Cosby Headlines Gala for David Driskell CenterCOLLEGE PARK, Md.
During the 1980s, “The Cosby Show” put Black artists in the spotlight as a result of their artworks getting prominent display on the show’s sets. Last month, Cosby brought the spotlight to Dr. David Driskell, the artistic adviser to the pathbreaking television series, and the University of Maryland, College Park, which has recently established a research center in Driskell’s name.
More than 500 people attended an inaugural gala starring Cosby in recognition of the David C. Driskell Center for the Study of the African Diaspora. Established last year with $500,000 in seed funding from the university, the center is intended to facilitate study and research into how people of African heritage have helped shape modern art, culture and social life in American society and the world.
Driskell, who retired from a full-time faculty position at the University of Maryland in 1997, is donating $2.5 million in African and African American art pieces from his private collection to a proposed art museum that will anchor the research center. Backers of the center have set their sights on raising $7 million to fully fund the center, according to officials at the University of Maryland.
“Recent scholarship has demonstrated the African presence in the making of the American identity and culture,” says Dr. Eileen Julien, executive director of the center. “No one would doubt the African presence in the music of this hemisphere, but it is present also in the visual and performing arts and in literature. It touches all of us who are American, regardless of our race or ethnic origin.”
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