The Idaho Black History Museum holds its 10th Anniversary Bridge Gala and Dinner on Friday, September 9, at the Center on the Grove. Guests of honor at the event will be Bay-area artist JoeSam. (the punctuation is part of his name, not a typo) and-health permitting-surviving Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Vernon Baker of St. Marie's in North Idaho.
In 1997-over 50 years after World War II ended-seven African-American soldiers were awarded Congressional Medals of Honor, given to members of the armed forces who have distinguished themselves with extreme valor in the face of live-threatening risk above and beyond the call of duty. Baker is last of these seven men.
President Clinton commissioned JoeSam. to create portraits of WWII Congressional Medal of Honor recipients. JoeSam. is a mixed media painter and sculptor who left a difficult childhood as an orphan growing up in Harlem to earn a doctorate in education and psychology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and pursue a career in human services. In 1984 at the age of 45, JoeSam. quit his job to devote himself full-time to his art, despite never having received any formal art training, and has been awarded many prominent public arts commissions in the field of portraiture, sculpture and mural.
Some of JoeSam.'s artwork will be auctioned at the IBHM's gala event and several of JoeSam.'s portraits of WWII Congressional Medal of Honor recipients will be on display.
September 9, 6-10 pm., Idaho Black History Museum, Center on the Grove, $85 per person or $705 for a table of 10.