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September 26, 2015 @ 6:00 pm - February 20, 2016 @ 6:00 pm


“All Hail to Hale” Exhibition Description


This dynamic exhibition showcases the private family art collection along with personal items from the artist.

As an added plus to the Homecoming exhibition celebration and in the tradition of the Changing Gallery’s renowned reputation we have invited artists to showcase their artwork that pays homage to the influence of the mastery of Hale Woodruff and what it has had on their creative process as visual artists.

The artists are: Alexander Austin, Spenser Albertsen, Melena Brown, Najee Dorsey, Clifford Doyle, Daniel Edwards , José Faus, Amy Hughes, Al Hawkins, Selina ONeal, Lonnie Robinson, Grant Robinson, Harold Smith, and Michael Toombs.

This exhibition is presented by the American Jazz Museum in partnership with our sponsors at Kansas City Jazz ALIVE, the City of Kansas City, Missouri, the Missouri Arts Council, and more as indicated in public programming descriptions.

About the Artist – Hale Aspacio Woodruff


Hale Aspacio Woodruff (1900-1980), a native of Cairo, Ill., taught art at Talladega College during the 1930s. His experience at the college and around the country caught the attention of the college’s president, Dr. Buel G. Gallagher (1934 – 1943) who commissioned the talented artist and educator to paint the murals.

Woodruff jumped at the opportunity, drawing off his reputation he had already made to developing African American art and distinguishing himself as an arts educator. He also had studied art both at the John Herron Art Institute in Indianapolis and the Fogg Museum of Harvard University.

Woodruff’s first mural project was a collaboration with Wilmer Jennings in 1934. The four-panel mural, titled “The Negro in Modern American Life: Agriculture and Rural Life; Literature, Music, and Art,” was part of a public works project and a teaching project that involved both Woodruff’s students and a local junior high school.

In 1935, Woodruff shared his expertise on Works Progress Administration (WPA) murals for the Atlanta School of Social Work. Between 1931 and 1946, he served as the first chair of the newly established art department of Atlanta University.

To help him make the murals at Talladega that much more impressive, Woodruff studied mural painting in Mexico under the mentorship of Diego Rivera during the summer of 1936. He wanted to capture the detail and drama of each panel for the murals, and learned as much as he could to improve his technique.

In 1946, he became a teacher at New York University, where he taught art for more than 20 years until his retirement in 1968. During the mid-1960s Woodruff and fellow artist Romare Bearden were instrumental in starting the Spiral Group, a collaboration of African American artists working in New York. The Studio Museum in Harlem presented a retrospective of his work titled “Hale Woodruff: 50 Years of His Art” in 1979, and the High presented “Hale Woodruff in Atlanta” in 2004, the first solo exhibition of Woodruff’s paintings in Atlanta since his death in 1980.


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6-9 pm
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Hosted by the Greater Kansas City & Jackson County Links

Opening Reception Guest Speaker – John W. Bluford

John W. Bluford, Fisk University Alumni 71′, served as President/CEO of Truman Medical Centers (TMC) for fifteen years. Prior to coming to TMC, he served for 21 years in various leadership capacities at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, including the last six years as its CEO. Bluford’s tenure at TMC and Hennepin County Medical Center is part of a distinguished career in hospital and health system administration that has spanned more than four decades.

Bluford is a nationally known healthcare innovator who has been recognized by Modern Healthcare and Becker’s Hospital Review as one of the Most Influential People in Healthcare. John served as Chair of the American Hospital Association Board of Trustees in 2011.

Among his career accomplishments, Bluford is most proud of helping to change the culture of the organizations he has led in order to become more competitive, customer service oriented and innovative. Innovative programs that he helped to initiate have included school based clinics and pre-paid capitalization programs in the 1980’s, the TMC Corporate Academy, the “Hospital in an Art Gallery” concept and his “Thinking Outside of the Bed” community outreach initiative.

In 2005, TMC was honored by University Health System Consortium as one of the Top Five Academic Medical Centers in the country and in 2012 received a Stage 7 HIMSS Designation representing the top 2% of hospitals for Information Technology implementation. Financial accomplishments at TMC include increasing total net revenue by 165% and managing more than $300 million in capital investments. His awards and achievements are numerous.

John is currently the President of the Bluford Healthcare Leadership Institute (BHLI).


“All Hail to Hale” Exhibition Opening Reception Entertainment


Justin Lewis

Justin M Lewis, is a native of the Washington D.C . Mr. Lewis is currently a Master Tap Choreographer and Artistic Director at Studio Bleu Dance Center in Ashburn, Virginia.

He teaches from age ranges five and up, his insight to rhythmic tap dance has innovated new ideas to this studio. Being an artist is a passion for Mr. Lewis, not a lifestyle. Mr. Lewis began tapping by watching the movie “Tap” with Gregory Hines. He felt stimulated to dance so he went upstairs to his room and taped nickels to the bottoms of his sneakers and began to dance.

Mr. Lewis then began to study dance at Knock On Wood Tap Studio in Silver Spring Maryland. He later became a member of the Pre-Professional Company, Tappers With Attitude (TWA). Under TWA Mr. Lewis danced on many famous stages including, Lincoln Theatre, Kennedy Center, Wolf Trap, Blues Alley, The Smithsonian, and the National Corcoran Gallery.


The McFadden Brothers

The McFadden Brothers have shared the stage with some of the biggest names in show business; Wayne Newton, Sammy Davis Jr., Tony Orlando, Lee Greenwood, Gladys Knight and The Count Basie Orchestra to name a few.

They have played all types of venues from casino show rooms to arenas and coliseums including, MGM Grand and Hilton casinos in Las Vegas, Trump Taj Mahal, Atlantic City, Nimes Coliseum, Nimes, France, Rosemont Theater, Chicago, Lincoln Center, New York, Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, Cerritos, CA.

They have performed for all types of audiences including most recently a USO tour to Kuwait and Iraq for our troops.


Louis Neal Big Band

The Louis Neal Big Band plays traditional big band music as well as contemporary hits. Comprised of five saxes, four trumpets, four trombones, and a rhythm section, this big band puts one in the mindset of Duke Ellington or Count Basie.

The band was formed in the mid 1990s and consists of Kansas City’s finest jazz musicians. The band plays for notable venues in and around the Kansas City area such as the Blue Room on 18th & Vine and The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

Comprised of industry veterans, the Louis Neal Big Band prides itself on professionalism and a high quality performance.


“All Hail to Hale” Exhibition Public Programs


October 2015


o Conversation: Partnering with Cultural Institutions
Friday, October 2 | 6-7:30 pm | Free
Location American Jazz Museum
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Beta Omega Chapter
Moderator: Suzetta Parks / Parks Pennington
This is not a panel. It is an informal conversation concerning how cultural institutions can collaborate to change the landscape of communities through the arts.
Suzetta Parks is the Principal of Parks & Pennington. She has over 30 years of experience in human resource development, sales and marketing. Her professional career includes serving as training director for a national insurance company, diversity consultant/facilitator, and entrepreneur. During this time, Suzetta has provided services for clients from a variety of sectors including corporate, non-profit, religious, educational and governmental agencies. Through these experiences, Suzetta has developed a unique ability to present complex ideas in a thought-provoking, non-threatening manner effective with a wide range of organizations.

Suzetta specializes in Diversity and Inclusion initiatives and has provided services to several organizations including the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), Microsoft, The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Kansas University, Nelson Atkins Museum, Hallmark Cards, INROADS and United Missouri Bank (UMB). Her firm participated in the re-opening of the Plaza Library, the executive production of the Jazz & Blues Festival at 18th & Vine and the American Jazz Walk of Fame. Suzetta is active in her community and has served as Past President of the Kansas City Chapter of the American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) and is a former officer and current advisory board member of the Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey.


o Preserving Your Paintings: Bring Your Questions
Saturday, October 17 | 6 – 7 pm | Free
Scott Heffley | Senior Art Conservator of Paintings at the Nelson Atkins Museum
Hosted by Valerie Chow & Jon Gray
Changing Gallery Art Walk
Location: American Jazz Museum
Light hors d’oeuvres

November 2015


o Preserving Works on Paper and Photographs
Saturday, November 14 | 1-2:30 pm | Free
Location: Black Archives of Mid-America
Deborah Dandridge & Mark Stevenson
Light hors d’oeuvres
Deborah Dandridge is the University of Kansas Kenneth Spencer Library Research Field Archivist /Curator of African American Experience Collection and Kansas Collection
Mark Stevens is a conservator in private practice serving and advising museums, corporations and private collectors. Lead investigator to the Kemper Museum of Art and Design, Kansas City, MO on the Georgia O’Keeffe/Canyon Suite watercolors, Winter 1999-2000

o Amistad the Movie
Sunday, November 22 |1:30 – 5 pm | Free
MC / Glenn North
The Black Archives of Mid-America
Hosts: Delta Sigma Theta Sorority
Location: Gem Theater, Kansas City
Cash Bar
Cheptoo Kositany Buckner -Deputy Director of the Kansas City Public Library
Stephanie Knappe – Nelson Atkins Museum of Art Kansas City / Samuel Sosland Curator American Art

December 2015


o Murals in Sound
Thursday, December, 3 | 7- 9 pm
Blue Room Performance | Jazz Disciples
MC / Chris Burnett
Hosts: AJM Volunteer Staff
Artists / Jose Faus, Mike Toombs, Selina ONeal
This special showcase in the award winning Blue Room Club will fuse performance and visual artist in spontaneous performance. Three visual artists will be commissioned to create original artworks as the music evolves in collaboration the performance work jazz artist on the stage, thus giving intimate connection to the creative process at work.

January 2016


o American Jazz Museum | Take Five Tour
Tuesday, January 19, 2016 | 6-7 pm | Free
Guests will tour the American Jazz Museum

o Musical Handshake
Thursday, January, 21 | 7-10 pm
Blue Room| MC / Bill McKemy
To honor Hale Woodruff’s fascination with the guitar and music of the African Diaspora, A Musical Handshake explores the music and guitars of the Spanish and Portuguese colonies as well as the United States. The evening will feature jazz guitarists Will Matthews, James Ward and members of Ensemble Ibérica as they celebrate many diverse musical styles and cultures that combined to create new sounds in the new world.

February 2016


o American Jazz Museum Atrium
Friday, February 5, | 10-11 am | Free
Storytelling featuring vocalist Lisa Henry, storyteller Brother John, bassist Tyrone Clark, and drummer Mike Warren meet educational standards, introduces children to new music & cultures, and provides opportunities to enhance their social skills in a safe environment.


“All Hail to Hale” Exhibition Organizer


Shawn Hughes

All Hail to Hale Homecoming: the Hale Woodruff Family Collection has been organized by Shawn Hughes son of late Honorable Leonard Hughes, Jr. and Mrs.Mamie Hughes and the great nephew of Hale & Theresa (Ted) Woodruff.

Shawn is an Alumni of his family Alma Mater Fisk University, he also holds an MBA from UMKC Bloch School of Business. He works for the City of Kansas City,MO restoring and revitalizing neighborhoods in the Kansas City area. Shawn is a former arts major, his Uncle Hale steered Shawn and his sister away from an arts career, however Shawn continues his support of the arts and practices his passion for artistic expression by drawing and creating art in his spare time.


Further Information

American Jazz Museum | 816-474-8463
All Public Programs are Free
Museum Hours Sunday 12-5 pm, Monday – Closed,Tuesday – Saturday 9-6 pm

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Rising Up: Hale Woodruff’s Murals at Talladega College
September 25, 2015–January 10, 2016
Location: Project Space, Gallery L8

*Click the Nelson-Atkins logo above to see related exhibition programming
Admission is FREE

In 1938 Talladega College in Atlanta commissioned acclaimed artist Hale Woodruff to paint six monumental murals. Installed in the institution’s newly constructed Savery Library, Woodruff’s vibrant murals educated and inspired students through depictions of both heroic efforts to resist slavery (The Mutiny on the Amistad cycle) and noteworthy events in the institution’s history (The Founding of Talladega cycle).

Although he painted the murals for a local audience of students and faculty, Woodruff also intended for their impact to reach beyond Talladega’s campus. The murals swiftly attracted national attention, becoming adopted as a statement of racial pride and recognized as a significant artistic achievement. Today the murals remain symbols of the centuries-long struggle for civil rights.

Rising Up: Hale Woodruff’s Murals at Talladega College is organized by the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, in collaboration with Talladega College, Talladega, Alabama.

In Kansas City, the exhibition is supported by the Donald J. Hall Initiative.

Hale Aspacio Woodruff (American, 1900-1980), The Mutiny on the Amistad, 1939, oil on canvas, 72 x 120 inches. Collection of Talladega College, Talladega, Alabama.© Talladega College. Photo: Peter Harholdt

Hale Aspacio Woodruff (American, 1900-1980), The Mutiny on the Amistad, 1939, oil on canvas, 72 x 120 inches. Collection of Talladega College, Talladega, Alabama.© Talladega College. Photo: Peter Harholdt



September 26, 2015 @ 6:00 pm
February 20 @ 6:00 pm
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This calendar contains events from multiple organizations, including the American Jazz Museum. All event information is subject to changes.