Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Celebrating Beauford! – The Reception

We left Thiais Cemetery at about 5:20 PM to go to the George C. Marshall Center. Though traffic was again a major challenge, we managed to get back into town about ten minutes before the reception was due to begin. We were greeted graciously by the staff of the U.S. Embassy’s public affairs department at the gate to the Hôtel Talleyrand on rue Saint-Florentin in the 1st arrondissement, and led up the grand staircase into the State Office, where refreshment awaited us. There was a true sense of love and camaraderie in the air as people mingled, renewed old acquaintances, and made new ones.

Invitees enjoying the cocktail
© Discover Paris!

Both film and photography captured this magical “second act” of the day’s event, which unfolded as the setting sun illuminated the Dome Church and the Eiffel Tower that were visible from the State Office and the adjacent Grand Reception Room.

Approximately fifty persons gathered for the culmination of the celebration of Beauford’s life and art that evening. A beautiful program with photos of Beauford outlined the order of events.

Program cover

I welcomed everyone, and then presented the U.S. Mission’s new Cultural Attaché, Rafik Mansour. Mr. Mansour spoke eloquently about the African-American presence in Paris, and how Beauford was a perfect example of this presence.

Cultural Attaché Rafik Mansour
© Discover Paris!

Ammon Hall-Moore sang “God Bless the Child,” followed by personal tributes from Velma Bury and Richard Gibson. ferricia-fatia (vocals) and Sabine Boyer (flute) then performed a moving rendition of “Freedom Day.”

Ammon Hall-Moore
© Discover Paris!

Richard Gibson
© Discover Paris!

I then presented “Beauford Delaney: From Paris to Beyond” – giving an overview of Beauford’s life that concentrated on his favorite haunts and his studios in Paris, and providing an introduction to his art. Finally, I described the events leading up to the installation of Beauford’s tombstone, and briefly discussed what projects Les Amis de Beauford Delaney might undertake in the future.

Though we were due to vacate the premises at 9 PM, everyone (including the Embassy staff) was having such a good time that we continued to commune in the State Office for another half-hour or so.

After the presentation
© Discover Paris!

As the last few persons descended the Grand Staircase to leave the Hôtel Talleyrand, I could finally embrace the fact that Les Amis de Beauford Delaney has accomplished its mission.

To see more photos of the Celebrating Beauford! reception, click here.

For a video that presents some of the guests at the reception, as well as excerpts of the presentations, click here. Special thanks to Joe Langley for providing Les Amis with this film clip!

Once again, I wholeheartedly thank everyone who helped us to achieve our goal. Les Amis de Beauford Delaney will carry on with its efforts to raise awareness of Beauford’s life and art, and is counting on your continued support!

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