Powell Branch Honors Baskerville

Apr 29, 2009 03:27:23 PM


Kalamazoo, MI –

Kalamazoo Public Library’s Alma Powell Branch will celebrate three special anniversaries with a party on April 29, 6-8 pm.

The Alma Powell Library first opened in a room at the Lincoln School in 1969 – 40 years ago – through a gift of $10,000 from Mrs. Dorothy Dalton. It was named in memory of Alma Harrod Powell, a KPL staff member from 1946 until 1967. She was a noted storyteller and enjoyed sharing her rich African heritage and love for books with children. The branch moved into the new Douglass Community Center 25 years ago to be closer to neighborhood homes and children.

Then, 20 years ago, in 1989, Powell launched the Barnabee Gallery. Dr. Walden Baskerville, a local sculptor and a psychologist at Western Michigan University, led the effort to create the gallery as a showcase for children’s art. Doris Miller, the former art coordinator for Kalamazoo Public Schools, worked with Walden on the first show in the Barnabee. She reports that the show was well received and well attended. Ms. Miller writes, “Children learned about appreciation of other’s work, gallery manners, discussions about art, etc. all of which were among the many goals that Mr. Walden had for this concept. I am happy to hear his vision lives on!”

The purpose of the Barnabee Gallery as stated in the opening program was to represent and encourage the work of young artists in the Kalamazoo Public Schools. To give students the opportunity to visit with, observe and learn from artists and authors in the community as well as learn to exhibit and discuss their own work.

Goals included increased commitment and understanding of:

  • Literacy – Poetry, Writing, Story-telling
  • The Arts – Folk Art, Music, Dance and Visual Arts
  • Service – Contributions to the development and quality of their schools and community

The Barnabee Gallery, now a regular Art Hop site, exhibits work by a variety of artists of all ages with the help of the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo.

The Dulcet Club, a social and community service club founded in 1958 by a group of prominent black women, helped with the opening reception in 1989 and will provide some of the refreshments at this reception. The party will feature food, music and a presentation to honor Dr. Baskerville for his vision and inspiration.

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