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Celebrating the special nature of summer in communities, the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum presents its benefit event "Summer Soirée: Celebrating Community and Culture" Friday, June 6, at 7 p.m. in the Smithsonian Castle at 1000 Jefferson Drive SW.
The event, with lots of food and dancing, highlights the rich cultural community of Washington with a silent auction featuring offerings from the city's iconic and notable places. The legendary 3rd Generation Band from the recently closed SW Waterfront's Channel Inn Engine Room will perform. The Summer Soirée will also feature a hand-dancing competition, showcasing the dance form proclaimed in 1999 by the City Council as the official "dance of the District."
The event is organized by the museum’s advisory board, chaired by James Larry Frazier. NBC News4 Today anchors Aaron Gilchrist and Eun Yang are host chairs. Maureen Bunyan, weeknight anchor for ABC7 News and veteran journalist, supports the museum again this year as MC. Proceeds will benefit the museum’s exhibitions and public programs. Sponsors of the Summer Soirée include CareFirst Blue Cross/Blue Shield, DC Lottery and City First Bank of DC.
"This year's benefit theme is an opportunity to showcase aspects of city life in the capital metro area that make it wonderful, distinctive and fun," said Camille Giraud Akeju, director of the museum. "We are taking this opportunity to highlight Secretary Clough at this event for his extraordinary leadership as his term draws to a close and also to hail one of the city’s cultural treasures in artist Sam Gilliam." Retiring after a seven-year term, Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough will receive a special recognition award at the event.
Artist Sam Gilliam will receive the John R. Kinard Leadership in Community Service Award at the Summer Soirée. Born in Tupelo, Miss., and long-time Washingtonian, Gilliam is an internationally acclaimed abstract painter, renowned in the modern and contemporary art communities. Associated with the Washington Color School (1960s–mid '70s), he is known as an innovative color field painter who has tested the boundaries of color, form and texture in the mostly large-scale imposing pieces he has produced during a long and successful career. He introduced the idea of the unsupported canvas—draped paintings suspended from ceilings or arranged on walls or floors. An avid supporter of the Anacostia Community Museum, Gilliam has served on its advisory board. The award he will receive is named after the late John Kinard, the founding director of the museum.
About the Anacostia Community Museum
Established in 1967 as the nation's first federally funded neighborhood museum, the Anacostia Community Museum focuses on examining the impact of social issues on contemporary communities. For more information, the public may call (202) 633-4820, (202) 633-1000; for tours (202) 633-4844.
Marcia Baird Burris (202) 633-4876; (202) 320-1735 (cell)