Special Exhibitions


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


Brown Capital Management presents

October 10, 2015 – April 3, 2016

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. Many of the subjects are descendants of Frederick Douglass and Harriet Ross Tubman. From the area'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. Rose's subjects are portrayed with a dignity and compassion that is rarely seen during this period of art history. For this reason, the work also offers a historical record of daily African American life on the Eastern Shore. The exhibition 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 courageous woman. The artist boldly disregarded norms for her gender and white upper class background to chronicle black life. Her work serves as a starting point for 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.

Related Programming

African Family Roots: Storytelling with Diane Macklin - Saturday, November 21, 1pm
Opening Day Curator's Talk - Saturday October 10, 2pm

Order the Exhibition Catalog
Click here to order the catalog for Ruth Starr Rose: Revelations of African American Life in Maryland and the World.

All images ©2015 The estate of Ruth Starr Rose

Presented by Brown Capital Management.

with special thanks to

Baltimore County logo  Creative Baltimore Fund  Maryland Humanities Council logo  Maryland State Arts Council logo

This project was made possible by a grant from the Maryland Humanities Council, through support from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication) (program) (exhibition) (website) do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the Maryland Humanities Council.

September 1, 2015 to December 27, 2015



September 1 – December 27, 2015

This book art exhibit focuses on the Atlantic slave trade. Featuring 10 pieces of art by bookbinder and paper conservator Martha Edgerton and Linnette Copeland, respectively, the exhibit interprets major themes of the transatlantic journey from West Africa to the Americas through unique handmade art. The exhibition is located inside the Resource Center and is open Wednesdays and Fridays, 12pm - 4pm. Call for Saturday hours or to make an appointment. 

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.

This exhibition pulls images from that archive. They capture moments that are memorable, historic, intimate, and cherished. Throughout, we also see the infectious humor, grace, and humanity that Mandela indelibly stamped on our lives.

About the Artist
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
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

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