Wednesday, March 12, 2014


Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture


WHEN: The exhibition is on view May 17, 2014 - February 28, 2015 to coincide with the Bicentennial of the War of 1812, the war which birthed the Star-Spangled Banner flag and anthem.
WHERE: Reginald F. Lewis Museum, corner of Pratt and President Streets, Baltimore

Sheila Pree Bright is a fine art photographer whose large-scale works have graced buildings and now the Reginald F. Lewis Museum. From March 9 to 22, Bright will create an on-site photo studio at the museum as part of her Artist-in-Residence project. Individuals may have their photograph taken with the U.S. flag by walk-in or by appointment March 11-14. She will also interview members of the public at the Star-Spangled Banner Flag House about what the flag means to them on March 15 and 18. Select images and interviews will then be used in a mural and sound installation that will be unveiled in May in conjunction with the opening of the exhibition about the U.S. flag, For Whom It Stands: The Flag and the American People. (Image: Julian by Sheila Pree Bright)

Bright's work has garnered her the Santa Fe Prize from the Santa Fe Center for Photography and a solo show at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, GA. A recent project is Young Americans, where Bright photographed Americans aged 18 to 25 posing with the U.S. flag. The portraits range from a woman cradling the flag close to her heart, to a young man prostrate, wrapped in the flag with eyes closed, recalling a casket returning from the battlefield.

"Sheila's use of flag imagery in her work and her ability to bring the community into her projects made her an ideal partner when choosing a joint Artist-in-Residence for our museum and the Star-Spangled Banner Flag House," says Dr. Michelle Joan Wilkinson, Director of Collections and Exhibitions. During her residency, Bright will also work with City Springs School, located in Baltimore, Maryland, to erect a photo mural of students at their school. More information about Sheila Pree Bright's residency.

For Whom It Stands
This unique interactive project is part of the museum's upcoming exhibition about the U.S. flag, For Whom It Stands. The show explores how artists, activists, immigrants and others have used the flag for their political or aesthetic ends. By extension, the art and artifacts on display also reveal how people from all walks of life have been influenced and affected by the flag. For Whom It Stands will include a sound installation of pivotal interpretations of the national anthem.

A key part of the exhibition will also highlight the role of Grace Wisher, an African American indentured servant in Mary Pickersgill's household. Pickersgill is known for sewing the original Star-Spangled Banner flag in a house on the same city block as the Reginald F. Lewis Museum. The flag was also worked on by 13-year old Wisher, whose story is little known. This forthcoming exhibition from the Reginald F. Lewis Museum highlights Wisher's contribution as it investigates the broader history and representation of the United States flag as an icon of our nation and its people.

About the Reginald F. Lewis Museum
The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture is Baltimore's premier facility highlighting the history and accomplishments of African Americans with a special focus on Maryland's African American community. A Smithsonian affiliate, the museum is the East Coast's largest African American museum, occupying an 82,000 square-foot facility with ample permanent and special exhibition space, interactive learning environments, auditorium, resource center, oral history recording studio, museum shop, café, classrooms, meeting rooms, outside terrace and reception areas. The museum is located near Baltimore's Inner Harbor at the corner of Pratt and President Streets. The museum is also accessible on Baltimore's Charm City Circulator Orange and Green Routes. For more information, please call 443-263-1800 or visit

The residency project and For Whom It Stands have been financed in part with State Funds from the Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission, an instrumentality of the State of Maryland. However, the contents and opinions do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission. Bright's residency is in collaboration with the Star-Spangled Banner Flag House.