I arrived at an exciting time here at ACM; just in time for the installation of our new temporary exhibition “Twelve Years That Shook and Shaped Washington: 1963-1975”. As the Registrar for the museum, my role in the exhibition was to prepare and install the artifacts that are on display. These artifacts are a mixture of objects and paintings held by ACM and material the museum borrowed from other museums, archives, artists and private individuals. The information presented in the exhibition is punctuated by these artifacts – providing the visitor with historical examples to illustrate the information presented in the exhibition.
We have 13 screen-prints by Lou Stovall on view in the exhibition, illustrating many community themes and events in Washington in the late 60’s and early 70’s. I was fortunate to meet Mr. Stovall when I went to pick the artwork up at his home. A prolific screen printer, I was invited into his studio to see where he works. The volume of work in the studio was staggering, and absolutely beautiful. The works that we borrowed for our exhibition may have been hidden in Mr. Stovall’s basement for years, as foretold by the condition of the plastic protecting the works. After bringing the prints back to the museum and examining them for condition, I was greeted by bright, vibrant colors so fitting of the time period which would immediately evoke feelings of nostalgia for our visitors.
The Anacostia Community Museum exhibit opening for Twelve Years that Shook and Shaped Washington was a bittersweet affair, held shortly after the passing of Head Curator Portia James in early December. Portia had worked at the Anacostia Community Museuem for over thirty years, guiding many exhibitions including this last.