Gilcrease Story Time

It’s story time! Join Gilcrease staff and friends as they read stories related to the Gilcrease collection, exhibitions, gardens and grounds.

Enjoy the story “My Hands Sing the Blues, Romare Bearden’s Childhood Journey” written by Jeanne Walker Harvey and illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon. Read by Memories & Inspiration: The Kerry and C. Betty Davis Collection of African American Art guest curator, poet and Tulsa Artist Fellow Quraysh Ali Lansana, the book draws connections between the sights and sounds of Romare Bearden’s childhood and his artwork.

Romare Bearden, one of the artists featured in Memories & Inspiration, was one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. Music played an important role in Bearden’s life and his art. He was friends with many famous jazz musicians who bought his artwork and asked him to design album covers and even write songs for them. Jazz musicians show up as the subjects of Bearden’s art and they also inspired his experimental style.

Romare Bearden, Record Date
Romare Bearden, Record Date, 1979, monotype, 29.5 x 41.5. Photograph by Gregory Staley. © Romare Bearden
Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.

Romare Bearden’s monoprint Record Date shares elements of jazz music such as spontaneity, rhythm and mood. Take a look at this image and answer the following:

How many musicians do you see in this image?

What kinds of instruments are they playing?

Look at the colors, shapes and movement in this artwork. What feelings do they give you?

If this were a song, how would it sound?

Hear from our Volunteer Services Coordinator Donna Gainey as she reads “In the Trees, Honey Bees” by Lori Mortensen at the Gilcrease House. The Gilcrease Gardens are still open to visit while practicing social distancing, where you can see honey bees buzzing about the blooming flowers. Free admission every day from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.