WASHINGTON -- The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) and the Congressional Black Caucus Spouses will recognize the significant contributions of three outstanding individuals in the visual and performing arts, as well as students pursuing careers and opportunities in those areas during the 12th Annual Celebration of Leadership in the Fine Arts.
Legendary "King of the Blues" musician B.B. King, visual artist Betye Saar and noted Muhammad Ali photographer Howard Bingham will be feted during the event set for 8 to 10:30 p.m., Wednesday, September 24, at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, 1250 New York Ave. NW.
The Celebration of Leadership event will kick off the Spouses' activities at CBCF's 38th Annual Legislative Conference (ALC), set for September 24 to 27 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. More than 18,000 people are expected to attend the four-day conference.
Mr. King, with his heart-tugging blues, Ms. Saar with her thought-provoking imagery and the intimacy shown through Mr. Bingham's photographs have all influenced generations of Americans.
"These artists exemplify the universal pause that fine arts has on the world as well as inspiring a new set of budding artists," said Mrs. Gaines Clore Wynn, chairwoman of the Celebration of Leadership event and wife of former U.S. Rep. Albert Wynn of Maryland.
More than 250 students applied for scholarships from the Spouses -- a 240 percent increase from last year. Twenty-seven will receive scholarships.
"The increase in scholarship applications indicates the importance of the arts programs in schools," Mrs. Wynn said. "Kids want to perform. They want to draw and paint and sketch. Parents, schools and the entire community need to get creative in maintaining and growing these programs."
The Spouses are a component of CBCF and comprised of the wives and husbands of the African-American members of Congress. For more than 25 years, the Spouses have worked with corporate sponsors to establish educational and training opportunities for high school and college students.
"The CBC Spouses have consistently shown their commitment to providing educational opportunities for a diverse group of young people," said Elsie L. Scott, Ph.D., CBCF's president and chief executive officer. "Their scholarship efforts are broad and consistently make a difference in the lives of so many young people."
The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. was established in 1976 as a nonpartisan, nonprofit, public policy, research and education institute to help improve the socioeconomic circumstances of African Americans and other underserved communities.