March 24, 2022

By E. Mesiyah McGinnis

Staff Writer


The Museum of African American Art recently held its first public event since closing at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, a return that was much anticipated and warmly welcomed by community members. 

The two-part virtual event on March 18, featured the unveiling and dedication ceremony for the U.S. Postal Service’s 45th Black Heritage Forever Stamp recognizing renowned sculptor, Edmonia Lewis. 


The event, which also saluted Women’s History Month, paid tribute to MAAA’s 45th year of operation.




Sean Andrews, plant manager for the USPS Los Angeles Network Distribution Center, along with the MAAA Executive Director Keasha Dumas Heath, participated in the ceremony.



Before unveiling the stamp, Andrews shared stories about Lewis’ amazing life with the virtual audience.



“Edmonia Lewis was celebrated in her lifetime, but it’s fair to say that many Americans of today do not know about this brilliant 19th century sculptor. We hope today that will change,” said Andrews.


Following the ceremony, Dr. Lizzetta LeFalle-Collins, curator and art historian, gave an educational presentation covering the life and art of Lewis.



“I first learned about Edmonia Lewis’ works in Dr. Samella Lewis and Ruth Waddy’s book, Black Artists on Art (1969), as an undergraduate at UC Santa Barbara, and from Dr. Samella Lewis,’ Art: African American in 1978,” said LeFalle-Collins. 

MAAA member Rose White called the virtual event, “very worthwhile and enjoyable.” 

On March 19, the MAAA opened its main gallery for an in-person event where community members had the opportunity to purchase the newly-issued Edmonia Lewis stamp, other postage stamps in the Black Heritage series, and related USPS memorabilia. 


Visitors also previewed the museum’s new exhibit of 40 oil paintings by unhoused artist, Leon Washington, who is seeking to use his artwork to help improve his circumstances and secure permanent housing. 

During the museum’s events honoring Lewis, attendees were introduced to the new chairman of the MAAA Board of Directors, NAACP Image Award–winning artist David G. Brown.

An accomplished artist, educator, publisher, and producer of political cartoons, graphic novels, and comic books, Brown is a longtime member of the MAAA board and previously served on the board of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists. 

“We were thrilled to open our doors to the public at our first in-person event since the pandemic,” said Brown. 


In December, the MAAA marked its 45th year educating visitors of all ages and identities about the arts under the founding principle that “art can and should be part of our everyday lives.”

The museum will commemorate this milestone with a retrospective exhibit highlighting its legacy within the community later this year. 

“As a nonprofit museum, we have been truly energized by the community’s response to our 45th anniversary membership campaign,” said Executive Director Heath.


“We are here because our community believes we should be — and that’s powerful.” 

The Museum of African American Art plans to reopen its main gallery soon for regular in-person hours.

The gift shop and event hall will remain closed while the museum completes special projects and upgrades to its facilities.

For now, the museum will continue hosting special events and will schedule tours of the main gallery by appointment. 

For more information about MAAA’s featured artist or to subscribe to the museum’s email updates, visit

Category: Community