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Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art recently acquired Maya’s Quilt of Life, 1989, (acrylic on canvas and painted, dyed and pieced fabrics) by Faith Ringgold, from the art collection of the late author and activist, Maya Angelou. The work hung in Angelou’s home and was commissioned by Oprah Winfrey for Angelou’s 61st birthday.

Ringgold is well-known for her painted story quilts, which unite a tradition of representational painting with the rich history of quilting in the African-American community. The border of Maya’s Quilt of Life is made from pieced-together fabric that frames Angelou, who is surrounded by flowers in her signature patterned African dress and head wrap.

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On November 2, 2013 Oprah Winfrey will auction the contents of her 23,000-square-foot mansion in Montecito, CA with the help of Beverly Hills-based Kaminski Auctions. Offerings include a marble-topped Louis XVI chest stamped by the maker “Boudin” (estimate: $30,000-$50,000), a set of Louis XV armchairs in hand embroidered yellow silk upholstery (estimate: $20,000-$40,000), and various works of fine art as well as English antiques and furnishings.    

Winfrey purchased the 42-acre estate in 2001 for $50 million and hired well-known designer Rose Tarlow to overhaul the house’s interior. All proceeds from the sale will benefit The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation College Fund. A public preview will be held from October 30 through November 1 at the grounds of the Santa Barbara Polo and Racquet Club.  

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The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. announced that Oprah Winfrey will donate $12 million to support the capital campaign of the new National Museum of African American History and Culture. Winfrey donated $1 million in 2007, bringing her total contribution to the project to $13 million. She has been a member of the museum’s advisory council since 2004. To thank her for her generosity, the Smithsonian will name the museum’s 350-seat theater the Oprah Winfrey Theater.

The museum, which is currently under construction, is expected to cost $500 million by the time it reaches completion. Congressional funding provided half of the capital and the rest is being raised by the museum. The museum is situated on 5 acres of land and sits next to the Washington Monument. It will be the 19th Smithsonian museum.

Wayne Clough, the Smithsonian Secretary, said, “At its heart, the National Museum of African History and Culture is a showcase for a richer, fuller picture of the American experience. The Oprah Winfrey Theater will bring untold stories alive through films, performances, artistic expression and public dialogue.”

The National Museum of African American History and Culture is slated to open in late 2015.

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