Wednesday, October 24, 2012

California African American Museum Hosts ‘An Artful Evening at CAAM,’ Honoring Actor Sidney Poitier & Artist John Outterbridge

(Top Left) Honoree, Actor Sidney Poitier and Actress CCH Pounder (Top Right) Actress CCH Pounder, CAAM’s Executive Director Charmaine Jefferson & Honoree Visual Artist John Outterbridge (Bottom Left) Sidney Poitier (Bottom Right) Honoree John Outterbridge

Hosted by Friends, the Foundation of the California African American Museum

LOS ANGELES – Friends, the Foundation of the California African American Museum presented An Artful Evening At CAAM on October 6th, its annual gala and awards ceremony.  Lifetime Achievement Awards were presented to two icons in the fields of film and visual arts – Sidney Poitier, the first Black Academy Award® winner, and United States Gracie Fellow for Visual Arts winner, John Outterbridge.

Funds raised for An Artful Evening At CAAM supported the California African American Museum’s (CAAM) Young Docents program. The black tie affair included a resplendent lounge, hosted bars, silent auction, vocal and dance performances, and special tributes to the two honorees.

During An Artful Evening at CAAM, guests were treated to indulge all their senses. Visually, their eyes feasted on a lyrical dance performance and video tributes to both honorees, their ears took in the captivating vocals of singer, actress Nita Whitaker LaFontaine, and Broadway star Norman Lewis as their appetites were delighted by a fine cuisine catered by Wolfgang Puck.

The night was hosted by the charming, Emmy® nominated actress, CCH Pounder, who provided humorous anecdotes throughout the evening while exuding genuine admiration and respect for the honorees.  John Outterbridge was dignified with quiet humility as he accepted his Lifetime Achievement award with the closing words, “Thank you, thank you, all of you, thank you.” Many artists came out to support Mr. Outterbridge including Artis Lane, William Pajaud, Betye Saar and Samella Lewis, among others.  Also present were Anna Cabarello, Secretary & Consumer Services Agency for the State of California, Mark Ridley-Thomas, Los Angeles County Supervisor and Bernard Parks, Los Angeles City Councilman.

The stage was set for Sidney Poitier to accept his Lifetime Achievement award with a musical introduction by Norman Lewis who performed a moving rendition of “Go The Distance,” from the “Hercules” soundtrack.  Gala attendees were treated to a video montage of some of the most memorable moments in the body of Poitier’s cinematic work over the course of his career. Poitier, who was at turn eloquent and humble, took the podium and immediately a hush fell over the assembled.

Poitier spoke of his early life and how he’s always been a dreamer, how the desire to become an actor grew stronger and stronger until he honored it, and how persistence and a strong character played roles in the success of his goals.  Uncompromising in the roles he’d take on in his career, he knew what he wanted to achieve within the African American community and the larger culture.  Poitier received a standing ovation as he accepted his Lifetime Achievement Award, which was presented by CAAM’s Executive Director, Charmaine Jefferson.  Poitier closed his acceptance speech with the following statement: “It has been my intent to earn your respect as a little boy.”

The California African American Museum (CAAM) researches, collects, preserves and interprets for public enrichment the history, art and culture of African Americans.  Chartered by the California State Legislature in 1977, CAAM is a state supported institution and a partner with the 501(c)(3) non- profit organization Friends, the Foundation of the California African American Museum.  In addition to its permanent collection of over 3,000 objects of art, artifacts and historical documents, CAAM also houses a research library containing more than 20,000 volumes, employs and trains high school students through its Young Docents program, and hosts in-house curated exhibitions and traveling exhibitions on a regular basis.  The museum also tours CAAM exhibitions throughout California and the nation.  For more information on CAAM visit

Photos Courtesy of Earl Gibson and Valerie Goodloe
Source: Press release

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