National Endowment of the Arts - The Big Read

Amherst Glebe Arts Response, Inc. (AGAR)


Contact Info

PO Box 117
Clifford, VA 24533

Tel: 434/989-3215
Fax: 434/946-0116
http://www.amherstglebeartsresponse.org

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

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Their Eyes Were Watching God
Zora Neale Hurston

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Events

Zora Neale Hurston at the Third Annual Pierce Street Harlem Renaissance Festival: Soulful Sunday

Poet Anne Spencer was herself an artist of the Harlem Renaissance and hosted many famous African American poets, writers, musicians and politicians when they came through Lynchburg, Virginia. Her house and garden at 1313 Pierce Street are now a Museum and are on the National Register of Historic Places, The Third Annual Harlem Renaissance Festival took place on the block where Mrs. Spencer lived, and in the grounds behind The Old Store operated by her family. Actress Royal Shiree hosted the Festival Stage in the role of Zora Neale Hurston this year, and referred visitors to AGAR's BIG READ table where AGAR volunteers gave out free copies of Zora Neale Hurston's "Their Eyes Are Watching God" and a children's companion book, "Lies and Other Tall Tales" collected by Ms. Hurston and adapted and illustrated by Christopher Myers. AGAR also gave out copies of the BIG READ Reader's Guides, BIG READ bookmarks, digital material BIG READ information, and brochures and flyers about future AGAR BIG READ events for the fall. The Festival began with the official unveiling of two new historic markers on Pierce Street. Following the parade, food was sold, there was a "three minute sermon contest" and there were musical performances at the festival grounds behind the "old store" at 1301 Pierce Street.

Event Location: Pierce Street near Anne Spencer House and Garden Museum, 1301 Pierce Street (behind , Lynchburg, VA 24501

Date: Sun, Sep 14, 2014
Time: 2:00pm – 7:00pm

Book: Their Eyes Were Watching God

THE BIG READ: Zora Neale Hurston "Their Eyes Were Watching God" Kickoff, Keynote Lecture and Film

Emmy-winning writer, scholar and performer Evelyn Moore. Ed.M. Harvard University delivered the Keynote Lecture at the Kickoff event for THE BIG READ: Zora Neale Hurston's "Their Eyes Were Watching God" at the Amherst County Public Library / Madison Heights Branch. Ms. Moore discussed Zora Neale Hurston's life, her relationships to other artists of the Harlem Renaissance, and her use of language in "Their Eyes Were Watching God" and other writings. Ms. Moore won an Emmy Award in writing for the National SEED Project: “The Bridge” (www.nationalseedproject.org - Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity, a project operating out of the Wellesley Centers for Women at Wellesley College.) She is on the adjunct faculty of Lesley College in Cambridge, MA, where she teaches about Multicultural Education, Drama and Integrated Arts. Ms. Moore is active in Boston in theatre and television, and is a leader in diversity training and gender equality. She acted in the PBS national telecast of "The American Experience: Africans in America." For the Boston Science Museum, she wrote a play, "For Those of Us Who Dream," about the life of Mae Jamison, the first female African-American Astronaut. She served as a contributing writer to the Blueprints for Teaching and Learning About the Harlem Renaissance. Following the Keynote Address, The Library screened Oprah Winfrey Presents A Harpo Films Production, Halle Berry "Their Eyes Were Watching God" (2005) based on the novel by Zora Neale Hurston, written for television by Suzan-Lori Parks and Misan Sagay and Bobby Smith, Jr. The film was shown through arrangement with Movie Licensing USA, a division of Swank Motion Pictures, who represent the studio that owns this film and issued a One-Time Showing License to screen this movie in the library.

Event Location: Amherst County Public Library / Madison Heights Branch, 200 River James Shopping Center, Madison Heights, VA 24572

Date: Thu, Sep 18, 2014
Time: 6:30pm – 9:00pm

Book: Their Eyes Were Watching God

Zora Neale Hurston, The Harlem Renaissance and Cecilia Smith Jazz Premiere: A Panel Discussion and Concert

The evening event began with a panel discussion of the Harlem Renaissance movement and the works of writers, composers and visual artists. Speakers were Shaun Spencer-Hester, President of the Anne Spencer House and Garden Museum in Lynchburg, Cecilia Smith, New York composer and jazz vibraphonist, and Leanne Zalewski, PhD, assistant professor of Art at Randolph College. The second half of the evening was a concert led by composer and vibraphonist Cecilia Smith, who led the world premiere of "The Hurricane" a piece she created through improvision around words of Zora Neale Hurston. Performing music from the Harlem Renaissance Period with Ms. Smith, were the Amherechos, the Amherst County High School Show Chorus, conducted by Melanie Coleman. Performing the premiere were jazz professionals the Lew Taylor Trio from Lynchburg, VA, three members of the band from Amherst County High School, a sound engineer, computer engineer and actress. The rural Amherst County Public Library was absolutely full, what with performers, students, instruments, families and the general public. Jazz is not frequently performed in Amherst. Ms. Smith's premiere received a standing ovation.

Event Location: Amherst County Public Library / Amherst Branch, 382 South Main Street, Amherst, VA 24521

Date: Mon, Sep 22, 2014
Time: 7:00pm – 9:00pm

Book: Their Eyes Were Watching God

"Hurston and Spencer: A Poetic Tale of Two Renaissance Women" at Anne Spencer Museum

Actress and playwright Royal Shiree premiered a one-act play, commissioned by AGAR for this BIG READ project, about the lives, works, and relationship of Harlem Renaissance Poet Anne Spencer and novelist and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston. The play was performed on the outdoor stage of the Anne Spencer House and Garden Museum, in the garden. The play is received its premiere in the afternoon of the Museum's fall "Open House." The play began at 2:00 pm. A discussion of "Their Eyes Were Watching God" and Mrs. Spencer and Ms. Hurston followed in the garden. AGAR had a "BIG READ" table and banner at the event andl advertised BIG READ upcoming events and book discussions, as well as distributing free books of "Their Eyes Were Watching God," BIG READ digital materials, bookmarks, Zora Hurston materials and information on the novel. AGAR also distributed copies of a children's companion book, "Lies and Other Tall Tales" illustrated by Christopher Myers.

Event Location: Anne Spencer House and Garden Museum Stage, 1313 Pierce Street, Lynchburg, VA 24502

Date: Sat, Sep 27, 2014
Time: 2:00pm – 4:00pm

Book: Their Eyes Were Watching God

BIG READ at the Clifford Ruritan Sorghum Festival

The annual Clifford Sorghum Festival features traditional rural events including the Virginia State Jousting Championships, Sorghum grinding and cooking, Apple-Butter cooking, Brunswick Stew making, crafts, blues, bluegrass, child dancers and Native American dancers. The Festival takes place on the grounds of the Clifford Ruritan Center, formerly the four-room Clifford School built to serve elementary farm students in the 1930's. This Year AGAR had a table for THE BIG READ: "Their Eyes Were Watching God" and gave out copies of that book and a children's companion book of folktales collected by Zora Neale Hurston, "Lies and Other Tall Tales." AGAR also gave out BIG READ bookmarks, information about digital materials available on the web and Reader's Guides for "Their Eyes Were Watching God." The table also publicized upcoming BIG READ events.

Event Location: Clifford Ruritan Center Grounds, 755 Fletcher's Level Road, Amherst, VA 24521

Date: Sat, Oct 4, 2014 – Sun, Oct 5, 2014
Time: 9:00am – 5:00pm

Book: Their Eyes Were Watching God

"Hurston and Spencer: A Poetic Tale of Two Renaissance Women" at Amherst Museum

Actress and playwright Royal Shiree performed a one-act play about the lives, works, and relationship of Harlem Renaissance Poet Anne Spencer and novelist, folklorist and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston. The play, commissioned by AGAR, was performed in the Hamble Building of the Amherst County Museum and Historical Society. (The performance was originally scheduled for outdoors but took place indoors because of rain.) A discussion about "Their Eyes Were Watching God" and Ms. Hurston and Mrs. Spencer followed. AGAR had a "BIG READ" table at the event and advertised BIG READ upcoming events for children and book discussions, as well as distributing free books of "Their Eyes Were Watching God," a few BIG READ Reader's Guides, BIG READ bookmarks and information from THE BIG READ about materials available digitally. Charge for this event was $10/adults and $2 for students.

Event Location: Amherst County Museum and Historical Society, 154 South Main Street, Amherst, VA 24521

Date: Sun, Oct 12, 2014
Time: 2:30pm – 4:00pm

Book: Their Eyes Were Watching God

BIG READ at James River State Park Annual Family Fall Festival

James River State Park's Annual Family Fall Festival hosts families who are camping at the State Park as well as visitors from Gladstone and neighboring communities. AGAR had a "BIG READ" table with actress Royal Shiree dressed as Zora Neale Hurston and AGAR volunteers dressed as witches. In the Visitor's Center, actress Royal Shiree performed selections from her one-woman show ""Hurston and Spencer: A Poetic Tale of Two Renaissance Women" and read selections from Zora Neale Hurston's "Their Eyes Were Watching God." She spoke briefly about the Harlem Renaissance and Ms. Hurston's work. At the table AGAR gave out copies of BIG READ book Ms. Hurston's "Their Eyes Were Watching God" and a companion book for children "Lies and Other Tall Tales," stories collected by Ms. Hurston, adapted and illustrated by Christopher Myers. The event included readings and discussions of "Lies and Other Tall Tales" and "The Three Witches," also collected by Zora Neale Hurston, adapted by Joyce Carol Thomas and illustrated by Faith Ringgold for children and their families at the table. An AGAR volunteer who read to children was dressed as a witch. AGAR also made available BIG READ information about their digital materials on "Their Eyes Were Watching God," and made available bookmarks and Reader's Guides, and schedules of upcoming AGAR BIG READ activities.

Event Location: James River State Park Visitor Center Lawn, 104 Green Hill, Gladstone, VA 24553

Date: Sat, Oct 18, 2014
Time: 1:00pm – 5:00pm

Book: Their Eyes Were Watching God

Lunch with Zora at Travelers - Dutch

This was a lunchtime event designed for those who read and eat lunch but do not belong to book clubs. There was a discussion about Zora Neale Hurston's "Their Eyes Were Watching God" led by Marcia Robertson, PhD, Associate Professor of American Literature at Sweet Briar College. The event was open to the public, with everyone paying for their own lunch. The room holds 20, and the event was "first come first served."

Event Location: Travelers Restaurant, South Main Street at the Traffic Light, Amherst, VA 24521

Date: Tue, Oct 28, 2014
Time: 12:00pm – 1:00pm

Book: Their Eyes Were Watching God

BIG READ for children: Folk Tales Collected by Zora Neale Hurston for Children 5 to 8

AGAR and Library staff and Jean Higginbotham read and discussed with children aged 5 to 8 and their mothers two companion books for THE BIG READ "The Three Witches" collected by Zora Neale Hurston, adapted by Joyce Carol Thomas, and Illustrated by Faith Ringgold, as well as "Lies and Other Tall Tales" collected by Zora Neale Hurston and adapted and illustrated by Christopher Myers. AGAR also showed picture books of the works of Jacob Lawrence and read a book about the life of Duke Eliington, two other artists of the Harlem Renaissance. Children were offered art activities around the tall tales, and received masks and BIG READ bookmarks to take home. Accompanying parents were offered free copies of "Their Eyes Were Watching God."

Event Location: Amherst County Public Library / Madison Heights Branch, 200 River James Shopping Center, Madison Heights, VA 24595

Date: Sat, Nov 8, 2014
Time: 10:30am – 12:00pm

Book: Their Eyes Were Watching God

Reading Zora Neale Hurston Folktale Books and Discussing Harlem Renaissance with Children 9 to 12

AGAR staff, Youth Librarian Maxine Gasser and Melodie Campbell Fletcher read and discussed with students aged 9 to 12 two companion books for THE BIG READ "The Three Witches" collected by Zora Neale Hurston, adapted by Joyce Carol Thomas and Illustrated by Faith Ringgold, as well as "Lies and Other Tall Tales" collected by Zora Neale Hurston and adapted and illustrated by Christopher Myers. Students were introduced to other library books about the Harlem Renaissance, including, "Duke Ellington" by Andrea Davis Pinkney, illustrated by Brian Pinkney and "Story Painter: The Life of Jacob Lawrence," by John Duggleby. Students saw reproductions of Mr. Lawrence's art and Mrs. Fletcher read several strories from her own personal family collections of tales by Zora Neale Hurston. Students made masks and other visual art works referencing the tales and artists' works and received BIG READ bookmarks to take home. Parents accompanying children were offered copies of "Their Eyes Were Watching God" to take home.

Event Location: Amherst County Public Library / Amherst Branch, 382 South Main Street, Amherst , VA 24521

Date: Sat, Nov 15, 2014
Time: 10:30am – 12:00pm

Book: Their Eyes Were Watching God

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