The Friends of the Georgia Museum of Art will host the museum’s annual Black History Month dinner Feb. 21 at 6 p.m. The theme is “Harlem Renaissance: A Sampler.” Tickets are $45 per person. Reservations should be made by Feb. 18 to 706-542-0830.
The event will honor African-American leaders Harold Rittenberry and the late Rudolph Byrd for the contributions they made to enrich their communities through their support of the arts and culture.
Rittenberry, an Athens folk artist, will receive the Larry D. and Brenda A. Thompson Award for his contribution to the arts in Athens and in the Southeast. A self-taught artist, Rittenberry creates metalwork sculptures that appear throughout the state as well as in the Georgia Museum of Art’s permanent collection. Rittenberry was born and raised in Athens and grew up using stones to line the yards of homes and streets in the city. He began working with metal and machinery when he joined the Army in 1956 and began welding metal to make art in the early 1990s.
The event posthumously will honor Byrd with the Lillian C. Lynch Citation for his contributions to African-American cultural education and service. Byrd worked at Emory University for nearly 20 years. He had dual appointments in the Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts and the African-American studies department, where he served as director for a decade. In 2007, he founded the James Weldon Johnson Institute at Emory, which studies the modern civil rights movement.