On September 23, 2017, the Foundation Co-Directors Johanne Bryant-Reid and Diedra Harris-Kelley participated in the unveiling of the Richard Hunt sculpture, “Spiral Odyssey” at the Romare Bearden Park in Charlotte, North Carolina. It was a full two days of events honoring the Chicago sculptor Richard Hunt and Romare Bearden, and the co-directors were asked to pull the cloth unveiling a new plaque.
The sculpture, Spiral Odyssey, made of welded stainless steel, is an eye-catching artwork, nearly 30 feet tall and weighs approximately 8,000 pounds. The artist, Richard Hunt, was a contemporary of Bearden. The two were the first African-American artists to have solo shows at the Museum of Modern Art, both in 1971. This work has a special connection to Romare Bearden. Hunt drew inspiration from Bearden’s life and art. In a statement, the artist said, “The ‘Odyssey’ in the title refers to Romare Bearden’s series of works that took Homer’s epic poem as a point of inspiration and departure. ‘Odyssey’ is also a way to refer to Bearden’s personal journey alone and with others, his peers, his artistic offspring and his world of admirers.
The Friday evening event at the Mint Museum featured a conversation with the artist, Richard Hunt; and Mary Schmidt-Campbell, Spelman President, and author of a forthcoming book on Romare Bearden; and Robert O’Meally, Columbia University scholar, and author of catalog for “Romare Bearden: for A Black Odyssey (2007)
The Saturday morning event featured an outdoor ceremony in the park with special remarks followed by performances by a church choir, and jazz tributes at the Mint Museum, Uptown.