As president of the association, I am proud to say that we have accomplished every element of the mission that we presented to the government as part of our application for official status:
1. Placement and maintenance of a tombstone for the grave of painter Beauford Delaney, who is buried at the Parisian Cemetery of Thiais.
2. Payment of the renewal fees for his grave.
3. Organization of commemorative or educational events in his honor.
4. Inform the press and the media of his life and accomplishments.
The placement of the tombstone was our overriding goal. I hope that you have all seen the postings about the gravesite ceremony and the reception held at the Marshall Center last month. We now have the funds to pay for the maintenance of the tombstone for a year, as well as to renew Beauford’s concession at Thiais Cemetery. However, we must wait, until January 2011 to establish the maintenance contract with the funeral parlor and to conclude the transaction with the cemetery.
Regarding organizing commemorative or education events in Beauford’s honor, we did extremely well! I have spoken about Beauford three times this year, including a successful presentation at the George R. N’Namdi Gallery in Chicago. Most importantly, we exceeded expectations with the commemorative ceremony and reception held in October!
We have made significant progress in informing the press and the media of Beauford’s life and accomplishments as well. Two newspaper articles (that I know of) were published about our project earlier this year. Prissy Mag, an online magazine, ran a terrific article about the reception that we held at the Marshall Center, and editor Priscilla Lalisse-Jespersen also talked extensively about Beauford, his work, and the Gravesite Project on a radio interview with Paris Expat last month. I revised Wikipedia’s English language page on Beauford with a section called “The Beauford Delaney Burial Site.”
Musician and artist Joe Langley has posted his video of the reception on YouTube. Filmmaker Zachary James Miller is planning to create a short film on Beauford’s life and work for the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, and has already begun work by filming the gravesite ceremony and the reception. And two additional filmmakers have expressed interest in making feature films about Beauford’s life.
The biggest question for Les Amis at present is “Where do we go from here?” Several things are under consideration:
• An annual Beauford Delaney commemoration, to be held in Paris
• Placement of a plaque in Beauford’s honor on a building in Paris
• An exposition of Beauford’s paintings in Paris
• A scholarship to support an art student in Beauford’s name.
Of course, time and money will be required to successfully pursue any one of these projects. I am mulling over the possibilities for fundraising, and even more importantly, for finding people who are willing to help with implementation.
Finally, I am seriously considering retiring this blog! I have done my best to find information on Beauford from as many reliable sources as possible, and to present that information with clarity, integrity, and love. But I am running out of sources, and will not diminish the quality of this Web publication just for the sake of continuing on. My goal is to publish through the end of this year, targeting Beauford’s birthday (December 30) as the date of the final posting.
If any of you have information pertaining to Beauford that you believe is worthy of publication, or if you know of anyone who has such information, please contact me at amisdebeauford[at]yahoo[dot]com. As long as there is something worth publishing, I am willing to write about it!