Lorraine Hansberry Art Installation
Visit A C Bilbrew and view “To Sit A While” (Alison Saar, 2022), an art installation that honors the great American playwright Lorraine Hansberry, author of A Raisin in the Sun. The art installation will be on display at A C Bilbrew Library from July 7 through August 5.
Who is Lorraine Hansberry?
Lorraine Hansberry was a prolific playwright, journalist, and activist. Her play A Raisin in the Sun was the first play by an African American woman produced on Broadway on March 11, 1959, at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. It was revived on Broadway in 2004 and 2014. Generations of Black theater, television and film artists have been inspired by her masterpiece.
What is “To Sit A While” about?
“To Sit A While” was created by Los Angeles-based artist Alison Saar. The art installation features a figure of Hansberry surrounded by five bronze chairs, each representing a different aspect of her life and work. The life-size chairs are an invitation to the public to do just that: to sit with her and think.
The chairs in the sculpture hold special meaning.
- The Modernist Chair recalls the chair Lorraine sat on while writing her plays.
- The Office Chair represents her career as a journalist writing for Freedom magazine.
- The Stool stands for her contributions as a feminist and early LGBTQ activist.
- The Ottoman evokes the one she sat on in Robert Kennedy’s living room while educating the politician on civil rights.
- The Bentwood Chair recalls Lorraine’s childhood home and A Raisin in the Sun.
The statue was unveiled in Times Square on June 9, 2022 and is on a national tour with stops in major cities including Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, and Atlanta.
The installation is presented in partnership with the Lorraine Hansberry Initiative and LA County Library.
See Pictures of the Installation
Color Your Own Picture
While visiting the art installation at A C Bilbrew Library, be sure to pick up a special edition coloring sheet inspired by “To Sit Awhile.” You can also download and print the coloring sheet here.
Join A C Bilbrew Library for an evening of art and open mic poetry as we celebrate the influence and impact of Lorraine Hansberry, great American playwright and author of A Raisin in the Sun. Visitors will have an opportunity to view “To Sit A While,” a traveling art installation by Alison Saar that honors Hansberry’s contribution to the literary world.
The evening will start with a teen poetry workshop hosted by GetLit, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit that ignites student engagement, literacy, and young voices around the globe using the power of Spoken Word, technology, and community. A program with remarks from Library Director Skye Patrick, the Lorraine Hansberry Initiative, and artist Alison Saar to follow. The evening will close with open mic poetry performances by Get Lit and artist Ming Joi Washington followed by a reception hosted by Friends of the A C Bilbrew Library.
What is the Lorraine Hansberry Initiative?
The Lorraine Hansberry Initiative was created by The Lillys to honor Lorraine Hansberry’s legacy as the Great American Playwright while investing in those following in her footsteps. Along with the sculpture, The Lillys have raised 1.7 of a $2.5 million endowed fund to furnish women and non-binary dramatic writers in graduate school with $25,000 yearly stipends to cover living expenses and give those with financial need protected time to actually write.
Women of color are 20% of the population and earn 20% of undergraduate degrees in both Performing Arts and English Literature. The Hansberry Initiative is designed to address the generational wealth gap that keeps their participation in graduate programs artificially low. The Initiative supports writers working in theater, film, and television with the goal of having their stories, like Lorraine’s, will reach millions.