The New 411

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Margaret Taylor Burroughs

CULTURAL HISTORIAN: The DuSable Museum of African American History is pleased to announce a new exhibition, South Side Stories – The Art and Influence of Dr. Margaret T. Burroughs, 1960-1980. The exhibition will open on Thursday, September 13, 2018 at the Museum, located at 740 East 56th Place (57th Street and South Cottage Grove Avenue) in Chicago.

Influential Chicago artist and cultural leader Margaret Burroughs co-founded the DuSable Museum in 1961 and was instrumental in establishing the South Side Community Art Center which was dedicated by Eleanor Roosevelt in 1941.

South Side Stories – The Art and Influence of Dr. Margaret T. Burroughs explores Burroughs’ legacy as an artist, writer, activist and institution builder.

The show gives a nuanced illustration of Dr. Burroughs’ work at the DuSable Museum, but also shows how she influenced art, activism, community identity, and cultural awareness within and beyond Chicago’s South Side between 1960 and 1980.This exhibition shows the depth and breadth of Burroughs’ impact by turning a lens onto her life’s work during this period, while giving an understanding of her ethos, interests, art – and how her work continues to influence thought and artistry.

South Side Stories – The Art and Influence of Dr. Margaret T. Burroughs, 1960-1980 will not only include sketches, paintings, sculpture, prints, books and correspondence by Dr. Burroughs, but, also works of art by some of the many people influenced by the founder of the DuSable Museum.

Dr. Margaret Burroughs made the first of her many contributions to African American art and culture when at age 22 she co-founded the South Side Community Art Center, an organization which served as a gallery and workshop for students and artists. During the 1950s, she met and married Charles Burroughs, a poet and founder of the Associated Press and the two soon discovered a love for traveling. Dr. Burroughs recalled, “Early on we went to Ghana and that trip started my love affair with Africa and there were many more trips to the great continent since that first one.”

During these sojourns, the duo collected books voraciously, often lending them out to others. They also collected artifacts and upon their return would invite people over to their home to see the latest items. Often those friends would call and ask if they could bring their children over to also see these rare and exciting artifacts.

It was during these visits that Dr. Burroughs discovered the City of Chicago museums offered very few examples of the accomplishments of Africans and African Americans. It was at that point that she and her husband Charles and a group of fellow educators, artists and historians began to actually research the possibility of opening a museum. After many meetings and much discussion around the Burroughs’ coffee table, Margaret and Charles Burroughs made the most well known contribution to the African American legacy, when they founded what is now, the DuSable Museum of African American History in 1961. The museum went on to become an internationally recognized resource for African American art.

In addition, Margaret Burroughs also published several volumes of her own poems, illustrated a number of children’s books, and exhibited her own artwork all over the world. In 1975 she received the President’s Humanitarian Award from President Gerald Ford.

South Side Stories – The Art and Influence of Dr. Margaret T. Burroughs, 1960-1980 is part of Art Design Chicago, an exploration of Chicago’s art and design legacy, an initiative of the Terra Foundation for American Art with presenting partner, The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.

South Side Stories – The Art and Influence of Dr. Margaret T. Burroughs, 1960-1980 is funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art and The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.

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