Special Exhibitions

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.

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.

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.

The exhibit is sponsored by PNC Bank.

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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