It's Presidents Day, again, and I am shocked at how quickly the month has sped by. Almost dreamlike we bid farewell to January, bought chocolates and white roses a few days ago, and in a little over a week from today we welcome March and the unfolding of daffodils, crocuses, snow-drops, grape hyacinths and blue siberian quills. I've seen a few forsythia bushes almost at the point of bursting into yellow glory that certainly declares with full certainty that spring is here, irrespective of the groundhog's predilections. My favorite shrub, the flowering quince, has been spotted two streets over and I am tempted to beg a branch or two. Regretfully ill-informed landscaping crews have succeeded into clipping almost everything in that particular garden into shapes resembling overstuffed balls or languid bulbs, including the quince which seems most beautiful when left unchecked and natural. Still, the bright pink or salmon blossoms borne on bare branches managed to lift my spirit on the gloomiest of days.
Yesterday's Washington Post gave us a early glimpse at the architectural plans and design sketches for the National Museum of African American History and Culture which is scheduled for completion in 2015. The seven-level structure designed by the architectural firm Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup (of 374,000 square feet of which approximately 60% will be buried underground) will be sheathed in bronze-colored panels, and its silhouette resembles that of a corona. "It's like the inverted, triple-headed crown used by the Yoruban court," said architect David Adjaye. "It's a crown that signifies the status of the person wearing it," adds senior architect Phil Freelon. "It's part of the celebratory nature of the building-an architectural from that's uplifting and dignified." I eagerly await this beautiful addition to the current array of museums on the Mall which include the stately Natl Museum of Natural History, the brash form of the Hirshhorn Museum, the highly-praised East and West wings of the National Gallery, and the last introduction to the block, namely the architecturally-spectacular Natl Museum of the American Indian.
Until the new museum opens, folks here in the Washington region are quite fortunate to be able to enjoy exhibitions celebrating the African-American culture, history, and arts at the Alexandria Black History Museum. This small cultural foundation offers art exhibitions in its gallery spaces, as well as books signings, poetry readings, and other activities at their attached library/reading room. I've found it to be a very special place which regularly holds the most intriguing shows, and definitely a draw for the gallery visitor(s) who enjoys getting away from the usual, in order to experience something personal and unique. Please visit their website at www.alexblackhistory.org in order to view the scheduled events. Besides the shopping, restaurants, and sight-seeing in Olde Town, stopping in at the ABHM is a great way to spend the day and dazzle your friends with your cultural finesse.
Thanks for all your many emails last week, and please enjoy today's visual treat courtesy of artist Sharon J. Frazier, who is currently featured in the Alexandria Black History Museum's exhibition entitled ' Our Alexandria: African American Dollhouses by Sharon J. Frazier and Linwood M. Smith.'
PS: Today's soundtrack is William Orbit's The Story of Light (the best of strange cargoes).