Screenings, lectures expand on museum exhibition exploring jazz-art-film connections

Marian McPartland, center, flanked by drummer Joe Morello and bassist Bill Crow. McPartland is portrayed in a Bates screening of the documentary "In Good Time." (Courtesy of Films by Huey)

Marian McPartland, center, flanked by drummer Joe Morello and bassist Bill Crow. McPartland is portrayed in a Bates screening of the documentary “In Good Time.” (Courtesy of Films by Huey)

The Museum of Art exhibition Convergence: Jazz, Films and the Visual Arts expands in autumn 2014 with films, panels and lectures beginning with a talk by the founder of Columbia University’s Center for Jazz Studies at 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 5, in Room 104 of the Olin Arts Center, 75 Russell St.

The talk by Robert O’Meally, who is also a former director of the Center for Jazz Studies and serves as the Zora Neale Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia, is titled Looking at the Music: Jazz and the Visual Arts. A panel discussion and an additional lecture take place on Oct. 1 and 27 (information below).

Events related to Convergence, as well as admission to the exhibition itself, are open to the public at no cost. An important exhibition of art exploring jazz and African American culture, Convergence is on display at Bates through Dec. 13. Learn more at

The museum is also presenting Encountering Maine. Drawn from the museum’s collection, this exhibition comprises depictions of the state by such well-known artists as Marsden Hartley, Bernard Langlais, Melonie Bennett, Dahlov Ipcar and Robert Indiana. Encountering Maine shows through Oct. 12. Learn more at

The museum is located at 75 Russell St. Hours are 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday (until 7 p.m. on Wednesdays during the academic year). For more information, contact 207-786-6158.

The Convergence film series begins with In Good Time, The Piano Jazz of Marian McPartland at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 15, in Olin 104. This piece by renowned Maine filmmaker Huey documents the life of the legendary McPartland through interviews and performances. A composer and radio host as well as pianist, McPartland arrived in America in 1948 and established herself as a leading figure in the male-dominated jazz world.

Louis Armstrong figures prominently in "Jazz: A Film by Ken Burns." (Courtesy of the Frank Driggs Collection)

Louis Armstrong figures prominently in “Jazz: A Film by Ken Burns.” (Courtesy of the Frank Driggs Collection)

The film series continues through the fall with the 10 episodes of Jazz: A Film by Ken Burns, the widely acclaimed series premiered on public television in 2001. This musical epic chronicles the history of jazz from its pre-World War I beginnings to the modern day. Showings take place in Olin 104 at 7:30 p.m. on these Mondays: Sept. 22 and 29; Oct. 6, 13 and 20; Nov. 3, 10 and 17; and Dec. 1 and 8.

The Convergence exhibition resulted from a partnership between the David C. Driskell Center for the Study of the Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora at the University of Maryland, and the American Jazz Museum in Kansas City. Three leading authorities on the arts surrounding the jazz movement, all connected with the Driskell Center, discuss the exhibition at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 1, in Olin 104.

The speakers are:

  • David Driskell, for whom the center is named. A distinguished artist and collector, this part-time Maine resident is one of the leading authorities on African American art and serves as curator of the Camille O. and William H. Cosby Collection of African American Art;
  • Robert Steele, a lifelong collector of African American art who became the founding director of the Driskell Center in 2004 following a career teaching psychology at the University of Maryland.
  • Curlee Raven Holton, a painter, printmaker, professor of art at Lafayette College and acting executive director of the Driskell Center.

The speaker series concludes with Jazz Under the Lens, a lecture and screening relating to an important collection of jazz films assembled by the late John Baker, an Ohio lawyer, at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 27, in Olin 104. The speaker is Gregory Carroll, chief executive officer of the American Jazz Museum in Kansas City, Mo., which now holds the John H. Baker Jazz Film Collection.

The screening will include historic Soundies, short musical films from the 1940s that anticipated modern music videos.

View Comments