Arthur Mitchell: Harlem's Ballet Trailblazer

The Exhibition > Acknowledgements

The exhibition, Arthur Mitchell: Harlem’s Ballet Trailblazer, is a co-presentation of The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery and the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University in the City of New York, presented with support from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.

First and foremost my colleagues and I are indebted to Arthur Mitchell, whose collection, generously donated to the Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University, in 2015, forms the core of this exhibition.  The months I have spent with his collection have been eye-opening, intensely interesting, and full of pleasure, filling in a major gap in the history of New York dance of the second half of the twentieth century.  We are grateful as well to his personal archivist, Dr. Gillian Lipton, and his personal assistant, Gina Womack, for their generous help throughout this process.

Although most of the objects displayed in this exhibition are from the Arthur Mitchell Collection, a number of items are loans from the Dance Theatre of Harlem Archives for which we are extremely grateful.  Additionally, I wish to thank members of the DTH staff, especially Anna Glass, Executive Director; Virginia Johnson, Artistic Director; Theara Ward, Dancing Through Barriers Program Associate; and Jordan Oldham, Assistant to the Executive Director, for patiently answering questions, arranging deliveries, and sharing research materials.

In addition, we are deeply grateful to the following institutions for loans from their collections:  The Studio Museum in Harlem, Connie Choi, Associate Curator; Gina Guddemi, Registrar; The Bronx Museum of the Arts, Antonio Sergio Bessa, Director of Curatorial and Education Programs; Skowmon Hastanan, Registrar; Silvia Benedetti, Manager of Exhibitions and Collection; Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, Halley K. Harrisburg, Director; The Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop, a program of The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, Justin Sanz, Workshop Manager; Essye Klempner, Programs and Exhibitions Manager; Barnard College Archives, Shannon O’Neill, Associate Director of Archives and Special Collections; Columbia University Archives, Jocelyn K. Wilk, University Archivist.  Finally, we wish to thank Anjali Austin, Professor, School of Dance, Florida State University; Dr. Meryl Rosofsky; Marcia Sells, Dean of Students, Harvard Law School, and an anonymous individual for lending us items from their personal collections.

We are grateful as well to the following rights holders for permission to use the moving image material incorporated into the physical exhibition:  American Federation of Musicians (AFM), American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA), The George Balanchine Trust, Harry Belafonte / Belafonte Enterprises, Inc., Boosey & Hawkes, CBS Broadcasting Inc., Creative Arts Television, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Carmen de Lavallade, Agnes de Mille Productions, Bo Downes, Suzanne Farrell, Robert Garland, Leo Holder, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), Local 1, Arthur Mitchell, Music Sales Corporation & G. Schirmer, Inc., Laveen Naidu, The New York City Ballet, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Jerome Robbins Dance Division, Robert North, The Paley Center for Media, C. F. Peters Corporation, School of American Ballet, Schott Music Corp / EAMDC, Soweto String Quartet, Estate of Burt Stern, Thirteen Productions LLC, Augustus van Heerden, and Video Artists International, Inc.

We wish to express our gratitude to Sigrid Estrada and Michael D. Harris for permission to reproduce their artwork on the exhibition website and to Michelle Morgan for permission to reproduce the photograph of Arthur Mitchell by Milton Oleaga.  We are grateful as well to Zita Allen, Robert Greskovic, and Elizabeth Kendall for permission to post articles of theirs originally published in Dance Magazine and Ballet Review on the exhibition website, as well as to Marvin Hoshino, editor, Ballet Review, and Madeline Schrock, managing editor, Dance Magazine for permission to reproduce the pages with those articles from their respective publications.  Finally, we are grateful to Nicholas Jenkins, Literary Executor of the Copyrights and Papers of Lincoln Kirstein, for permission to reproduce two articles by Kirstein.

My warm thanks to Zita Allen, Joselli Audain Deans, and Nancy Reynolds for their commissioned essays, published for the first time on this website, and for their generosity in sharing their research and their insights with me and other members of the curatorial staff.  The project is all the richer for their contributions.

This exhibition, in both its physical and online versions, is indebted to many people who answered questions, confirmed dates, added background, and provided copies of programs, reviews, and other material:  Vivien Arnold, Director of Dramaturgy and Communications, Stuttgart Ballet; Frank Bara, artist, actor, and master puzzle-maker; Robert Boston, Music Director, Barnard College; Judith Chazin-Bennahum, Professor Emerita of Dance, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque; Barbara Cohen-Stratyner, Curator Emerita of Exhibitions, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts;Thomas F. DeFrantz Professor in the Department of African and African American Studies and in the Program in Dance, Duke University; Caitlin Dyer, Archives Manager, National Ballet of Canada, Toronto; Norma Sue Fisher-Stitt, Professor of Dance; Interim Dean, School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design, York University, Toronto; Joan Glazer, Managing Director, Actors Equity Foundation, New York City; Robert Greskovic, dance critic, Wall Street Journal; Alena Grimbs, Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich; Tanisha Jones, Assistant Curator, Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts; Katerina Kordatou, Press and Communications, Hamburg Ballett John Neumeier; Dawn Lille, dance historian and teacher; Bruce Marks, former Artistic Director, Boston Ballet; Jenny Ouellette, Public Relations Manager, Spoleto Festival USA; Norton Owen, Director of Preservation, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Becket, MA; Maria Pagano, Associate Director, Clearance Services, The Paley Center for Media; Christopher Pennington, Executive Director, The Robbins Rights Trust; Daisy Pommer, Librarian and Producer, Archival Recordings, Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts; Jane Pritchard, Curator of Dance, Victoria and Albert Museum, London;  Joysanne Sidimus, Guest Répétiteur, National Ballet of Canada; Dominique Singer, Archivist, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater; Sylvia Waters, Artistic Director Emerita, Ailey II; student research assistants Olivia Rutigliano and Juliana DeVaan.

Last but not least warm thanks to the staff of the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery, and Columbia University’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library and Center for Teaching and Learning (especially Vincent A. Aliberto).

And to my comrades of these past months—Jennifer B. Lee, Curator, Performing Arts Collections, Sean M. Quimby, Director, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University; Deborah Cullen-Morales, Director and Chief Curator, and Jeanette Silverthorne, Associate Director of Finance and Exhibitions, Wallach Art Gallery—my deepest thanks for your knowledge, support, and humor throughout this project.  Without you this exhibition and the experience of mounting it would have been very different.

Lynn Garafola

Exhibition Curator

Rare Book & Manuscript Library / Butler Library, 6th Fl. East / 535 West 114th St. / New York, NY 10027 / (212) 854-5153 /