Walter’s World: ArtCrawl Harlem Returns

By Walter Rutledge

The ArtCrawl Harlem 2011 was such a resounding success that an additional tour has been planned for Saturday September 10th, which will precede the September 2nd 100th Birthday of Romare Bearden.

The ArtCrawl will consist of a guided bus tour that will show you Bearden’s Harlem or more accurately Romare Bearden’s Harlems. The village continues to evolve as our admiration for this consummate American artist of African decent only heightens as we approach the centennial of his birth.

Romare Bearden had an elite life in post War World I Harlem. His mother, Bessye Bearden, was the New York correspondent of the Chicago Defender Newspaper, a publication Langston Hughes would later became a regular contributor. On any given day he would return home to the third floor of 173 West 140th Street, from P.S. 5 (Edgecombe Ave and 141) and Bessye would be having tea with Mary McLeod Bethune, or their would be a heated discourse spearheaded by W.E.B. Dubois. Ellington, Andy Razif, or Fat Waller might have been tinkling the ivories; or Hughes, Countee Cullen, or Claude McKay could be proudly sharing their poetic-pentameter.

Young Bearden was “Harlem Rich” this was a wealth that could not have been acquired by money. This wealth stayed with Bearden his entire life, and formulated a character that forged his evolution as a great artist. The Village of Harlem in his early years would become a predominantly Black community, with a pride and cultural astuteness that the rest for the world dubbed the Harlem Renaissance. Before his twentieth birthday stockbrokers jump out of their Wall Street office windows, and by thirty-one the world was at war for the second time in this century.

The ArtCrawl Harlem will again tour six galleries that display Bearden’s art, or art influenced by the artist; and view art designed for public spaces. The four-hour excursions ends with dinner and live jazz music. Tickets are $55 and can only be purchased in advanced. For tickets and event details call 1800-838-3006 or visit www.artcrawlharlem.com

In Photo: 1) It’s A Black Thing by Romare Bearden 2) Romare Bearden 3) Bearden in Front of Apollo circa 50’s 4) ArtCrawl Bus

Photo by: 2) Marvin E. Newman 4) Rudy Collins

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