African-American Cultural Center’s three-semesters-long event series highlighting African Americans’ cultural contributions to Bronzeville. The series is organized under the theme of Migration and Transformation, a theme all of the UIC Centers for Cultural Understanding and Social Change are using to highlight the different migration experiences of people living in the U.S. and how those events shape their identities and sense of belonging in society.

The Chicago Blues Museum is dedicated to preserving and sharing the legacy and rich living tradition of the blues and its musical offsprings with the public.

Admission is free and open to the public. For more information, call (312) 996-9549 or (773) 723-5031.

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