Special Exhibitions

August 8, 2015 to December 5, 2015
At Home Among Children by Benny Gool


At Home Among Children by Benny Gool


August 8 – December 5, 2015

Over three momentous decades, Benny Gool, a South African photojournalist, was privileged to chronicle the public and private life of Nelson Mandela. His archive contains tens of thousands of images that portray the inspirational story of one of history’s most respected and compelling leaders.

It was in the guise of an anti-apartheid and human rights activist that Gool first picked up a camera to begin documenting the injustices of a divided nation. He went on to capture the inexorable and stirring transition to democracy, the tumultuous truth and reconciliation process, and South Africa’s “homecoming” as a respected member of the global community in which Nelson Mandela was principal.

Capturing images of Mr. Mandela and his homeland has been Gool’s life work which is a time capsule reflecting a defining era in world history, and will echo on its pages for centuries to come. It documents not only one man’s walk to freedom but also that of a nation.

July 10, 2015 to December 7, 2015



July 10 – December 7, 2015

Devin Allen: Awakenings, In a New Light, the first solo show of Baltimore photographer Devin Allen, exhibits images of the 2015 Baltimore protests and debuts a new community space inside the Reginald F. Lewis Museum called Lewis Now. The 27-year old photographer graced the cover of Time Magazine in May, making him only the third amateur photographer to do so. The images on view reveal diverse moments, showing both the struggle and humanity of protest, including from the side of law enforcement.

Sponsored by PNC Bank.

This exhibition is free and open to the public, and does not require the purchase of museum admission.


Related Programming

Saturday July 11 The Power of An Image: The Voice of a Community. An Artist Talk With Devin Allen and Fellow Activists

April 18, 2015 to August 30, 2015


Dance Theatre of Harlem: 40 Years of Firsts


April 18 – August 30, 2015

This majestic exhibition of dazzling costumes, set pieces, and video excerpts celebrates an iconic company and its corps who defied prejudice, and gravity itself, in pursuit of their talent. In the process, the company made history and shattered barriers for future generations of aspiring performers. Dance Theatre of Harlem is a celebration of courage, and of the magic and uplifting power of the performing arts.

An Astonishing Talent

Central to the themes of the exhibition is the story of founder Arthur Mitchell himself. Mitchell, with his astonishing talent, was selected by George Balanchine to join the New York City Ballet. To be the only African American dancer of a major ballet company was a historic achievement in pre-Civil Rights America. He rose to become a principal dancer within the company, then founded Dance Theatre of Harlem in 1969 in a church basement in the aftermath of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination. It was the artist’s way of giving back to his community in the credo of the civil rights leader. Dance Theatre rose to become one of the most sought-after companies by the leading impresarios, opera houses, and performance venues around the world.

In addition to the costumes and staged ballets, the exhibition includes historical photographs, original tour programs, letters from choreographers and dignitaries, magazine articles, and design bibles. The exhibition honors the art of dance, and a man who dared to define a vision, rather than having it defined for him.

Special thanks to

Related Programming

The exhibition is organized by Dance Theatre of Harlem, California African American Museum, and The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, and toured by International Arts & Artists, Washington D.C.


Moaney Boy On The Stairs ©2015 The estate of Ruth Starr Rose


Brown Capital Management presents

October 10 – April 3, 2015

This first comprehensive show of artist Ruth Starr Rose (1887-1965) offers a rare glimpse into African American life at the turn of the century on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The artist, from a wealthy white family, boldly disregarded norms for her gender and social class at the turn of the century to chronicle black life. Her subjects are portrayed with a dignity and compassion that is rarely seen during this period of art history. For this reason, the artwork also offers an important historical record of daily African American life on the Eastern Shore. Many of the African Americans portrayed are descendants of Frederick Douglass and Harriet Ross Tubman, the native sons and daughters of the historic Chesapeake region. From the Eastern Shore’s most noted black sail maker, to professional female crab pickers, to heroic soldiers, the portraits speak of self-possessed people who were proud of their station in life. The exhibition also includes visual depictions of military servicemen, and portraits of Native Americans and Haitians that Rose befriended on her travels.

Her illustrations of spirituals, some of which are on view here, are said to be the most comprehensive visual interpretation of Negro spirituals to appear in the United States, according to Professor James A. Porter, the undisputed father of African American art history. Rose is also believed to be the first white artist to produce a work of art for a black church.

Part of the exhibition is archival material highlighting Rose’s correspondence and association with other 20th century artists, writers, and luminaries such as Paul Robeson, Orson Welles, and Julia Mood Peterkin.

While Rose exhibited during her lifetime at institutions including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, she remains in obscurity. This first comprehensive show brings unseen content to light, giving visitors a new chance to know this pioneering woman and her courage. It also serves as a starting point for the next generation of creative inquiry about art’s ability to connect individuals across the color lines.

About the Guest Curator

The work of Barbara Paca, the guest exhibition curator, is enriched by her unique achievements in two different yet complementary worlds. As an art historian, her credentials are numerous, including a PhD from Princeton University, a Fulbright Scholarship to study in Ireland, and a postdoctoral fellowship at Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study. As a creative designer, Paca holds a five year professional degree in landscape architecture and owns a flourishing private practice in Manhattan. Recognized for artistically merging the academic with the natural world, Paca’s designs can be found on some of the world’s most exquisite properties. It is in these environments that she has encountered the work and fascinating, unlikely stories of artists fueled by philosophies well ahead of their time.

All images ©2015 The estate of Ruth Starr Rose

Presented by Brown Capital Management.

April 8, 2015 to June 28, 2015
America By Kayla Hall Web.jpg
February 1, 2015 to March 15, 2015
October 1, 2014 to January 25, 2015
July 1, 2014 to September 14, 2014
May 17, 2014 to February 28, 2015
March 29, 2014 to June 29, 2014
January 12, 2014 to March 2, 2014

Copyright © 2012-2013 Reginald F. Lewis Museum

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